There are many excellent health benefits of valerian root tea, including aiding sleep, reducing anxiety, eliminating headaches, soothing heart palpitations, easing digestion, stimulating the mind and curing menstrual cramps. That being said, there are also some side effects to this popular tea, such as nausea, exhaustion, headaches, dry mouth, upset stomach, strange dreams and anxiety. Some people are also allergic to valerian root, which can result in serious side effects, such as swelling of the tongue, throat, lips and face.
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What is Valerian Root Tea?
Valerian is taxonomically known as Valeriana officianalis, and is a flowering plant that has been used for traditional medical applications for thousands of years. More specifically, the root of this plant is often dried and used in these remedies due to the high concentration of valerenic acid, flavonones, alkaloids and sesquiterpenes. These powerful active ingredients have a number of anxiolytic, sedative and anti-spasmodic properties that make this herbal tea so widely used around the world.
Valerian Root Tea Benefits
Drinking valerian root tea can help if you suffer from hyperactivity, insomnia, upset stomach, cognitive slowness, menstrual cramps, heart murmurs, migraines and headaches, anxiety, stress and depression.
As a sedative substance, this tea is particularly good for people suffering from sleep disorders, such as insomnia, or constantly interrupted sleep patterns. This tea should not be combined with other sleeping pills under any circumstances, but when taken independently, it can provide restful sleep and a refreshed feeling in the morning.
Anxiety and Depression
One of the most popular uses of valerian root tea is for reducing anxiety and stress. It has naturally soothing and sedative qualities, due to some of the volatile acids and oils in the root, helping people calm down and focus, rather than feeling overwhelmed. It can also provide mental clarity and eliminate feelings of depression.
ADHD numbers are increasing at unprecedented rates, and hyperactivity is a major problem in educational and public contexts. Valerian root tea can help calm those hyperactive symptoms and allow users to concentrate and focus with a clear head, while also reducing stress hormones and strain on the body.
If you are suffering from an upset stomach, constipation, bloating, cramping, nausea or indigestion, the antioxidants in valerian root tea can stimulate positive muscle function and reduce spasming in the gut. This will result in more normal bowel movements and a reduction in discomfort.
Headaches and Migraines
One of the best ways to eliminate a headache or migraine is with a cup of this delicious herbal tea. The natural anti-inflammatory properties of valerian root tea can soothe the inflammation in the capillaries and lower blood pressure, helping to relieve the pain and tension of most headaches.
Women know that menstrual cramps can be extremely painful, but a cup of valerian root tea has anti-spasmodic and sedative qualities, meaning that it can easily eliminate those symptoms and provide relief during menstruation. It can also soothe the mood and rebalance hormones that may be causing irritability or anxiety during your period.
Many people take valerian supplements as brain boosters, but a cup of this beneficial tea can have many of the same effects. Research has shown that valerian root tea can increase focus, memory, retention and neural activity!
How to Make Valerian Root Tea?
If you want to make valerian root tea at home, the recipe only requires warm water, valerian root (dried or fresh), and a natural sweetener to counter the bitterness. Herbal teas are typically best when prepared with fresh ingredients, but the majority of valerian root is sold in dried or powdered form.
If you do have fresh valerian in your garden and wish to dry it for future use in valerian root tea, simply harvest the main rhizome or the rootlets beneath the plant. Wash the root thoroughly and then allow it to dry in the open air. You can also quickly dry it at temperatures below 100 degrees, so you don’t compromise the phytonutrients in the root. Once the root is completely dried, you can chop it into small segments, or pulverize the root into powder. Both can be used to brew this tea, or you can use freshly cut roots, without waiting for them to dry.
- 2 teaspoons of valerian root (fresh, dry or powdered)
- 2 cups of water (filtered)
- 1 teaspoon of honey or sugar, if desired
Step 1 – Heat the water to a simmer, but do not boil it; excess heat can neutralize many of the beneficial phytonutrients in the root. The water should be warm, not hot.
Step 2 – Add the valerian root to the water and cover the pot.
Step 3 – Allow the root to steep for at least 10 minutes; you can wait for as long as 30 minutes to ensure that all the nutrients are released into the water.
Step 4 – Strain the mixture and add honey or sugar, as valerian root tea can be quite bitter, particularly after steeping the root for a long time.
Step 5 – Enjoy your perfectly brewed cup of tea.
Side Effects of Valerian Root Tea
Due to the powerful compounds found in valerian root tea, a number of side effects are possible, some of which can be serious. First and foremost, before adding valerian root tea to your health regimen, be sure that you are not allergic to valerian root. Those side effects can be very rapid, and include shortness of breath, as well as swelling of the throat, lips, face and tongue. However, there are other side effects that are less predictable, but if you experience them, discontinue or reduce your use of this herbal tea.
- Headaches – Some people experience headaches or migraines when they drink too much valerian tea. You can cut down the strength of the tea by brewing it in more water, or use a less powerful herbal tea.
- Cognitive Effects – Experiencing confusion, difficulty focusing, strange dreams or anxious states is not unheard of, although valerian root is often used to treat these types of symptoms, due to its ability to improve cognitive functioning and relieve stress.
- Gastrointestinal Problems – The active ingredients in valerian root tea can occasionally cause stomach upset, indigestion, nausea, vomiting or constipation, usually when consumed in excess.
- Pregnancy – Although formal research hasn’t been done regarding the use of this tea during pregnancy, it is not recommended, particularly in the first trimester and while breastfeeding.
- Drug Interactions – There are many medications that should not be combined with valerian root tea, specifically those for anxiety, asthma, high blood pressure, headaches and seizures. Before adding this herbal tea to your daily or weekly health practices, speak to your doctor about any potential interactions with medicines you may be prescribed.