The Best Natural Sleeping Pill That You Can Grow In Your Backyard

By Diane June 26, 2018 07:08

The Best Natural Sleeping Pill That You Can Grow In Your Backyard

According to recent studies, Insomnia affects over one-third of adults. Sleep aids are big business, but many of them cause unwelcome side-effects, and some of them just don’t work for everyone. What if I told you that there is an all-natural alternative that is proven to work for most people without harmful side-effects?

Valerian root, Valeriana officinalis, also known as tobacco root, is a well known herbal supplement used to treat anxiety. However, at proper doses, it makes the user relaxed and drowsy while encouraging high-quality, uninterrupted sleep.

In fact, studies show that users get more relaxing and restorative sleep and wake up feeling energetic and ready to face the day. This is probably because valerian encourages REM sleep. REM sleep is the vital portion of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements. It is the portion of sleep where dreams happen and memories are written. The brain is processing the previous day and preparing the body for the next.

The Best Natural Sleeping Pill that You Can Grow in Your BackyardHow Does Valerian Root Work?

Valerian root naturally increases the gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) levels in the brain. Increasing GABA levels calms the body and encourages sustained sleep. Not only do they help you go to sleep, but they also help you sleep for longer periods without interruption. Some of the common prescription drugs for anxiety and insomnia also increase GABA levels in the brain.

How to Use Valerian Root for Insomnia

Valerian root is usually recommended at lower doses of 50 mg or more for anxiety. While higher doses are completely safe, they are undesirable for daytime use because they make the user too sleepy. However, 400 to 600 milligrams (mg) of valerian root used at bedtime is best for treating insomnia. Most users do not see any benefits for insomnia when taking less than 300 mg. Higher doses, 900 mg or more, can lead to a fuzzy, “hungover” feeling the next morning.

I prefer to use a 400 mg capsule for easy use, but you can also take 1 cup of valerian root tea made from brewing 2 to 3 grams of dried valerian root for 10 to 15 minutes. I’ll give you directions for making your own capsules below.

The root takes longer to work in some people, while others get almost instant results. General recommendations are to take the valerian root 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime. I would start by taking it 30 minutes before bed initially, then change the timing if needed. You should be home and winding down before you take it. Never take it before driving or doing any tasks that require your full attention.

The effects of valerian root seem to be cumulative. It works best when taken regularly and doesn’t achieve maximum effects for two weeks to a month, so don’t give up on it too quickly.

Related: 23 Medicinal Plants the Native Americans Used on a Daily Basis

Is Valerian Root Safe?

Valerian root is “generally regarded as safe” (GRAS) according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. However, some users have reported minor side effects, including headaches, dizziness, stomach upsets, restlessness, and strange dreams.

You should not take valerian root if you are pregnant or nursing, and you should not give it to young children.

Do not take valerian root if you are using alcohol or taking sedatives, anti-depressants, or other sleep aids. Consult your doctor if you are taking prescription drugs or before taking it for long-term use.

Valerian root is a sedative, so please inform your doctor and anesthesiologist that you are taking valerian root before any surgery or anesthesia.

Growing Valerian Root

Valerian grows wild and is sometimes considered invasive, so it requires very little care to grow successfully. Some people have problems growing it from seed since the seeds need to be planted fresh and they are sometimes eaten by birds. The easiest way to grow valerian root is to start it from a root runner or root division. You probably have wild plants growing nearby. You can also order the plants online.

During the first growing year, the roots are small, and it is best to wait until fall to start harvesting. In the meantime, you can buy your valerian as pills, capsules, or a dried powder. The second year you can harvest roots in the spring and fall.

The plants grow to about 5 feet tall and 12 to 18 inches across, so take this into account when planning the space. The plants are hardy in zones 4 through 9 and can usually survive over winter. Give the plants a layer of organic mulch in the spring and fall and water them during periods of drought.

Harvest the root in the spring and fall by thinning the plants, leaving others to grow and spread. If you want to confine them to the allotted space, you should remove the flowering heads when the flowers begin to die. If they are left to produce seeds, the plants will spread rapidly.

Harvesting Your Valerian Root

During the summer before harvesting, cut off the flowering tops when they appear. This encourages the roots to grow rather than putting energy into seed development. In September or early October, cut off the top of the plants just above ground level and dig up the entire plant. Dig deeply to get all the roots.The Best Natural Sleeping Pill that You Can Grow in Your BackyardWash them thoroughly, then slice the roots thinly into small sections and dry them on a dehydrator for future use. Depending on the humidity and the size of your slices they may take 12 to 24 hours or even more to dry. I store the dried pieces sealed in a jar in a cool cupboard. When I am ready to make capsules, I grind them into a fine powder in a coffee grinder that I use only for herbs.

