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Trouble sleeping?

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Terri R.
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Joined: 21 Apr 2004
Posts: 261
Location: So. Calif.

PostPosted: Thu Apr 22, 2004 12:50 pm    Post subject: Trouble sleeping? Reply with quote

Valerian for Insomnia

Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Its therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the 2nd century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia. In the 16th century, it was used to treat nervousness, trembling, headaches, and heart palpitations. In the mid-19th century, valerian was considered a stimulant that caused some of the same complaints it is thought to treat and was generally held in low esteem as a medicinal herb [2]. During World War II, it was used in England to relieve the stress of air raids.

In addition to sleep disorders, valerian has been used for gastrointestinal spasms and distress, epileptic seizures, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, scientific evidence is not sufficient to support the use of valerian for these conditions (and probably never will be since it's not a pharmaceutical - no patent, no profit).

Can valerian be harmful?
Few adverse events attributable to valerian have been reported for clinical study participants. Headaches, dizziness, pruritus, and gastrointestinal disturbances are the most common effects reported in clinical trials but similar effects were also reported for the placebo. In one study an increase in sleepiness was noted the morning after 900 mg of valerian was taken. Investigators from another study concluded that 600 mg of valerian (LI 156) did not have a clinically significant effect on reaction time, alertness, and concentration the morning after ingestion. Several case reports described adverse effects, but in one case where suicide was attempted with a massive overdose it is not possible to clearly attribute the symptoms to valerian.

Valepotriates, which are a component of valerian but are not necessarily present in commercial preparations, had cytotoxic activity in vitro but were not carcinogenic in animal studies.

Women who are pregnant or nursing, or children under the age of 3 should not take valerian without medical advice because the possible risks to the fetus or infant have not been evaluated. Individuals taking valerian should be aware of the theoretical possibility of additive sedative effects from alcohol or sedative drugs, such as barbiturates and benzodiazepines.

Although valerian has not been reported to interact with any drugs or to influence laboratory tests, this has not been rigorously studied.

Jellin JM, Gregory P, Batz F, et al.: Valerian In: Pharmacistís Letter/Prescriberís Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 3rd ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2000: 1052-1054.
Stevinson C, Ernst E: Valerian for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials. Sleep Medicine 1: 91-99, 2000. [PubMed abstract -- http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov:80/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db;=PubMed&list;_uids=10767649&dopt;=Abstract]
European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy: Valerianae radix: valerian root.
In: Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs. Exeter, UK: ESCOP, 1997: 1-10.
Rotblatt M, Ziment I. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). In: Evidence-Based Herbal Medicine. Philadelphia: Hanley & Belfus, Inc., 2002: 355-359.
Givens M, Cupp MJ: Valerian. In: Cupps MJ, ed. Toxicology and Clinical Pharmacology of Herbal Products. Totowa, NJ: Humana Press, 2000: 53-66.
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Joined: 27 Apr 2004
Posts: 159
Location: North Carolina

PostPosted: Mon May 10, 2004 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What is pruritus? Is what they are saying is that they really don't know what the side effects are, for sure? LOL !!!!
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