Valerian Root: Pain Relief and Sleep Aid?

I think I stumbled onto something to help with the pain in may lower jaw from the Trigeminal Neuralgia.  I was watching a series on youtube about herbal medicine yesterday, and one of the episodes was on energy and sleep.  They suggested Valerian for sleep.  Take a little and add a little as you attempt to go to sleep.  I used a tincture by the manufactures “Simple Truth” which has alcohol as the preservative.  I had already taken my pain medicine but was still too uncomfortable to go to sleep so I took some valerian.  Waited 10 min.  Then some more.  Waited.  Then some more.  After taking about 4 droppers of the tincture I felt so relaxed I went to sleep.

The show said that Valerian only works for about 4 hours, and I woke up in the middle of the night.  The show suggested taking it again to get back to sleep.  After taking my pain meds again, I took about three droppers of the tincture and went back to sleep.

I woke this morning with less pain in my lower back tooth than I had felt in a few days.  That lower, back, right tooth has been giving me the worst pain lately, and I have had it checked by the dentist already.  I wondered if the Valerian Root tincture in my mouth helped relieve some of the pain.  I tried it this morning and it seems to help.  At the very least the Valerian relieves some of the tension in my jaw muscles and relaxes them.  And the back, lower, right tooth doesn’t have as sharp a pain when my top teeth touch it.

This is simply some results from my experiment today.  I would be interested in hearing from anyone else who has tried Valerian Root for pain relief.

 

Trigeminal Neuralgia and Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia

Guess what I have.  How did you know?  Maybe the title gave it away!

Trigeminal Neuralgia is a big fancy word for nerve pain on the side of your face.  This pain can include teeth, sinuses, ear, jaw, eye, and head.  The main nerve feeding one side of your face, running through your temple area, is called the Trigeminal nerve, which branches into an upper, middle, and lower nerve.  Neuralgia is a word used to say “pain”.

Glossopharyngeal Neuralgia is the term used to describe pain on one side of the throat and the back of the tongue.

I’m writing about this because recently this has been a problem for me.

I have been to the dentist three times to check different teeth (the pain migrates), and to the doctor twice to try to rule out sinus infection and ear infection.  It was none of those. I will be scheduling something with the neurologist soon.  I also went to a lyme literate nurse practitioner to look into chronic Lyme disease.  I have that too, and I think that is contributing to my nerve pain.  I have also discovered that stress or unhappy thoughts trigger the pain!

I am on a rotation of painkillers constantly to keep the pain under control.  I go from Acetaminophen to Naproxen sodium to Ibuprofen.  Plus, I must rest frequently to avoid triggering the pain, and also avoid any unpleasant thoughts or tasks.  Not easy to live this way because there are typically things necessary in life that are not pleasant to deal with.

I am learning a new protocol for coping with the limitations and giving myself permission to rest and let go of any unnecessary stress.  Now that I understand what this is, my heart goes out to other sufferers.  I am exploring options, but some are not very attractive, such as cutting the nerve so the side of the face is numb.  Can you imagine always smiling like you are shot full of the dentist’s numbing agents!  Yikes!  One time the medicine at the dentist got up to my eye somehow, and I couldn’t shut it without help.  We taped it shut until the numbness wore off!

If anyone has something to share about this awful condition, please feel free to comment and share experiences or advise.  Thank you!

The Book “Why We Get Fat” by Gary Taubes, and Weight Loss

My daughter Melissa has introduced me to the Keto diet philosophy, so I am listening to the book she recommended, “Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It” by Gary Taubes on Audible.  Taubes presents exhaustive research and sites study after study to back up his claims.  I find this to be very helpful in convincing me that this diet could work for anyone.

Taubes gets into the nitty gritty of how insulin making us gain weight in chapter 11, and explains things very thoroughly!

The Keto diet reminds me of the Suzanne Sommers diet I tried years ago, which blew my mind because I could eat so much wonderful food and still lose weight.  One night I remember going out to dinner and I had a gorgeous large trout dripping with seasonings and butter, along with a double serving of roasted asparagus, buttered and seasoned to perfection.  I did not have the rolls, the salad or the salad dressing because there were carbohydrates and sugar there and I didn’t want to draw insulin into my blood which would simply take all that fat and store it in my cells.  Instead I ate the meat, veggies, and fats and lost a pound by the next morning.

