Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Valerian in the treatment of insomnia

Valerian in the treatment of insomnia

Kingdom: Plantae
Family: Valerianaceae
Genus: Valeriana
Species: Valeriana officinalis

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a hardy perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers which bloom in the summer months. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.
Native to Europe and parts of Asia. Other names used for this plant include garden valerian , garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal. The garden flower red valerian is also sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species from the same family and not very closely related.
Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Know to Dioscorides in the 1st century AD. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed in the wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the "envy" of the elves. Valerian can also be consumed as a kind of tea.
The plant is grown from seed in spring and the root and rhizome of 2-year-old plants are unearthed in the autumn for pharmacological use.


Relieves muscle spasms
Relieves anxiety
Lowers blood pressure
In ayurveda, valerian is considered to work on the nervous, digestive, and respiratory systems as a stimulant, antispasmodic, stomachic, sedative, analeptic, carminative, and nervine.


Valerian is a useful remedy against insomnia, whether caused by anxiety or overexertion and excitement. Valerian has an effect that is calming but doesn't cause sleepiness the following day. When used as a sleeping aid, valerian appears to be most effective on users who have difficulty falling asleep, however valerian has been shown to have positive results on users who wake up during the night. Valerian often seems only to work when taken over longer periods (several weeks), though many users find that it takes effect immediately.
Stress related disorders
Valerian reduces mental over-activity and nervous excitability, helping those who find it hard to relax and “switch-off”. It is beneficial to almost any stress related condition and generally has a calming rather than sedative effect on the mind.

Symptoms of anxiety, including tremors, panic, palpitations and sweating can be relieved with valerian.

Effective relaxant
Valerian relaxes overly contracted muscles, and is helpful in shoulder and neck tension, asthma, colic, irritable bowel syndrome, muscle spasms and menstrual pain.

High blood pressure
Valerian is used alongside other herbs in remedies for high blood pressure caused by stress and anxiety.


Large doses may result in stomach ache, apathy, and a feeling of mental dullness or mild depression. Because of the herb's tranquillizer properties, it may cause dizziness or drowsiness, effects that should be considered before driving or operating heavy or hazardous equipment. In some individuals, valerian can cause stomach ache, anxiety, and night terrors.
Though some people like the earthy scent, many others find it unpleasant, even comparing the odour to that of unwashed feet. In rare cases, valerian may cause an allergic reaction, typically as a skin rash, hives, or difficulty breathing.
Because the compounds in valerian produce central nervous system depression, they should not be used with other depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, or opiates. Long-term use in a male has also been associated with benzodiazepine-like withdrawal symptoms, resulting in cardiac complications and delirium.
The very limited animal and human data do not allow a conclusion as to the safety of valerian during pregnancy. Moreover, as a natural, unregulated product, the concentration, contents, and presence of contaminants in valerian preparations cannot be easily determined. Because of this uncertainty and the potential for cytotoxicity in the foetus and hepatotoxicity in the mother, the product should be avoided during pregnancy. The risk to a foetus from short-term or inadvertent use during any part of gestation, however, is probably low, if it exists at all.

For insomnia take 1-2, 500mg at night

20 drops in water.

take 25-100 ml 20 mins before sleep.

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