Monday, July 23, 2012

The Benefits of Valerian and Hops

As many of my regular readers know, I am an herbalist. I run an apothecary and botanica called Boline and also help people through personal consultations. People see an herbalist for many reasons- I have helped folks with "female troubles", allergies, irritable bowel syndrome, and much more. 
Common maladies, especially in our crazy culture, like insomnia, stress, and anxiety also take their toll and people have come to me in relief. One of the ready-to-go remedies that I have created is a tincture of hops and valerian for these symptoms. This one two herbal punch will help you relieve anxiety, get to sleep (even after taking in too much caffeine!) and relieve your stress. It works for most people in a gentle, non-addictive way.

It is calming without exerting too sedative an effect and is practically non-addictive. It is a valuable treatment for insomnia, the sedative effect due to the valepotriates and the isovaleric acid. 

At least two double-blind studies have demonstrated that valerian extract can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes people to fall asleep without changing the normal stages of sleep. 

Documented research has noted a mild hypnotic action from Valerian in both normal sleepers and insomniacs, indicated by a beneficial effect on sleep latency, wake-time after sleep, frequency of waking, nocturnal motor activity, inner restlessness and tension and quality of sleep. Sleepiness and dream recall the morning after were unaffected. The valepotriates have a regulatory effect on the autonomic nervous system; research suggests that they have a calming effect on agitated people but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue.

Valerian is also used as a mild tranquilizer for people experiencing emotional stress, much as anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed and has been prescribed for exhaustion. Valerian has occasionally been tried as part of a program to take a patient off antidepressants or benzodiazepines, and is sometimes used as a muscle relaxant to treat pain.

Valerian does not impair driving ability and produces no morning hangover effect. It is a gentle relaxant and an effective sleep aid.

Hops have been used traditionally for nervous disorders and to help anxiety or sleep for generations. Once, scientists scoffed at its use, but studies have finally been done and show reasons for its effectiveness and use. (Dr. K-H Schiller from Hoexter demonstrated that hop preparations reduced the spontaneous locomotor activity, increased the ketamine-induced sleeping time and reduced body temperature, confirming a central sedating effect)

Pairing hops with valerian has its own benefit, according to the studies:
Pairing hops with valerian may help treat insomnia, according to a 2010 research review published in Australian Family Physician. The review included 16 previously published studies, 12 of which found that the use of valerian on its own or in combination with hops helped improve sleep quality and lessened the amount of time it takes to fall asleep. Used as a bittering agent in beer, hops are thought to deliver sedative effects.

The valerian/ hops medication was capable of reducing (2 tablets) or inhibiting (6 tablets) the arousal induced by caffeine. This pharmacodynamic action was observed 60 minutes after oral administration, indicating not only competition between the antagonist caffeine and the partial agonist, i. e., the valerian / hops extract but also bio-availability of the compound(s) responsible for the agonistic action. In conclusion, the valerian / hops extract acts via a central adenosine mechanism which is possibly the reason for its sleep-inducing and -maintaining activity.

Because of its sedative action, you should not use hops while on other CNS depressors including benzodiazepines, narcotics, and barbiturates.

Boline's tincture is 100% organic and Witch made. I work magick on my remedies, making them the old-fashioned way- which takes time. If you are interested in getting some, click here.

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