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Valerian Root vs Kava – Which One Should You Take?

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So you’re finally ready to improve your health with supplements.

There’s just one problem…

You have no idea which one to take.

I could easily name hundreds off the top of my head, with each one providing different benefits.

Don’t worry. I’m here to help you pick. In my Supplement Comparison Series, I put 2 supplements against each other and break down the pros, cons, cost, and more.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at Valerian Root vs Kava.

Let’s get to it.

What is Valerian Root?

Valerian Root (Valeriana Officinalis) is a herb native to Asia and Europe that’s known for its calming properties.

Its name is derived from the Latin verb Valere, which means to be strong.

Valerian Root has been used medicinally for thousands of years and is still used today for many different ailments.

What is Kava?

Kava (Piper Methysticum) is a plant native to Polynesia, Melanesia, and Micronesia. In these regions, people have been taking Kava for more than 2,000 years for social ceremonies.

It’s a member of the nightshade family of plants, which includes popular vegetables like potatoes and egg plants.

Today, Kava is widely used across the world for it’s calming and euphoric effects.

Benefits

Benefits of Valerian Root

Valerian Root may help improve menopause symptoms

When a woman enters menopause her estrogen levels decline, which may result in some annoying symptoms like:

  • Irritability
  • Hot flashes
  • Mood swings
  • Sleep problems
  • Vaginal dryness

If you’re facing these symptoms during menopause, then you may want to side with Valerian Root.

In one study, menopausal women who used Valerian Root each day for 4 weeks had improved sleep.

In another study, menopausal women who used Valerian Root each day for 8 weeks had less frequent and severe hot flashes.

Valerian Root may help improve sleep

Many people take Valerian Root to help treat insomnia and sleep disorders.

And for good reason too.

One study investigated how Valerian Root affects the time taken to fall asleep in people with insomnia.

The results showed that the Valerian Root group entered deep sleep 8 minutes faster than the placebo group.

Another study investigated how Valerian Root affects the quality of sleep.

The results showed that 89% of the Valerian Root takers reported better sleep, and 44% reported perfect sleep.

Valerian Root may help you relax

According to research, Valerian Root may help boost relaxation.

For example in one study, rats who consumed Valerian Root before a maze challenge showed less anxiety than rats who consumed alcohol.

In another study, the subjects took 600mg of Valerian Root alongside Lemon Balm during a stressful task.

According to the results, this concoction helped them feel calm and less anxious during the task.

(Interestingly, subjects who were given 1800mg felt more anxious, suggesting there’s an optimal dosage.)

Benefits of Kava

Kava may help reduce anxiety

Wanna know a shocking statistic?

More than 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety.

Well, if you’re unfortunate enough to be included in this figure, then Kava might be able to help.

In one study, 101 anxiety sufferers took either Kava or a placebo for 25 weeks.

The results showed that the Kava group had significantly improved anxiety after 8 weeks.

Also, a summary of 11 studies concluded that Kava significantly reduced anxiety when compared to a placebo.

Kava may help improve sleep

Like Valerian Root, Kava is commonly used as a natural sleep aid.

In one study, 61 subjects received either 200mg of Kava extract or a placebo each day for 4 weeks.

According to the results, the Kava takers had significantly better sleep quality than the placebo takers.

Interestingly, they also reported less anxiety.

In another study, 24 insomnia patients took 120mg of Kava each day for 6 weeks.

The results showed that the Kava significantly improved their insomnia by lowering their stress.

Kava may help improve cognitive function

Many people use Kava for its brain-boosting properties.

And for good reason too.

In one study, 12 subjects took either Kava or oxazepam before a word recognition task.

The results showed that those who took Kava had performed significantly better at the task than those who took oxazepam.

Another study showed that a single 300mg dose of Kava improved short term memory and visual attention.

Cost

Valerian Root Cost

Valerian Root is sold in various forms, including powder, capsules, and as a liquid extract.

Standard prices for these are:

  • Powder: $28 for 1 lb
  • Capsules: $7 for 100
  • Liquid extract: $19 for 2 Oz

Kava Cost

Kava is usually sold as a powder or in capsules.

Here are some typical prices for these:

  • Powder: $32 for 8 Oz
  • Capsules: $20 for 100

Side Effects

Valerian Root Side Effects

Valerian Root supplements are generally well tolerated, but some people have reported the following side effects after taking Valerian Root:

  • Headaches
  • Vivid dreams
  • Upset stomach
  • Heart palpitations

Also, the following drugs may interact with Valerian Root, so please speak to a doctor before taking Valerian Root if you’re using any of them:

  • Statins
  • Alcohol
  • Narcotics
  • St. John’s wort
  • Antihistamines
  • Antidepressants
  • Other sleep aids

Until more research is done, young children and pregnant women should avoid taking Valerian Root.

Kava Side Effects

Like Valerian Root, Kava is generally safe to use but the following side effects have been reported in some instances:

  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

Also, Kava may impair motor skills so driving and operating heavy machinery is not recommended after taking Kava.

Kava may interact with certain drugs and medications which can lead to severe liver damage, so please speak to your doctor before supplementing with Kava.

Recommendations

My Valerian Root Recommendation: NOW Valerian Root

Click to see on Amazon

Overview

A top-quality Valerian Root supplement from a prestigious brand.

NOW Valerian Root gets the gold star.

What I like about it

The thousands of epic reviews show that this is a trusted Valerian Root supplement that’s used by many people who’ve had excellent results.

Also, NOW are one of my favorite supplement companies.

They’re GMP certified, meaning every single part of their manufacturing process has been carefully analyzed for quality.

This is just one of many reasons why NOW are one of the most trusted supplement brands out there.

So for its low cost, this is an awesome budget buy.

Potential Drawbacks

According to some users, the capsules have an odd smell.

But this is supposedly common for Valerian Root supplements anyways.

Check price and read more reviews of NOW Valerian Root on Amazon.

My Kava Recommendation: Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder

Click to see on Amazon

Overview

An excellent Kava supplement in powdered form.

You can’t go wrong with Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder.

What I like about it

The fact that it’s powdered means you can chop and change to dosage to meet your own needs.

(As we’re all biologically different, some people respond better to a lower dose, while others will be more suited to a higher dose.)

And since it’s a pure powder, there are no dodgy chemicals, additives, or preservatives you need to be cautious of.

Just 100% Kava goodness.

Also, a quick skim through the reviews shows that lots of people feel relaxed after taking this supplement,

Potential Drawbacks

Some people have reported a muddy taste.

Check price and read more reviews of Kava Kalm Micronized Kava Powder on Amazon.

Valerian Root vs Kava: The Verdict

Well, I’m very grateful that you’ve stuck to the end of this Valerian Root vs Kava breakdown with me.

And if I’ve done my job properly, you’ll know exactly which one to go for.

If not? Then here’s what I’d recommend as a high-level guide:

You might prefer Valerian Root if:

  • You want the cheaper option
  • You’re experiencing menopause symptoms

You might prefer Kava if:

  • You want to boost your mental function

Hope this helped!