Compiled by: Katarina Subotich

Common name: Valerian.

Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis.

Family: Valerianaceae.

Valerian is perennial, flowering plant native to Europe and some parts of Asia.  It grows in marshes and dump conditions, but it can be found in dry and elevated areas (it is than considered medicinally stronger). The white and pink flowering heads have sweet scent, and therefore were extracted for the perfumes during XVI century.

Valerian has been used as a medicine since ancient Greece and Rome. The medicinal parts of this herb are roots and rhizomes which are unearthed in the late fall. Its most known constituents are volatile oils, valerianic acid, isovalerianic acid, borneol, pinene.  Due to high content of volatile oils, one should not prepare valerian tea using method of decoction (usually applied when making tea of roots, barks, seeds), but rather steeping in the boiled water.

Valerian is well known as sedative, antispasmodic  and emmenagogue. For centuries it has been used for insomnia and nervous tension.  It has a warming and stimulating effect on the body, so it is helpful to nervous and irritable individuals that suffer from deficiencies and poor circulation (particularly circulation to brain and nervous centers). This plant is also hypotensive and has its place in treatment of high blood pressure and stress-related heart problems. Due to its antispasmodic properties, it is used often in cases of menstrual cramps.

Products containing valerian: Calming Herbs.