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Biological Name: Valeriana officianalisvalerian

Other Names: Valerian, English valerian, phu, all-heal, German valerian, Garden valerian, great wild valerian, American English valerian, Vermont valerian, setwall, vandal root

Elements Applied: Root is the core element applied in the medical preparations.

Active Components: Valerian is rich in components of various types, but its main ability is linked to vital oils, which are known to produce sedative effect that makes this herb extremely popular. The receptors which are responsible for carrying anxiety signals are exposed to valerian action. As a result the nervous system gets stable and a person gets calm.

History: In ancient Greece valerian was almost a panacea, being applied to a wide range of conditions, starting from digestive system abnormalities, liver disorder and nausea and ending with urinary organs diseases. Valerian has been popular as a sedative remedy for a long time, used as an aid for insomnia and different types of nervous disorders. Until the eighteenth century the herb was applied as a unique CNS sedative.

In Europe valerian has gained great popularity and its extract is applied in a set of sedative medicines, offered by drugstores. The herb is in growing awareness across the world as well, as it’s considered one of the most effective and safe medicines for sleeplessness and anxiety. Medical professionals and folk doctors has widely used the plant in Ayurvedic medicines (in India) and in Chinese medical preparations. The USA had valerian as a number one sedative and insomnia medicine but after WWII its popularity has decreased due to chemical drug appearance.

Used For: The main purpose for which valerian is applied is controlling blood tension and fighting insomnia. It’s also used to abolish convulsions in epilepsy.

According to scientific researches valerian is detected to provide good sleep without any weakness in the morning. In several studies the herb was analyzed in comparison with benzodiazepines, like Valium. Valerian is surely milder and less aggressive in its effect than Valium is, but nevertheless it does not cause any addiction and is completely void of side effects like morning weakness. Moreover, valerian can’t be considerably affected by the intake of alcohol, in comparison with Valium. Importantly, valerian poses no threat to a fetus in the womb, unlike synthetic medicines which can put it under direct danger and threat its life and development.

According to researches conducted on animals it has been revealed that valerian is potent of reducing high arterial tension. Additionally, it is known to produce a mild effect in tumors, even those of cancer origin. The remedy is also used to impede convulsions and thus applied as part of epilepsy treatment.

Valerian was also practised as a stimulative remedy, used to relieve spasms and pains, regulate menstrual cycle, and energize the body in total. Produces a mild effect on the nervous system. The plant is also applied to decrease fever, eliminate the gravels from the bladder. If warmed up and taken in liquid form provokes monthlies. When applied as a digestive remedy, produces a positive effect on stomach disorders like ulcer, and eliminates meteorism. Also applied locally to treat sores and blisters. However, in this case oral application is additionally required.

Additional Info: Valerian is found in all European regions, but people grow it up specially for medicinal purposes. The roots, commonly applied in medicine, have a cylinder form. The stem, growing directly from the root can reach 5 feet high. It’s characterized by small flowers of white and pink color which appear in spring and blossom for a long period until summer ends. In dry form valerian is characterized by specific smell similar to sweaty socks.

Preparation and intake: The majority of insomnia sufferers use a dose of 400 mg in pills or capsules, one hour before they are going to bed. If infused on alcohol valerian is taken in a dose of 5 ml, one hour before going to bed. Commonly mixed with hops, lemon balm, scullcap, and passion flower.

For children from the age range of 6 to 12 half a dose is commonly sufficient.

Safety: Valerian is scientifically proven to be completely safe for one’s health. Still, several conditions should be followed when using it. Exercise care when operating devices or driving a car. Additionally, it’s not recommended to mix valerian with alcoholic drinks or substances as it can produce a double effect. It’s safe to say that valerian has not been reported to have a strong interaction with alcohol, as opposite to Valium, but additional care should nevertheless be exercised.  This is due to the fact that any sedative is potent of interacting with alcohol to a more or less degree.

There is no evidence concerning the fact of valerian interaction with other medicines, still when the drug was tested on animals it increased the action imposed by benzodiazepines and phenobarbital. The plant is nevertheless used to reduce the withdrawal signs which appear after quitting benzodiazepine and tablets for insomnia, but only if taken under control of a health-care provider.

Valerian is safe to use and is widely applied by pregnant and nursing women. The period of valerian application on a daily basis should be restricted to half a year. Considerable amounts of tea taken for a period of 3 weeks can lead to poisoning. The rhizome should not be boiled.

Valerian overdose can lead to problems with vision, nausea, anxiety, dizziness, and headaches. It may also result in morning weakness.

As Food and Drug Administration states valerian poses no threat to your health. However, a consultation with your health-care provider is recommended before taking it. If you feel any negative impact on your health and well-being, quit using it.