This Tea Can Have Powerful Health Benefits, Experts Say
On top of enjoying the soothing nature of tea, those who prefer the brewed beverage can also appreciate the fact that it's even healthier than you might have assumed.
While some options can help you lose weight and others have anti-aging effects, there's one variety that can be used to help a wide range of issues. Keep reading to learn more, and then check out The #1 Best Juice to Drink Every Day, Says Science.
Valerian tea can be used to help ease insomnia, depression, and anxiety, as well as headaches, premenstrual syndrome, and symptoms related to menopause, according to Medical News Today.
"A 2015 study noted that in animal studies, a compound in valerian protected against markers of both physical and mental stress," the publication notes. "This is important because stress, fear, and anxiety are often closely related and can affect other issues, such as sleep."
If valerian tea is new to you, then you should know that it comes from the valerian plant, using its dried roots and the stems found growing in the dirt (called rhizomes). Served as both loose leaf tea as well as in tea bags, the taste is often described as "woody" and "earthy." It is often sold in blends with passionflower, lemon balm, and peppermint to promote a good night's sleep.
While it's not clear how valerian might work on the body, Healthline explains that researchers believe it subtly increases levels of a chemical known as gamma aminobutyric acid in the brain, which contributes to a calming effect on the body. Studies have known that increased levels of this chemical in the brain lead to falling asleep faster and experiencing better sleep.
"Studies show it may take up to four weeks of use of valerian root before seeing benefits in sleep quality," Stacey Pence, a registered dietitian at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells Eat This, Not That!.
Pence adds that valerian tea is likely to be safe in doses of 300-600 milligrams per day for up to 6 weeks. But, she adds, "it may be difficult to know how much valerian is in tea as many brands do not list the amount per serving and often list valerian as part of a proprietary blend of other herbal ingredients."
Because of its sedative properties, valerian tea may have increased adverse effects if used with alcohol, benzodiazepines, or other depressants, Pence notes.
"Consumers should be cautious with these combinations," she says. "If used chronically, it is recommended to slowly wean off valerian as sudden discontinued use can cause symptoms of withdrawal such as tachycardia and irritability."
Dr. Kelly Johnson-Arbor, MD, FACEP, FUHM, FACMT, Medical Toxicologist and Co-Medical Director of the National Capital Poison Center, also points out to Eat This, Not That! "that while valerian is not a prescription medication and is not regulated by the FDA, there is no standard dose recommended for use in capsules or teas."
To find out more about the benefits of tea, be sure to read 12 Side Effects of Drinking Tea Every Day.