Valeriana is one of the most popular and sought after remedies for help with sleep, sedation and menstruation. 250 species of Valeriana suggest the plant types can provide different effects hence some discrepancy in tests. Valeriana is an effective solution for both the insomniac and the patient requiring a state of ease. Despite its clear medicinal properties many conclude Valariana as being a weed and invasive species in the garden. Up to about 5 feet in height, with strongly scented white or pink flowers that have the ability to attract many a flying insect including moths and butterflys. The feline cat is particularly intrigued by the Valeriana and is a known attraction for the feline specie. In general the medicinal effect comes from the dried root and the medicinal oil that can be derived. The oil is a yellowy green to browny yellow colour and combines a yeasty odor. Towards the end of the 14th centuary Valeriana was a staple in the north of England and into Scotland, where legend has it that it was included as a staple in all stews and broths as a means to ensure good health. In world war 2 it was used by the English to alleviate stress in soldiers. The history of Valeriana goes back as far as both Athens and Greece, as it grows naturally in both Asia and Europe but now also relocated to North America. Both Hipprocrates and Galen have recommendations for insomnia. It is often mixed with liquorice and aniseed hops, Kava, St. John’s Wort, and/or lemon balm. *Research may though suggest that Valeriana is only effective for the insomniac rather than the general good sleeper. The flowers have also been used to create perfume in times gone by. The name Valeriana is based on the latin for strong and healthy.
Effects on GABA are one potential interaction responsible for Valeriana’s therepuetic and relaxing properties. Valeriana appears to be able to regulate GABA by preventing it’s breakdown in the brain and thus elevating levels of calm, the enzyme valerenic acid appears to be responsible for preventing the breakdown of GABA. This is similar to the way valium works. The happy hormone Serotonin also appears to be given a boost. Additionally research shows a lessened activity in the amygdale part of the brain which is associated with fear, stress and anxiety. Isovaleric acid may be effective at treating muscle spasms and epilepsy. Valeriana capensis is particularly popular in Africa for epilepsy.
Valeriana Dosage & How to take
- INSOMNIA Dried Root Powder – 0.4-0.9 grams 30-40 minutes before bed.
- INSOMNIA Tea 2-3 grams dried root steeped for 10-15 minutes
- ANXIETY Dried Root Powder – 0.120-0.240 grams 2-3 times daily.
Valeriana Chemical Composition
Valeriana is a particularly interesting plant with over 250 species each generating it’s own natural chemical signature with widely varying medical uses. Which are additionally effected by region, location, harvest time and growing method and storage.
- valerenic acid – essential oils *GABA protection. 0.8-1% in most root.
- valenol – essential oils
- valepotriates – essential oils *stress management/sedative
- isovaleric acid *good for elipesy
- hesperidin (antioxidants)
- linarin (antioxidants)
- tetrahydroxy-methoxy-diisoprenyl-isoflavone (DPI).
- actinidine – alkaloids
- chatinine – alkaloids
- shyanthine – alkaloids
- valerianine – alkaloids
- valerine – alkaloids
Valeriana Side Effects & Overdose
- Pregnant women and children under 3 have not been formerly evaluated for safety concerns.
- Should not be mixed with significant amounts of alcohol or other tranquilizing type drugs or herbs.
- Studies on sleep suggest a positive effect without side effect, especially effective for the insomniac.
- Too much Valeriana appears to have the opposite effect of increasing anxiety rather than decreasing it. In addition too much can stop you sleeping.
- Rare cases of headache and stomach problems have been reported.
- There appears to be no issues with dependency or addiction.
Valeriana Medicinal Uses
- Muscle contractions
- Restless legs syndrome
- General Pain
- Stress Management
- Cognitive decline
- Stomach cramps
- Cardiovascular health
Valeriana Notable Related Species
- Valeriana officinalis (Most common and researched plant)
- Valeriana dioica
- Marsh Valerian
- Valeriana milkanii
- Valeriana sambucifolia
- Valeriana celtica
- Valeriana sitchensi
- Valeriana edulis
- Valeriana chinensis var
- Valeriana wallichi
- Valeriana fauriei
- Valeriana capensis
Valeriana Common names
- Natures Valium
- Valerian Root