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Valerian quick review
Botanical description: a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers.
Active constituents: volatile oil, valepotriates, glycosides, alkaloids, choline, tanins, resins, furanofuran lignans, and free amino acids such as g-aminobutyric acid (GABA), tyrosine, arginine, and glutamine.
Health benefits: acts as a pain reliever, antispasmodic, sedative, and carminative; effective for dealing with temporary feelings of anxiety, nervousness or insomnia.

Dosage: the usual dosage of valerian root extract for treatment of insomnia ranges from 300 to 600 mg.
Side effects: headache, muscle spasm, heart palpitations, dizziness, gastric distress, sleeplessness, and confusion.
 
Valerian Root by Vitabase
Valerian acts as a natural tranquilizer and can soothe anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia and headaches. Studies have shown that valerian can reduce the amount of time it takes to fall asleep and it helps improve the quality of sleep. An added benefit is that valerian does not have the side effects found in prescription sleep aids like drowsiness the next day. Click here for more information.
 

Valerian


Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers. Valerian is a perennial plant that grows to 3 feet and prefers full sun, average to rich well-drained soil and its roots are harvested for medicinal use in the fall of their second year. Valerian has divided leaves and clusters of small white or pink flowers. It has a massive root system and short rhizomes. The roots are a hairy, spindly mass and are collected in the autumn from two-year-old plants. The name valerian is popularly used for plants of the genus Valeriana and also for other related plants that are cultivated in flower gardens or borders for the numerous small and fragrant blossoms. Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (but it is not related to Heliotrope, Heliotropum) and all-heal.
 

Active constituents of valerian


Valerian's rhizome and root are the medicinal part of this herb. Valerian contains volatile oil, valepotriates, glycosides, alkaloids, choline, tanins, resins, furanofuran lignans, and free amino acids such as g-aminobutyric acid (GABA), tyrosine, arginine, and glutamine. The volatile oils from valerian roots contain the compound bornyl acetate and the sesquiterpene derivatives valerenic acid, valeranone and valerenal. Sesquiterpenoids are also available and include a kessyl alcohol, kessanol, cyclokessyl acetate, kessyl glycol, kessyl glycol diacetate, kanokonol, and kessane. In addition to the above major components, various sugars, amino acids and free fatty acids have been isolated from valerian roots.
 

Medicinal uses and health benefits of valerian


Valerian acts as a pain reliever, antispasmodic, sedative, and carminative. As a mild tranquilizer and sleep aid, valerian may be an
effective herb for dealing with temporary feelings of anxiety, nervousness or insomnia. Valerian relaxes, treats insomnia, nervous tension and pain, strengthens heart, lower blood pressure, IBS, menstrual cramps and muscle spasms. Taking valerian by mouth may reduce the time it takes for people to fall asleep and may improve sleep quality. Valerian shortens the amount of time it takes to fall asleep as well as improve the quality of sleep that results, by blocking some nerve impulses from reaching the brain. In the brain, valerian may bind to receptors for a nerve chemical called GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid). Valerian is a popular treatment alternative to benzodiazepines and other commonly prescribed medications for sleep problems because it is considered to be both safe and gentle. Valerian has been found to strengthen the heart and can sometimes reduce high blood pressure, if it is caused by stress and anxiety. Valerian extracts have been widely used to treat epilepsy due to their putative anticonvulsant activity. Valerian preparations have long been used to treat a wide variety of gastrointestinal disorders such as diarrhea, colic, stomach cramps, and irritable bowel. Valerian is an emenogogue, it promotes menstruation. It can be used for problems with the female menstrual cycle, particularly scanty periods.
 

Dosage and administration of valerian


The usual dosage of valerian root extract for treatment of insomnia ranges from 300 to 600 mg. For relief of sedation or stress reduction, typical doses of valerian extract (aqueous or aqueous-ethanol extract) range from 100 to 600 milligrams taken by mouth before or after stressful events.
 

Side effects, precautions, interactions


Valerian has been classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) for food use in the United States. Side effects from valerian are rare but can include headache, muscle spasm, heart palpitations, dizziness, gastric distress, sleeplessness, and confusion. Large doses are known to cause withdrawal symptoms when stopped and those with liver disease are advised not to use valerian. Do not take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Valerian should not be used in large doses or for an extended period. People should not take it continuously for more than two to three weeks.