Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia. It grows to up to four feet high and has trumpet-shaped flowers. The roots are used medicinally. Although the fresh root is relatively odorless, the dried root has a strong odor that many find unpleasant. Valerian is believed to have been used since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. It was used as a folk remedy for a variety of conditions such as sleeping problems, digestive complaints, nervousness, trembling, tension headaches and heart palpitations. Valerian's popularity waned with the introduction of prescription sleep medication. There is no consensus on the active constituents of valerian. It's possible that valerian's activity may result from a combination of compounds rather than any one. Valerian appears to increase the body's available supply of the neurotransmitter gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), possibly by increasing its production, decreasing its absorption or slowing its breakdown.
Origin: Australian grown, in Tasmania
Ingredients: Valeriana officinalis
It grows to 1.8 m high with grooved, hollow flower stems bearing small white or pink flowers in terminal inflorescences. The leaves are pinnate with lanceolate leaflets. The plant forms a dense crown from which fine, matted, strongly aromatic roots grow.
Part used: Root.
Harvest: In late autumn to Winter when the tops have died down.
Active Constituents: Volatile oil (including valerianic acid, borneol, pinene, camphene and various sesquiterpenes), volatile alkaloids (chatinine, valerianine, skythantine), iridoids (valepotriates), resins and gums.
Energetics: Pungent, heating.
Actions: Anxiolytic, antispasmodic, mild sedative, hypnotic, hypotensive, carminative, diuretic.
Uses: Is one of the best relaxing nervines available being very useful for stress and anxiety, irritability, panic attacks, insomnia and depression. As an antispasmodic it is useful in relieving cramps, intestinal colic, period pain, tension headaches and migraines. Valerian can be used for hypertension and rheumatic pain.
Dosage: Decoction – pour one cup of boiling water onto one teaspoon of dried herb and boil for ten minutes. Drink up to one cup three times daily. Fluid Extract (1:2) – 15—40ml/week.