Valerian Valeriana officinalis

Valeriana officinalis
Valerian root and leaves
  • Common Names
  • Valerian root
  • Botanical Name
  • Valeriana officinalis
  • Family

Medicinal Uses & Benefits of Valerian Root

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How to Use: Valerian

Valerian is without doubt the most widely recognized herbal sedative. It is used by herbalists for insomnia, nervous anxiety and to help the body relax in the presence of pain. Although valerian is potent, and has an effect similar to drugs like Valium,85 it is neither habit-forming nor addictive. Valerian puts you to sleep but doesn't cause a morning hangover, interact with alcohol, or lead to addiction. Research shows that extracts of the root not only help you fall asleep faster but also improve sleep quality. Valerian has a tonic effect on the heart when used in combination with hawthorn. 86. Valerian herb can also calm coughs when used in combination with mullein, and lemon balm. 87Valerian relaxes smooth muscles making it an idea remedy for cramps. 88

Preparation Methods & Dosage :Valerian can be made into tea, taken in capsules, or used as an extract.

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Valerian Remedies

Valerian Side Effects: Generally considered safe, large amounts can cause stomach upsets. In about 5 percent of the population, valerian acts as a stimulant, be aware of this effect if you are new to the herb.

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Plant Description

An attractive fern-like plant with fragrant pinkish flowers, the roots which hold the medicinal value are earthy , strong and pungent. There are several native species throughout North America, with size being the primary difference among them. The domestic plant can reach five feet in height and features lance-shaped leaves that get progressively smaller at the top. Flowers are borne in branched clusters of small white to pink blossoms. Once you become familiar with this plant, identification is as easy as scratching a root to release the unmistakable odor.

Regional Traditions :European *

How to Grow Valerian

Valerian is easy to grow from seed, you can sow directly into warm garden soil, or transplant in early summer. Sun or shade, moist soil. The plant can reach heights of 5 feet or more with plenty of sun and water. The whole plant is fragrant, the leaves smell lightly of cinnamon and vanilla, the root has its own musty, potent aroma.

books citedWorks Cited
  1. 85. White Linda B., M.D. "The Herbal Drugstore" (2003): Its active ingredients, valepotriates, blind to benzodiazepine receptor sites in the brain- a mechanism similar to drugs like Valium. The herb, however, seems to be more beneficial to the nervous system, and does not cause dependence or tolerance.
  2. 86.Stengler,Mark. "The Natural Physician's Healing Therapies"(2001)
  3. 87. Martin, Deborah J. "A Green Witch's Formulary" (2011) pp39
  4. 88. Gladstar, Rosemary "Herbal Healing for Women"