Also known as
Valeriana officinalis. Common Valerian, European Valerian, Valeriana and Allheal.
Valerian is a perennial plant, native to Europe and parts of Asia. It grows in meadows and woodlands within moist, temperate climates and has since been naturalized in North America. The plant grows up to two meters high and produces small clusters of white or pink flowers. The flowers have a sweet, pleasant scent, in distinct contrast to the medicinal roots of the plant. The root system consists of a vertical rhizome and an abundance of smaller rootlets which are harvested and dried at temperatures less than 105 degrees Fahrenheit.
The roots have a pungent odor, considered unpleasant by many and sometimes compared to the smell of sweaty socks. Cats are highly attracted to the scent in the same way that they are catnip, having a tendency to bite the root and rub against it. The odor is also attractive to rats, as legend has it that the Pied Piper of Hamelin used valerian to attract the rats when luring them out of town.
Acetic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-ionone, calcium, caffeic acid, magnesium, manganese, quercitin, valeric acid.
Teas, tinctures and capsules. Many people find the taste unpleasant and prefer to take it as a capsule or extract.
Valerian root has been used medicinally for over 2000 years, described as early as 40 AD by the Greek physician Dioscorides. When prepared as a tea, it is slightly sweet and spicy with a touch of bitterness, making it palatable to some, but not all individuals. It is traditionally used to support healthy sleep and relaxation, though clinical trials regarding its efficacy have shown mixed results. When combined with hops, valerian root has been approved by the German Commission E to support healthy sleep.
If you use valerian for several months and suddenly stop using it, you may experience withdrawal symptoms such as headache, insomnia, racing heart, and general grouchiness, although rare. Reduce dosage of a period of about a week if you wish to discontinue using the herb suddenly.
For educational purposes only This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.