Hops and valerian are two potent herbs that are commonly used to help relieve insomnia and calm the nervous system. Hops flowers are traditionally used as a main ingredient in beer and have naturally occurring sedative properties, and valerian is an herb that has been used for thousands of years to promote sleep and heal nervous disorders. Combined, these two herbs make a powerful supplement that can help you to relax, sleep more soundly and alleviate mental conditions like anxiety and nervous tension. Consult your doctor before using any herbal product, particularly if you have a medical condition or are taking any prescription medications.
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According to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements, a clinical study showed that participants who took a commercially prepared combination of 60m of valerian and 30m of hops experienced a significant improvement in the time it took to fall asleep and in sleep quality, and they experienced less nighttime awakenings than participants who took a placebo. A study by M. Schmitz and M. Jackel of the Austrian Institut fur Psychosomatik showed that individuals suffering from sleep disorders according to DSM-IV criteria had a substantial improvement in their quality of sleep when using a valerian-hops combination. The combination of these two herbs may help to alleviate sleep disorders such as insomnia by calming the nervous system and creating a feeling of relaxation in your mind and body.
Hops and valerian both have a sedative effect on your central nervous system, promoting a feeling of calm and peace during times of stress. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, researchers believe that valerian works to decrease stress by increasing the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which is a calming chemical. Hops may work due to the production of a sedating substance known as methylbutenol, which develops in the dried flowers after a period of time. The combination of these herbs can help you to calm down after a stressful day or to ease nervous tension and anxiety.
Herbs such as valerian and hops can be used on their own or in a combination as a muscle relaxant for over-stressed muscles, stiff joints and muscle spasms. According to herbalist Matthew Wood in his book "The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants," the combination of these two herbs can help to soothe and relax smooth muscles and ease muscle tension and twitching, pain and tremors. Remember not to take this supplement with other muscle relaxants or while driving or operating machinery as this can cause extreme drowsiness.
- Austrian Institut fur Psychosomatik: Comparative Study for Assessing Quality of Life of Patients With Exogenous Sleep Disorders Treated With Hops Valerian and a Benzodiazepine Drug"; M. Schmitz and M. Jackel; 1998
- "The Earthwise Herbal: A Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants"; Matthew Wood; 2008