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Tension-type headache, a help from valerian

December 06, 2022
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Tension-type headache, a help from valerian

Tension-type headache is one of the most common forms of headache and from today we know that we have a new ally to counteract it, valerian. This emerges from a recent scientific research published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine thanks to the work of an Iranian team (Azizi et al, Avicenna J Phytomed., 2020).

Tension-type headache, what it is and treatments

Headache is one of the most widespread disorders in the world, capable of causing limitations and a worsening of the quality of life in those who suffer from it. Tension-type headache is the most common of all forms of headache, affecting nearly 70% of all headache cases worldwide. Tension-type headache presents as a continuous, non-pulsating, mild to moderate pain that is often associated with the feeling of having the head in a clamp. This type of headache is not yet fully understood and the treatments available often do not bring many benefits but can have side effects. That's why science is taking an interest in well-tolerated and safe natural remedies to treat tension-type headache. Valerian root is considered a valid calming, antispasmodic and useful against insomnia. Not only that, thanks to previous studies, valerian, scientific name Valeriana officinalis, has already had the opportunity to show its properties against another type of headache, migraine. To verify a possible beneficial action of valerian in case of tension-type headache, the Iranian scientists have developed the study we are talking about today.

Valerian counteracts headache, the experiment

Scientists recruited 88 people, average age 35, all with a diagnosis of tension-type headache. The volunteers were divided into two groups. The first group was asked to take two capsules containing 530 mg of valerian root extract after dinner and every day for a month. The second group had to take a placebo instead. After a month of treatment, it emerged that valerian root is able to reduce the severity of the headache and also its impact on everyday life, making people feel less limited in social relationships, in carrying out daily activities and at work. It is believed that the action of valerian is of an analgesic type and capable of reducing stress, which is considered one of the triggers of tension-type headache.

Valerian, how to take it and warnings

Valerian has therefore been shown to attenuate the attacks of tension-type headache, to reduce pain and the impact of this condition on everyday life without showing particular side effects. Only one volunteer, at the beginning of the treatment, showed dizziness which was resolved by dividing the intake of the two capsules, no longer together after dinner but one in the evening and one in the morning.

Therefore, valerian is really a valuable aid in bringing relief in the case of tension-type headache, as well as improving the quality of sleep and counteracting anxiety.

As for the intake, an herbal tea can be prepared with valerian root. Bring a cup of water to a boil along with half a tablespoon of valerian root, which you can buy at herbalist's and chemist's shops. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes, then remove from the heat and let it brew for five minutes, then filter and drink.

Alternatively, you can resort to supplements based on valerian root, these too can be purchased at chemist's, herbalist's and online shops. Always ask your doctor for advice before starting treatment with valerian, it is not recommended for use during pregnancy, breastfeeding and if you are already taking anxiolytic drugs.

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