Valerian Root To Ease CIDP Stress
Valerian root has been used for ages for a variety of ailments. If you have CIDP, valerian may help you cope better with some of your symptoms.
By Shiraz Abbas
Common symptoms for CIDP sufferers include stress, anxiety and insomnia. Medications like sleep aids and antidepressants can be helpful, but there are natural remedies that may help ease some of the above symptoms.
A great natural remedy that I and some of my family members have been using is valerian root. Valerian root is a flowering plant that is native of Europe and Asia. In the summer it grows beautiful white and pink flowers and has a distinct smell.
Valerian root is consumed for a number of its beneficial properties, either in pill format or as a tea. I myself tend to use it in tea format.
So if you suffer from CIDP, how can valerian possibly be of help? In this article, I’ll briefly go over three common problems that CIDP sufferers face: insomnia, anxiety and stress.
A common symptom that many CIDP sufferers face is insomnia. Often enough this is due to pain but at other times the general discomfort caused by the disorder is enough to mess around with your sleep.
Valerian root is known to help with sleep, this is why it is added in many bed time teas. The good thing about is that it doesn’t seem to have as many side effects as prescribed medications do. Here is how Dr. Axe summarizes a double-blind study on the effects of valerian root:
In one double-blind study conducted by the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden, the effects of valerian on poor sleep were significant. Of the study participants, 44 percent reported perfect sleep while 89 percent reported improved sleep when taking valerian root. In addition, no side effects were observed for this group…
How does valerian root help you sleep so well? Valerian contains a chemical called linarin, which creates a sedative effect.
If you have ever had chamomile, you will understand the effects of valerian. Fortunately, it doesn’t have some of the discomforts that artificial sleep inducers have.
Valerian may possibly have a similar effect as some anti-anxiety medications have. Dr. Axe summarizes the findings on the effects of valerian on anxiety as follows:
Scientists have found that valerian root increases the amount of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain. GABA helps regulate nerve cells and calms anxiety. Drugs such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium) also work by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. The valerenic acid and valerenol contained in valerian root extract act as anti-anxiety agents.
Autoimmune disorders like CIDP have a way of exacerbating anxiety in people. This can be due to chemical reactions in the body, but it can also be the result of anticipating worsening pain and symptoms in the near future. Unfortunately, anxiety itself may cause a circular problem by on-setting the worsening of symptoms. If valerian can relieve some of your anxiety, that’s good news.
By possibly regulating anxiety, stress levels are better managed. Managing stress is important. We have seen in a previous article how stress can aggravate CIDP.
So what do studies have to say about the relationship between valerian and stress management? Dr. Axe write the following:
Further, valerian root has been shown to suppress both physical and psychological stress by helping to maintain levels of serotonin, according to research in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate mood.
Managing stress may be an important factor in slowing down the symptoms of CIDP. In addition to medication, some herbal remedies like valerian may be useful.
Before you try valerian, please make sure to consult with your doctor first as it may interact with some of the medication you take.
Shiraz Abbas is the founder and manager of the CIDP Neuropathy Support Group. He is also one of the main community educators of IVIG therapy. He resides in Fresno, California. Shiraz can be contacted through our free CIDP advice service at 1-855-782-0574.