The Keto diet is all about keeping the insulin in your blood low to keep your fat cells from storing fat so your body can release it instead to be used as fuel.  Low carbohydrate diets are not new, and Taubes cites quotes from ancient times where it was well known that carbohydrates and sugars, which trigger the insulin spike,  were the main culprits in the struggle against obesity.

I have a renewed interest in this type of diet since my daughters are excited about trying it and we are all three working the diet together, supporting each other with texts throughout the day, phone calls sometimes, showing what we each are eating (knowing I am going to have to show my meal to my diet partners makes a big difference in whether I stick to my goals or not)!

Melissa’s husband is trying the Keto diet too.  He has lost an amazing 9 pounds in two weeks without having to go hungry!

When we reach a milestone, we are going to celebrate with something special.  And at our family reunion this summer, we are going to have an awards ceremony for each of us and give prizes for our accomplishments in our weight loss goals!  We are having fun fantasizing about the flower wreaths we will crown each other with and just being recognized for our determination and accomplishment!

We are publicizing this awards ceremony to the family facebook page to invite others to join with us, share information and support, in this health crusade!

Fear and Weight Loss

When I was a newbie at Tracker School (see trackerschool.com) I wanted to go to the Scout class, which had the prerequisites of the week long Standard class, the week long Advanced Standard class, and the week long Advanced Tracking and Awareness class.  The scout class is also a week long class where during the day you learn techniques of the ancient Apache scouts, and by night your team is camouflaged and raiding other team’s camps till usually 2 or 3 am.  Most days there is a time in the afternoon where the students do exercises on a log over the swimming hole, walking the log, walking it blindfolded, jousting with out partner, and even blindfolded fighting to name a few.  For me, this sounded very exciting, but I was terrified of not being up to the physical element of the class.

Fear drove me to work very hard on getting in shape for the class.  I lost 25 lbs and was able to jog two miles without stopping.  Not too bad for a 47 year old mother of 9.

I was also afraid of the log work over the water, so I practiced walking on the narrow edges of 2 x 6 boards nailed to posts, both eyes open and blindfolded.  That preparation taught me a little of what to expect, and how to overcome my fear.  I ended up enjoying the log work more than anything else that week!

One of my teachers, Karl Direske, of Wilderness Fusion, told me, “There is only a fine line between fear and excitement.”  I can see that.  I was so excited to go to Scout class, but I was also afraid!

Sometimes the desire to do something can drive us to overcome our fear and accomplish something we really want to do.  In this case, I was afraid I would not be physically fit enough for the class.  My desire drove me to spend a couple years preparing both mentally and physically.  When I finally registered for the Scout class I was also registered for a Vision Quest class the week before, and an Ancient Scout class the week after.  One of the young men in my school, upon hearing my plan, thought three classes in a row would be too much for me and I vacillated about taking the three classes consecutively, but an older woman from the school said, “Go ahead and do it if you want to.  Don’t let him talk you out of it.  You’ll be fine.”  I did go ahead, and it was wonderful!  Not only did I succeed in the classes, I also lost another 25 lbs during those three weeks, and was finally down to my ideal weight!

Fear is the opposite of faith, but fear can be turned to faith through preparation.  That reminds me of a scripture I heard once . . . “If ye are prepared, ye shall not fear.”   Well, whaddaya know, ha ha!

The “Explorer” and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because it’s boring to repeat something I’ve already explored.  Instead I will try something new.  I am beginning to think that is why there are so many fad diets; people want to try something new rather than the tried and true.

I am an explorer.  I love to learn new things, and once I’ve learned, I want to move on to something else.  To stay with the same old thing would be like torture.  Some of the things I’ve explored are public school, college, marriage, motherhood, divorce, another marriage, art school, water color painting, oil painting, acrylic painting, ceramics, jewelry making, printmaking, drawing, sewing, quilt making, drying and arranging flowers, herbal remedies, holistic medicine, wild edible and medicinal plants, survival school, philosophy, spirituality, friction fire, building structures like: log and cob, traditional stick frame, barns, art studio, shed, gazebo, remodeling, decorating, accounting, gardening, to name some.  These attracted my attention and I explored them with passion for periods of time.  I have loved learning and doing each of these things and I still dabble in all of them, but if I thought I would have to do any one thing on a daily basis I panic!  I can’t do that, I’m too restless and curious to stick with one thing.

