Finding Mr. Sandman With Mr. Valerian
Sleep and I don't get along very well. I often find myself staying up very late into the night, or not sleeping at all, because of anxiety or tangential thoughts. My mind won't turn off, and sometimes the only way to unwind is just to zone out in front of the television.
But, there are nights when I just can't wait and I know I need to crash for a good ten or twelve hours. So, in the course of finding Mr. Sandman, I've tried Valerian root and thought I'd share that experience (you can also find my review of Benadryl under the appropriate section).
As for Valerian root, I've used the anti-anxiety herb in both pill form and in liquid extract. The pills didn't work very well. The root is currently marketed under the name Alluna, but I'm not sure what dosage it's at. I'm currently using the liquid extract. The first time that I took a complete dose (1ml), I felt very relaxed, almost as though I was intoxicated (minus the hangover and queasiness). I fell asleep very easily that first night after drinking the extract.
But, three days into my herbal insomnia remedy, I'm starting to notice that the effect has worn off. I was told by the salesperson that herbal and homeopathic remedies (unlike their pharmaceutical counterparts) are most effective after they've become residual in your system.
The other problem with the Valerian root is that the liquid extract smells awful. I can't put a finger on it, but it's a melange of rotten food and some metallic compound. The aroma, as it were, lingers in the air after you've closed the bottle -- it's quite pungent. If you can get past that, the taste isn't bad at all. It's just one of those affected nose-closing medicines.
So, in reference to my other post about Diphenhydramine, it all depends on how badly you want to sleep. I'm not sure whether I have the patience or the desire to wait while my body slowly acclimates to being "relaxed" by Valerian. I'm also starting to sense some side effects, such as disinterest in activity and irritability.
In all, I'm going to give the herb its due and finish the bottle. But, I am in doubt of its anti-anxiety, or insomnia-curing properties.