Are you all too familiar with the “tired but wired” feeling? If you're foggy in the brain, yet unable to relax or sleep at night, valerian essential oil might be the key to finally relaxing and catching those precious z’s.
Valerian oil, a powerful herb with sedative qualities, is a safe and effective all-natural remedy for sleep and stress related conditions. Grown natively in some parts of Asia and Europe, it’s been used to treat sleep problems like insomnia — and science backs this up. Recent research also supports valerian's tranquilizing effects on the nervous system, suggesting that it can be used to reduce anxiety and even symptoms of menopause!
Medicinal and therapeutic forms of valerian (including valerian oil) are made using the plant’s root, which has an intense earthy odor, unlike the flower of the plant that was used traditionally to make perfume. Known as “nature’s valium,” valerian root has shown to have sedative qualities that work on the nervous system to help us relax. It’s full of antioxidants which help to relieve oxidative stress on the body, as well as valerenic acid and isovaleric acid — compounds that are said to promote sleep.
Valerenic acid, in particular, has shown to inhibit the breakdown of gamma-aminobutyric acid, a compound that regulates nerve activity, affecting the brain and nervous system. When this reaction occurs, we experience a feeling of calm and relaxation. Low levels of GABA have also been linked to anxiety and poor sleep quality.
One of the best ways to incorporate valerian into your routine is by using the essential oil, the highly concentrated oil extracted directly from the plant. Valerian essential oil can be used for insomnia, headaches, stress, tension, and anxiety. Just apply a few drops to your temples or the bottoms of your feet and massage (no carrier oil necessary, just test a patch on your skin to check for allergies!), or put it in a diffuser in your bedroom before drifting off to sleep. We love this one from Eden’s Garden ($20.95, Amazon).