Researchers from Tehran University may help ease some sleep problems
Menopause affects each woman in a different way from mood swings to anxiety to hot flashes, the most common menopause discomfort along with sleep issues.
This most recent study published in the journal Menopause had found that the herb Valerian improves sleep quality in those women with menopause who are experiencing insomnia.
Valerian has been used since the second century A.D. and become very popular in Europe during the 17th century as a treatment for easing insomnia, anxiety and nervous restlessness. The FDA lists valerian as “Generally Recognized Safe”.
For the study researchers had randomly assigned 100 postmenopausal women with insomnia to take either two valerian capsules or inactive placebo capsules each day for one month.
Valerian did demonstrate the ability to improve the quality of sleep. This also adds to reported effectiveness of valerian in the clinical management of insomnia.
The study had revealed 30% who had taken the valerian capsules had reported improved sleep quality that included factors such as time falling asleep and how often they wake up during the night.
As we age, sleep issues become more common and for women menopausal hot flashes and night sweats just adds to the issue.
None of the women had reported side effects and researchers state any side effects of this herb are mild such as upset stomach or headache.
Dr. Jerome Sarris, clinical research fellow at University of Melbourne, department of psychiatry and not part of the study states that the findings were encouraging and that there is no harm in trying this herb. In closing he also noted that future studies should examine valerians effects on other sleep measures such as the total amount of time people take the herb and are able to remain asleep.
The root of the plant is used medically and is pressed into fresh juice or freeze dried to form powder. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends the following dosage:
For tea, pour one cup boiling water over one teaspoonful of dried root and steep five to ten minutes.
In capsules or tablet form 250 to 600 mg 4:1
Once sleep is improved valerian should be continued for two to six weeks.
Some people may have a “paradoxical reaction” to this herb meaning they will feel anxious and restless instead of calm and sleepy.
Valerian also does not appear to cause any dependency or result in withdraw symptoms upon stopping usage. There have been a few reports of withdraw symptoms in those who have used this herb for an extended time. If you are going to stop taking this herb taper your dosages gradually do not stop suddenly.
This herb should also not be taken while driving, using heavy machinery or other activities which require alertness. Do not use valerian longer than one month without your health practitioner’s approval. Also, consult your practitioner before using any herb as some may interfere with certain medications and other herbs or supplements.
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