Valerian is a perennial plant that has sweetly scented flowers. This plant blooms in the summer and is native to England and to certain areas in Asia. For centuries, valerian has been taken advantage of as medicine for its sedating properties. The pungent odor of the root makes it easy to identify as valerian.
Ancient Greeks and Romans have used valerian to treat a number of common illnesses. Other regions, like the Middle East, adopted valerian as medicine, and it is, thereby, often referred to as a “heal-all”. Additionally, besides medicinal purposes, valerian has been used as a perfume, as a spice in food, and it has a place in folklore, as it was once thought to be an ingredient in love potions.
Valerian also goes by the following names: Valerian Root, Amantilla, Capon’s tail, All-heal, Common Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, European Valerian, Kediotu, Phu, Garden Valerian, Seiyo-Kanoko-So, Set Well, Setwall, Valeriana, and Vandal Root.
Health Benefits of Valerian
The root of valerian is used to make medicine. More commonly, because of its sedative properties, valerian is used as a treatment for insomnia and other sleep disorders; it induces drowsiness. Additionally, valerian is used to reduce anxiety and stress symptoms, including a nervous state, migraines and stomach aches. Similarly, it is used as treatment for depression, ADHD and chronic fatigue.
Other uses of valerian include the treatment of pains associated with the muscle and joints. Women also use valerian to treat symptoms of menopause, like hot flashes and anxiety.
The list continues:
- Intestinal colic
- Nervous excitability
- Rheumatic fever and pain
- Lack of concentration
- Tranquiliser withdrawal
- Improving circulation
- Retarded and scanty menstruation
How to Use Valerian
More frequently, valerian is used to make tea. Valerian root tea is simple and fast to make. Boil the root in hot water. Cover and let steep for approximately fifteen minutes. Uncover and strain out the root. Your tea is now ready to be consumed.
Valerian roots can also be added to the bath. It can help induce drowsiness and invoke a state of relaxation that will help you sleep better at night.
How and Where to Buy Valerian
Foods and beverages containing valerian extracts are commercially available. The root itself can be purchased fresh at health food stores to be added into a number of dishes, or consumed in capsule or tincture form.