The diets I have tried that work for me are: counting calories, food combining, the “don’t eat anything after 5 pm except grapefruit” diet, the Suzanne Somers diet which is also based on food combining, the pH balancing diet, the blood type diet, to name some.

Now, I can start using any one of these diets, which I know work, but sticking to them is a real challenge because I have already used them.  It’s boring to repeat a diet because the learning has been done.

I have been trying to develop something new.  I would like to be so in tune with my body that I can sense what I want to eat that is good for me and supports me becoming my ideal weight for health and happiness.  Remembering to check in with myself deeply, and asking the Sacred Question about what I would benefit most from eating, is where I slip up.  Changing my habits can be hard, but doable if I am curious enough.  I have to want it bad enough to make it happen.

I have to ask myself, “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen?  Am I willing to do what it takes?”  I have to be still and listen to the answers emerge from the stillness.  I can ask more than once and peel back the answers, layer by layer, all contributing to my understanding.  With these answers I will know how to proceed.  I will have the power to move forward and accomplish — I will also have the power to let it go and not pursue it.  The choice is mine and the way is shown by the answers to those Sacred Questions: “Do I want it bad enough?  What do I need to do to make it happen,” and finally, “Am I willing to do what it takes?”

These questions can be used for anything we might want to pursue in life.  I spent about 10 years going to classes at Tracker School to learn to trust myself.  By asking the Sacred Questions I learned I have the answers within me, I just had to learn to uncover them and trust myself.

The "Explorer" and Weight Loss

I have successfully used many different diets, but I never want to use the same one twice because Continue reading “The "Explorer" and Weight Loss”

Sleep, Your Schedule, and Weight Loss

Fatigue is one of the biggest triggers to eating food that is not on my diet.   When I am tired I eat to try to bring my energy level up.  This usually does not work and I end up taking a nap after I’ve eaten.  Why not just take the nap and skip the calories?  I’m learning to do just that . . . unless, of course, I don’t have time, then my diet goes out the window, and once I start sliding down that slippery slope, reining myself back in can be almost impossible (I might as well have some ice cream too since I already blew it).

Why do I not have time to rest when I need to?  Because, like most of you, my time is not always my own.  I have teenagers whom I chauffeur around (willingly), I have errands to run, I have projects.  I do my best to keep my time commitments to a minimum because my anxiety levels demand it.  Even so, there are times when things sort of pile up and I abandon my diet in favor of quick pick me ups I can get while I’m out and about.

My issue with getting enough sleep would be easier if I didn’t have insomnia at night.  I don’t want to go to sleep.  I don’t want to dream because my dreams are so often frustration dreams.  I would rather be doing something I am interested in doing.  Plus, sleep would be easier if I didn’t become anxious at night when I know I’m scheduled to get up early to take my daughter to school, or scheduled to do anything before noon.  Then anxiety will keep me awake and just make things worse.  I finally realized that trying to go to sleep when I feel anxious just doesn’t work.  In addition, thanks to my nerve issues, I have been needing at least 12 hours of sleep every night to feel good and awake.   So instead of stressing about not getting enough sleep, I find I’m better off getting up and doing something I want to do rather than laying there worrying about not getting to sleep on time.  Then, when I come home from taking my daughter to school, I go back to sleep.

I do take medicine to help me sleep, which only works when I’m not stressed.  I also listen to podcasts to get my mind to stop and relax.  Or I listen to meditation music. some of which is very helpful too.  Still, getting to sleep is sometimes a struggle.

I obviously have not solved my sleep issues yet, or my scheduling challenges . . . I”m still working on finding the solutions.  Of course, there are always plenty of obstacles and excuses for not losing the extra pounds I’m carrying around. However, I will declare loudly, GETTING ENOUGH REST IS ESSENTIAL TO MY BEING ABLE TO STICK TO MY DIET!  I’m still working on it.  I hope you are all succeeding in your goals, and weight loss if that is one of your goals!  Happiness and health to you all.