“ Brand: Holland and Barrett / Form: Capsules / Dosage Form: Capsules „
- Why I Bought -
A few months ago I was browsing my local branch of Holland and Barrett when I spotted a table of reduced items. One of the products on the table was a bottle of Valerian capsules reduced to the bargain price of £3, originally £9.99. The reason they were reduced was that they had only a few weeks left before the expiry date. However, as the bottle contains 30 capsules and the directions state to take between 1-3 daily, I reasoned that I could finish the bottle before the date anyway. I knew a little about the use of the Valerian herb to combat stress and aid sleep. I don't suffer badly with anxiety or insomnia but I do get stressed quite easily and will on occasions have a restless night. I decided it would be interesting to see if I noticed any results from taking the recommended 1-3 capsules daily until the bottle ran out.
- The Packaging -
The capsule bottle is the typical Holland and Barrett design of transparent plastic, in this case green, with a flip top lid. The bottle was packaged inside a yellow and green box. As the box displayed identical information to the bottle I binned it. The label on the bottle states that Valerian is 'a traditional herbal medicinal product used for the temporary relief of symptoms of mild anxiety and to aid sleep'. The active ingredient is dry Valerian root extract, 337mg per capsule. The only other ingredient is an extraction solvent. The fact that it is an extract simply means that the beneficial part of the herb has been extracted so that you aren't consuming any unnecessary or harmful parts. The dosage for adults and the elderly is: one capsule three times daily for mild anxiety or one capsule 30 minutes to one hour before bedtime with an earlier dose during the evening if necessary when using it to aid sleep. The label states that the capsules should be taken continuously for 2-4 weeks in order to see results. Finally we are given a list of warnings which are what you would expect really; do not take the capsules if you are:
Pregnant or breastfeeding
Allergic to Valerian
Already taking medication for sleep or anxiety
- A Little More Information -
Valerian is a nutritional supplement rather than an approved drug. This means that those selling the capsules can't make any bold claims about how it will cure anxiety and make you sleep like a baby. They can simply say that traditionally it has been used for this purpose and it may help relieve the symptoms of anxiety and aid sleep. Research suggests it may have some benefits for these complaints and there are no side effects to taking it. Basically there is no evidence but it may help and won't cause any ill effects.
- Taking the Capsules -
When I first opened the flip top lid of the bottle I was hit by what I can only describe as a stench! They really do smell quite unpleasant, a very pungent herbal smell. The first thought that popped into my head was that you can buy Valerian tea. Well if it smells/tastes anything like these then count me out! The capsules are light and of an average capsule size. You can see a greyish powder inside. So anyway I decided to bite the bullet and swallow one of these capsules half an hour before bedtime as instructed. It was reasonably easy to swallow. I brushed my teeth as usual before bed but I would certainly brush my teeth after taking one of these, even in the day. It definitely wouldn't be a pleasant smell on your breath! I went to bed and pondered whether I would sleep well.
- The Results -
Well I slept well. Great result I thought, but then I remembered that I usually sleep well, maybe having a restless night once a week, so it was actually rather hard to know if there had been any result at all. Besides it could be up to four weeks before seeing any results anyway. So I continued to take the capsules. In fact I took them for exactly four weeks: one per night half an hour before bedtime. On two occasions I took one additional capsule during the day when I was feeling a little stressed (I must confess one of these stressful events was watching an episode of Coronation Street - the Kirsty and Tyrone situation made me stressed what can I say!).
So what is the verdict? Well I can't say I noticed any results when taking the capsule for anxiety. I calmed down after a while which I usually would naturally. When it came to restless nights I probably had two or three in the 28 day period, perhaps marginally better than normal but it is hard to say as I don't usually monitor how many I have. Needless to say I'm not exactly overwhelmed by the results. However, I'm not too disappointed as generally I sleep fine. It is just those nights every so often when I can't seem to drop off or once I do I wake several times in the night. It is annoying but at least it doesn't happen every night.
- Price and Availability -
These capsules are available from Holland and Barrett stores and their website priced at £9.99 for 30 capsules. I think this is reasonable as you can get a decent trial out of this and then decide whether it works for you and if it is worth repurchasing.
- Would I Recommend? -
I won't be purchasing these again but that does not mean I wouldn't recommend them. I honestly think you don't have much to lose in giving these a go (£9.99 to be precise). They are quite easy to swallow, you don't have to take too many and there are no negative side effects, something you may well get with regular medication for sleep and anxiety. The only downsides are that for me the results were minimal at best and I simply can't abide the smell.