Valerian root is often referred to as “nature’s Valium.” In fact, this herb has been used since ancient times to promote tranquility and improve sleep.
Valerian root contains a number of compounds known to promote sleep and reduce anxiety such as valerenic acid, isovaleric acid and a variety of antioxidants.
Valerian has also received attention for its interaction with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a chemical messenger that helps regulate nerve impulses in your brain and nervous system. Low GABA levels are linked to anxiety and low-quality sleep.
Valerenic acid has been found to stop the breakdown of GABA in the brain, resulting in feelings of calmness and tranquility.
This is the same way anti-anxiety medications like Valium and Xanax work. The difference is antidepressants use chemicals like diazepam to do this while Valerian Root is a natural herb.