Valeriana officinalis, Centranthus ruber. Family: Valerianaceae
all-heal, amantilla, carpon's tail, heliotrope, setewale, setwall, vandal root
Valerian is a perennial plant. It has pink flowers. It grows in North America and
Europe. The medicinal part is the fresh underground malodorous roots. It’s carefully
dried below 40 degrees Celsius.
Valerian root contains two categories of compounds. The both have sedative properties.
These compounds include sesquiterpenes (valerenic acid) and iridoids triesters (valepotriates).
It’s widely used to produce a sedative effect during periods of agitation. It’s also
used to make a stimulant effect in extreme fatigue. Valerian root is also said to
lower blood pressure and relax muscles.
Medically valid uses
Valerian root has no known positive effect on any health condition.
Some studies suggest that valerian may help treat insomnia. But other studies haven’t
confirmed this. There isn’t enough evidence to know if valerian is effective for any
other health issues.
Please note that this section reports on claims that have not yet been substantiated
through scientific studies.
Valerian may act as a sedative. This calms the nervous system and reduces stress and
nervousness. It may also as a hypnotic. This induces a deep state of sleep. It’s also
said to act as an anti-spasmodic. This reduces muscle spasms or cramps in the muscles.
It may also as a hypotensive agent. This lowers blood pressure. It’s also used as
a carminative. This is an herbal remedy. It’s rich in volatile oils and stimulates
the digestive system to work well.
Valerian may also be used to reduce tension, anxiety, stress, over-excitability, and
hysterical states. It’s also used to treat insomnia, menstrual pain, intestinal colic,
rheumatic pain, and migraine pain.
Valerian comes in the form of tea, tinctures, capsules, and liquid extracts. Note
that it’s light sensitive. You should store it in a light-resistant container. Keep
it in a dark area.
Side effects, toxicity, and interactions
Valerian has a very strong smell that many people don’t like. Cats are attracted to
valerian because it has a compound similar to catnip.
Don’t use valerian to treat infants. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should
talk to their healthcare providers before taking any herbal medicines.
You shouldn’t use valerian with other sedatives.
There are no known food or drug interactions with valerian.