Saturday, February 27, 2010

How to Fall Asleep Fast and Easy

How to fall asleep fast and easy when taking the herbal supplement, Valerian. What is Valerian? Valerian is a plant that grows in Europe and Asia roughly four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. Ancient Greece and Rome alchemists used Valerian for conditions such as sleeping disorders, indigestion, anxiety, headaches and for an irregular heartbeat. Today Valerian has also been used to ease stomach and menstrual cramps, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), some of the restlessness that accompanies attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and migraine symptoms. And, more rarely, it may be used to treat convulsions from a seizure disorder.

Since Valerian is not as potent as any prescription sleep aid, there have been few clinical studies to determine the herbs active components thus forming a conclusion to its effectiveness. The Valerian root is primarily used medicinally and when dried it protrudes a strong odor many find unpleasant, somewhat like aged cheese or milk.

Many people use Valerian due to the side effects of prescription medication. With prescribed medication you may feel the “hangover” effect the next day and not only could you become addicted, if discontinued, your insomnia may worsen. What side effects are there with Valerian? Side effects include; headaches, dizziness, itchiness, dry mouth and vivid dreams. Liver damage has been associated with the use of Valerian, since this is where the herb is broken down in the body. However, this rarely occurs, as it is not certain if liver damage was caused by Valerian directly or in combination with other medications. If you decide to take Valerian and notice the following conditions associated with liver damage, see your doctor immediately; tired, intense itching, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, pain in the upper right side of your abdomen or yellowing in the eyes and skin.

Valerian can be found in capsule, tea or extract and in herbal sleep aides combined with hops, catnip or kava kava. You can purchase Valerian online, at most health food stores or at your local pharmacy.

This herbal supplement is not recommended for those that are pregnant or nursing and anyone with a liver disorder. It’s not advisable to drink alcohol while using Valerian. People taking medications for insomnia or anxiety, such as benzodiazepines (Ativan or Valium), should not combine these medications with Valerian. Other drug interactions are known with antidepressants, narcotics such as codeine, and barbituates such as phenobarbitol, or with over-the-counter sleep and cold products containing diphenhydramine and doxylamine.

Valerian can also interfere with the effectiveness of medications that are broken down by the same liver enzymes, such as:

• allergy medications like Allegra (fexofenadine)

• cholesterol medication such as Mevacor (lovastatin)

• antifungal drugs such as Sporanox (itraconazole) and Nizoral (ketoconazole)

• cancer medications such as Camptosar (irinotecan), Etopophos, Vepesid (etoposide), Gleevec (STI571), Taxol (paclitaxel), Velbe (vinblastine) or Oncovin (vincristine)

Be smart about taking herbal supplements and do your homework. In the United States, Valerian is sold as a dietary supplement, and dietary supplements are regulated as foods, not drugs. Therefore, premarket evaluation and approval by the Food and Drug Administration are not required unless claims are made for specific disease prevention or treatment. If you suffer from insomnia and want to know how to fall asleep fast and easy, contact your physician as he may prescribe another form treatment or recommend a sleep specialist.
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  1. Great post! It's a new for me to know that Valerian posses so many quality that helps out people in many different ways. Even I have sleeping disorder and I think I should go after this product. Thanks a lot for waking me up.


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