Valerian root (valeriana officinalis) is a herb derived from the root of Valerian plant, that was originally found growing in Europe and Asia.
Today, Valerian has found popular usage as a herbal medicine promoted as a sleep aid, calming agent for people suffering from anxiety, and a natural sedative.
Valerian supplements are not, as yet, FDA-approved for any medical use but Valerian is generally considered safe for adults for short-term use.
Clinical studies taking a deeper look into the effects of Valerian root are, so far, inconsistent. But there are many advocates of the herb and in this article, we look into whether Valerian root can help with anxiety symptoms & stage fright, as well as understanding how the compound works & taking a look at the best Valerian products currently available on the market.
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian root is a herb prepared from the root of the Valerian plant, which is found in the wild throughout Asia, Europe, and North America .
Valerian root has been used for centuries as a herbal remedy, and is thought to improve symptoms of tension and anxiety.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used valerian root for things like nervousness, stress, trembling; all of which affect those suffering from social anxiety, performance anxiety & general anxiety . Valerian also has recorded instances of being used to treat insomnia, migraines, fatigue, and stomach cramps.
The actual Valerian plant has delicately scented flowers. In stark contrast, valerian roots have a very strong odor that many people find unpleasant.
It is the roots, rhizomes (underground stems), and stolons (horizontal stems) of valerian plants that are used to make dietary supplements such as capsules and tablets, as well as teas and tinctures .
Why do Performers use Valerian for Anxiety?
There are many clinical studies involving Valerian but the results are varied and research covering exactly how valerian works in the body is sparse. Many studies end up concluding that inconsistent outcomes in studies of valerian root might be due to the “variable quality of herbal extracts” and that more reliable effects could be expected from the whole root/rhizome .
What scientists have discovered about Valerian is that it can boost GABA levels in the brain.
GABA, or Gamma-aminobutyric acid, is an amino acid that plays the role of a neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. GABA’s primary function is to reduce the activity levels of neurons in the nervous system, which then has various effects on the body.
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Valerian root boosts GABA levels in the brain, and there is plenty of anecdotal evidence showing people experiencing a calmer state and reduced anxiety after taking GABA supplements. Two (more detailed) studies carried out in 2006 looked at the effects of GABA supplements on the brain .
The first study involved 13 participants taking GABA, water, and L-theanine (an amino acid known to promote relaxation). Compared to water and L-theanine; GABA significantly increased alpha brain waves, which are associated with feeling calm and relaxed.
In the other study, eight subjects were divided into two groups. One group was given GABA, and the other a placebo. Then all subjects had to cross a suspended bridge for a stimulus of stress. The GABA group was found to be considerably more relaxed as they performed a stressful task.
Researchers went on to conclude that GABA could work as a natural relaxant.
And this is exactly why performers of different kinds (musicians, singers, public speakers, actors facing auditions, etc) have experimented with using both GABA supplements & Valerian Root supplements to help with their anxiety & stage fright symptoms. Valerian has proven to be an effective natural alternative to prescription medications like beta blockers for anxiety.
Are there any Valerian Root side effects?
However, valerian root supplements should ideally only be used under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, and caution should be used if you are taking the supplement for an extended period of time.
What is the best Valerian product for stage fright?
We currently recommend the following Valerian root supplements to help with your stage fright & performance anxiety symptoms. These have highest amount of valerian per serving compared to competing products, and are all certified and rated highly as containing quality ingredients with sturdy packaging.
Valerian Root supplements for Anxiety:
However, if you are looking for a more comprehensive natural performance anxiety supplement, then we recommend PerformZen. It’s specifically designed to help performers shine in the spotlight, keeping your nerves under control when in high-pressure scenarios and maintaining a sharp & focused mind at the same time. Learn more here.
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Conclusion: Should you use Valerian for anxiety symptoms?
Valerian Root is generally considered to be effective as a natural relaxant that can aid with your anxiety or stage fright symptoms to help with situations like speaking on stage in front of an audience. However, Valerian is a temporary solution that only helps with the physical symptoms of anxiety.
Addressing the root causes of your anxiety might require the help of a medical professional and/or time to analyze yourself and learn some new techniques.
You can, however, take the first step towards boosting your brain health today by trialing some of the mentioned valerian root supplements or other natural beta-blocker alternative products like PerformZen.
- ^ https://uvitals.com/beta-blockers-for-anxiety-stage-fright/#valerian_root_an_ancient_herb_that_may_reduce_nervous_tension_and_stress
- ^ https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/valerian
- ^ https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/valerian-root#what-is-valerian
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7585905/
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12662130
- ^ https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16971751
- ^ https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0278584601003050?via%3Dihub