Anxiety isn’t anyone’s best friend. You might be in a meeting, or even at a social gathering, and it might creep up on you slowly — which isn’t ideal, especially when you want to keep things light and fun. Luckily, there are many successfully proven methods to ease anxiety, whether it be with medicine, or even holistically.
**NOTE: If you feel like your anxiety is worsening or difficult to manage, stop reading — it might be worth it to speak to a therapist or psychiatrist to help figure out what works for you.**
While a rock solid, 100% guaranteed answer isn’t available, continued research on holistic health has provided more options. Recently, research has shown that Valerian root can ease your anxiety. It’s a lesser-known treatment that is rising in popularity and has proven effective for treating anxiety. That doesn’t mean it works for everyone, but it does add another holistic option to the anxiety research pile. Before jumping into a new experiment, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works.
Valerian root is an herb that can be found in Europe, North America, and Asia, and is typically used as a sleeping aid or anxiety reliever. It is said to have mild sedative properties, but less so than your average prescribed sleep medication.
But how does it work?
Experts say that Valerian root interacts with the neurotransmitter GABA (Gamma-amino butyric acid), an amino acid in your brain that is directly connected to your central nervous system. In simpler terms, a lack of balanced GABA levels in your brain can lead to mental health issues (like anxiety!).
While there’s not substantial evidence that Valerian root is scientifically proven to be effective in treating anxiety, research has reported that regular consumption of it makes people calmer and reduces nervous tension.
Valerian root has been found a safe, low-risk option to try. However, if you’re pregnant or nursing or taking antidepressants or other meds, you should check with your doctor before adding Valerian root to your routine. Valerian root also should not be consumed while using alcohol or other sedative drugs.
You can buy Valerian root at most drugstores. It usually comes in a powder or liquid consistency, and can be consumed in a variety of ways. Some people put it in a glass of water or tea, while others choose to take it straight from a dropper.
If you are using Valerian root to ease anxiety, research recommends taking 120 to 200mg three times per day for the most effective results. If you want to take it to improve your sleep, the recommended dosage is 300 to 600 mg, between 30 minutes and two hours before bedtime. Remember that, since this supplement is meant to have sedative and calming properties, it’s not advised to do anything that requires a lot of focus (for example, driving) after consuming it.
If you’re interested in using Valerian root as an agent to calm your anxiety, it might be worth it to do a test run and see how you feel after taking it for the first time. But remember to always consult your doctor before trying new supplements.
Editor's note: The views expressed in this article are not intended to replace professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
About the author
Maddie is a writer and lover of all things wellness and lifestyle. She’s been featured on doctoroz.com, The TODAY Show Digital, PureWow, The Knot, and now Playbook! When she’s not working on a story, you can find her searching for a perfectly constructed charcuterie board, laying in the sun, or at a yoga class (mostly to work off the charcuterie board).