Valeriana officinalis – Valerian

Valeriana officinalis; Eng: Valerian; Ita: Valeriana; Swe: Vànderot; Fr:Herbe aux chats; Ger: Baldrian, Sp: Valeriana
Family: Valerianaceae

Habitat: Valeriana grows well in moist  soils throughout Europe and north to the Arctic Circle. Valeriana is a perennial plant,  it grows up to 1.5m tall, with erect, fluted stems. Valeriana has small white- pink, funnel-shaped flowers.

Parts used: dried rhizome, roots and stolons. Leaves for gardening proposes.

Harvest: The rhizome and roots should be collected in October and November and dried slowly in the shade.

Constituents: 1% volatile oil (including valerianic acid, isovalerianic acid, valerenone, valerenal, hydroxyvaleric acid, citronellyl isovalerate, borneol, pinene, camphene, methyl-2-pyrrole ketone and assorted sesquiterpenes), epoxy iridoid esters (valepotriates, including valtrate and didovaltrate, which are rapidly lost during storage), glycoside (valerosidatum), volatile pyridine alkaloids (valerine, valerianine, actinidine, chatinine), choline, flavonoids, sterols, phenolic acids, sugars, fixed oil, resin, gum.

Actions:  Tranquillizing, relaxant, mild anodyne, hypnotic, spasmolytic, carminative, hypotensive, expectorant, diuretic, warming.

Uses: Medicinal uses:Valerian is used to reduce tension, anxiety and over-excitability states. It can be used to relieve tension before an exam as it relaxes keeping the mind clear. It is calming without being sedative and is non-addictive. It is a helpful support for insomnia. Researchers have found beneficial effect on sleep latency, wake-time after sleep, frequency of waking, nocturnal motor activity, inner restlessness with tension,  quality of sleep and sleepiness. Dream memory the morning after were found unaffected. It is also a valuable remedy to use to prevent and alleviate panic attacks. Valerian in combination with Hypericum has been reported to be as effective as diazepam in treating symptoms of anxiety when given to 100 patients for two weeks in a double-blind clinical trial. During the Second World War, Valerian was used in case of shock and ‘bombing neurosis’. In China it is prescribed for apprehension and traumatic injuries. The valepotriates and the isovaleric acid, which are responsible for the characteristic smell of Valerian,  have a regulatory effect on the autonomic nervous system – one fraction has a suppressant effect, another a stimulant one. It has also an antispasmodic action, and helps relieve painful periods, colitis, and cramps and it can be of benefit in migraine, tension headache and rheumatic pain. Valerian may be used as an expectorant to help relieve tickling, nervous coughs. It also has a strengthening action on the heart, and it can be used to lower blood pressure in emotional hypertension. Valerian has also a mild diuretic action.
Other uses: Tincture of Valerian can be used to remove dandruff. Valerian can induce a state of ecstasy in cats and can be used to attract them. The strong infusion of Valerian leaves is used to soak seeds before planting for a better germination and seed growth.

Energy Quality Aspects:
Ruled by Mercury, thereby Gemini air element, variable quality and Virgo, Earth element, variable quality. Sometimes also with Saturn, and thus Capricorn, Earth element, leading quality and Aquarius the element of air, solid quality.

Dosage: Dried rhizome and roots: 1-3g or by infusion or decoction
Tincture: 1:5 in 50% alcohol, 3-5ml or 20drops in ½ of water.
3 times a day or only when needed a few drops under the tongue.

Caution: In some individuals, continual use, or high doses of Valerian may cause headaches, dizziness, muscular spasm and palpitations. It can be taken together with Chamomile to prevent these symptoms. Valerian can enhance the action of sleep-inducing drugs and therefore should not be taken in conjunction with this type of medication.


by Xilef Welner


Comments are closed.

Bear berry Flower
Herbal course
On-line Herbal Courses
Natural Agriculture Books