Valerian Root is an herbal extract taken from the flowering plant Valeriana officinalis that is native to parts of Europe and Asia. The plant usually grows between 2-3 feet tall and produces white and pink flowers. Valerian use has been recorded for centuries and is frequently referenced in ancient Roman and Greek culture19. There is even documentation that it was even therapeutically used by Hippocrates. It was later used in perfume in the 16th century20. Today it can be easy supplemented by capsule or brewed into a tea.
Valerian extract has received considerable attention for its potent adaptogenic effects on stress level and sleep quality. Current research has indicated that Valerian extract produces significant reductions of stress by increasing transmission rates of the brain’s major inhibitory neurotransmitter, GABA, while simultaneously increasing glutamate receptor binding.21 22 Not unrelated, these same mechanisms are also understood to aid in Valerian’s positive influence on sleep quality, increasing the not only percentage of REM sleep that clinical test subjects enjoyed, but also significantly improving subjects self-perception of sleep quality.23 24