Related: 10 Edible Roots That Kept This Hermit Monk Alive

Making Your Capsules

I pack the weighed dosage into a capsule and put the lid on it. If you are going to be making many capsules, you’ll want to invest in a capsule packing tray. There are several different varieties of these, and they really do make the job so much easier. They also save you money in the long term.

By growing your own herbs or buying the powder by the pound and making your own supplement capsules, you’ll save a lot on your supplements. This is so much cheaper than buying pre-packed capsules or tablets.

You’ll find videos on Youtube demonstrating how these capsule packing trays work. Just make sure you buy the right size capsules for the tray you are using. If you use supplements on a regular basis, consider investing in the 100 capsule tray.

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By Diane June 26, 2018 07:08
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  1. JennTrip June 26, 14:15

    I’d like to try some tablets, to see if it will work for me before going to the time and trouble of growing my own. Is there acommercially prepared brand you recommend?

    Reply to this comment
  2. Mark M June 26, 14:26

    One minor issue you didn’t mention is that the stuff smells like dirty gym shoes. Its bad enough in a capsule. I can’t imagine trying to drink the stuff as a tea!

    Reply to this comment
  3. Mark M June 26, 14:30

    I get mine from Swanson mail order. They’re up in Fargo North Dalots. It does work and for me better than melatonin. Another thing that worksl

    Reply to this comment
  4. Mark M June 26, 14:32

    That’s North Dakota (thanks spellchecker I couldn’t have come up with that on my own) and the other thing that got truncated was magnolia extract.

    Reply to this comment
  5. mbl June 26, 15:55

    One thing to bear in mind is that the strength of the stuff you find growing can vary year to year or even by location in the same year. And if I’ve dried the root before I use it, that 2-3 grams dry will have a lot more root than if I used it fresh.

    Mark’s right, it does have a distinctive scent that may be odious to some.

    I have some growing wild; some of the blooms are more white and some are a lighter pink.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Sue B June 27, 21:23

    can anyone tell me of a book that exists for telling all the natural { what we call weeds} so I can identify them I live in the northeast thank you

    Reply to this comment
    • Stumpy June 28, 13:59

      There is an electronic book put out by Claude that is only sold as a PDF, but I hate having to take my tablet out into the wild.

      Reply to this comment
    • Sher July 12, 03:36

      Hi, Claude Davis has a Book called ” The Lost Ways 2 ” It does come in a Physical Book and a PDF. It has Heaps of good info on other Great things to know. It has large coloured photos etc. Its written very nicely and shows with large photos easy to follow. I have found it to be a Very Handy Book.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Yany June 29, 12:21

    I have grown Valerian and used it as tea in the past. The smell (as some of you already mentioned) is very different, but it didn’t bother me (weird me). The teas were very relaxing and I slept really good. However, please know that for some people, the effect can be the opposite. My husband was having some sleeping issues for a couple of days, so I decided to give him Valerian (I treat my family with herbs). Anyway, the next day he asked me what I had given him, as he couldn’t sleep at all and even felt more alert. I had to do a bit of research and learned that for some people (a very small percent) the plant can do the opposite. I guess everybody handles things differently. But for me, it did work.

    Reply to this comment
    • Brady March 22, 17:33

      It works like a charm for me… and i actually really like the smell of it! I know i’m not weird… probably just limited edition 🙂

      Reply to this comment
  8. Clergylady March 24, 04:37

    Valeria is a proven old time remedy when you need some sleep. I helps many folks. My Dr suggested hops. Hops is renown for making folks relaxed and sleepy. Workers in hops harvests used to work in 4 hour split shifts because they’d get so sleepy. It works great. I have constant pain but sometimes it’s much worse than at other times. Hops can be purchased any place with beer making supplies. With hops I can get rest without extra pain meds. I plan to buy a bine (not vine) this spring and grow my own. I can smell hops, make a tea, or even drink one can of beer because of the hops my nerve meds work on the pain well enough to rest pretty well. ( I don’t like beer) It’s related to marijuana but I have to maintain legal testable being a cartaker so I’ll stick with hops. If it grows well perhaps I can sell the excess harvest to a home brewer.

    Reply to this comment
  9. wildad June 20, 22:57

    I bought a natural pill that had Valerian and a couple other herbs for sleep. Unfortunately it proved to be worthless.

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