According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, restless leg syndrome is characterized by localized sensations of throbbing, pulling or a nagging urge to move your legs (Source). If you suffer from RLS, the only time you may experience relief from these symptoms is to move your legs back-and-forth (Source).
The treatment options for restless leg syndrome typically involve reducing the nerve activity within this portion of your body. While prescription medications have not shown great promise in providing relief, natural proponents claim certain herbs and supplements may naturally reduce the severity and duration of RLS symptoms. Before starting any herbal remedy, talk with your doctor to ensure its safety.
Evidence of valerian as a medicine dates back to the second century, and while researchers are unsure as to exactly how this herb works it is believed it increases the production and release of the chemical GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) (Source).
This brain chemical is believed by researchers to promote sleep while reducing anxiety sensations in a similar manner as benzodiazepines or anti-anxiety medications (Source).
According to the Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine journal, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing discovered that participants who took 800 milligrams of valerian root for a period of eight weeks experienced a significant decrease in RLS symptoms (Source).
While the exact cause of restless leg syndrome is unknown by researchers, scientists at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute believe that the root cause of this condition is due to a brain iron deficiency or your body unable to properly utilize this compound (Source).
One of the primary brain roles of iron is to support the production of dopamine, which is a chemical responsible for controlling movement. Interestingly enough, research has found that even though some patients have normal iron levels in their brain, medical ailments such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis can inhibit the effectiveness of iron (Source).
To increase iron levels in your brain, consume iron-rich dietary foods such as spinach, lima beans, tofu or lentils (Source).
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke: Restless Legs Syndrome
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: What Causes Restless Legs Syndrome?
University of Maryland Medical Center: Valerian
Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine: Does Valerian Improve Sleepiness…
National Heart Lung and Blood Institute: Causes of Restless Legs Syndrome
American Red Cross: Iron Rich Foods