Valerian has been used as a sleep aid for over 1,000 years. Its ability to help relax the central nervous system, promote feelings of calm, decrease levels of anxiety and stress, and enhance sleep are known to millions the world over.
Unlike some prescription sleep aids, valerian is not known to cause grogginess in the morning, and is non-addictive. The major healing components found in the valerian root are valepotrits, valeranic acid, valeranone, and valereal. These are all volatile oils that are found only in valerian. Other volatile oils in the root such as pineole, borneol, cineole, carophilene, and azulene are also commonly found in other herbs with healing properties. All these exert anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and nerve-calming effects on the body. In addition, the root contains alkaloids that are known to relieve pain and relax the body.
What does it do?
Valerian can be classified in many different therapeutic categories. It is one of the best nervine herbs for its efficacy in the treatment of disorders of the nervous system and in calming the entire body. Other categories include anodyne (pain reliever), anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiemetic, carminative (tones, soothes, and stimulates the digestive and elimination systems), sedative, hypnotic, antihypertensive, and antibacterial.
Valerian is most effective in treating a wide range of stress conditions such as irritability, depression, fear, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, hysteria, delusions, and nervous tensions. As well, Valerian is indicated for patients suffering from insomnia. Valerian not only eases the trouble of falling asleep but also improves the quality of sleep during the night.
After taking Valerian, a patient will awake very rested and alert without the grogginess seen with some over-the-counter sleeping aids. As a pain reliever, the herb is useful in treating tension headaches, arthritis, migraines, and muscle soreness.
Valerian is also useful for treating nervous disorders such as shingles, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, sciatica, and neuralgia. Other conditions and peripheral neuropathic symptoms such as numbness, tingling sensation, pain, and muscle weakness are effectively controlled with the use of Valerian. It has also been utilized in treating ADHD in adults.
Children often show marked improvement in conditions and behavioral disorders such as bed wetting, anxiety, headache, restlessness, sleep disorders, hyperactivity, thumb sucking, learning disorders, and nail biting.
What about side effects?
Unlike other sedatives and drugs, Valerian has none of the side effects or dependency risk. In addition, there is no synergistic effect when the herb is taken with alcohol. In most cases, it can also be taken safely along with prescription drugs though a physician consultation is recommended. Valerian is used extensively in Europe where it is accepted by orthodox medicine. It is found in many over-the-counter preparations used to relieve a variety of nervous disorders.
Valerian: Clinical Study and Analysis
Clinical Study References
The Scienece of Valerian Root
Complementary and Alternative Medicines