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Price: $7.99 Walgreens and Walgreens.com

I suffer from social-anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and insomnia. That basically means that I get anxiety attacks when preparing for social, face to face, or phone to phone contact with others and I also get panic attacks when life becomes too stressful. My chest feels like an elephant is sitting on it and as the attack progresses, the pain intensifies. Meditation helps a little and breathing exercises help even less. The only thing I’ve found that actually stops the attack and prevents new ones is medication. Specifically Lexapro and Xanax combined.

Insomnia happens to me several times a week due mostly to stress and worry.

As with most Americans, my family was without health insurance for a couple of years so I had to find other ways to combat my anxiety and insomnia. I took to the internet and Google’d over-the-counter medicines that would do what my Rx meds did for me in the past.

Valerian Root came up a lot with claims that it not only treats insomnia, but can also be used to battle anxiety. User reviews were overall positive and the price for this herbal medicine seemed doable with our small budget.

Pros: It works! It’s not as strong as Rx, obviously, but it does the job. While it can stop a small panic attack its best trait is allowing me a good night’s sleep.

Cons: It smells like excrement. That’s the nicest way I can describe it. I bought it in capsule form thinking I wouldn’t be subjected to the unique scent everyone online warned me about. It didn’t help. You can smell it through the bottle. That causes my already sensitive gag reflex to work overtime when I try taking the pills. That leads me to another problem with Valerian Root; the pills are huge. What’s affectionately called “horse pills”. So be aware of these things before you run out to buy them.

How Does It Feel: Valerian Root when taken by the directions on the bottle soothes me and makes me feel calm. It doesn’t have that heavy, dreamlike feeling that Xanax is known for. It’s a lot milder. For the insomnia portion of the herb, it lulls me to sleep. Again, it’s not as strong as over the counter sleeping aids. I do notice my dreams become more vibrant and structured when I’m on Valerian Root. I have never woken up groggy like many sleeping aids do. It’s mild but effective.

Overall, it’s a great alternative to prescription medications to combat insomnia and panic attacks. The Pros outweigh the Cons and even though we now have medical insurance, I have yet to go to the doctor for my usual prescriptions now that I’ve discovered Valerian Root.

Side Note: I purchased mine from Walgreens pharmacy. They happened to have a Buy One, Get One Free sale on them so I was able to get 2 bottles (the very brand on the image above) which has lasted me over a year. I have two more pills left so it’s time for me to re-up. You can also purchase them from CVS, Walmart, Target, and many online stores. If I have to recommend a great online store, it will always be Amazon. It has competitive pricing and a lot of vendors to choose from.