CHINA. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) Root, Cut and Sifted, Certified Organic
Common names: All-Heal, Phu, Amantilla, Setwall, Garden Heliotrope, Capon's Tail, Blessed herb, Vandal Root, Jie Cao Gen, Phu Parvum, Balderbrackenwurzel
Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, growing up to five feet high, native to in Europe and Northern Asia, and found in other temperate regions including some high altitude biomes in the US Southwest. It favors moist areas, marshy and riparian zones, but may also be found on drier ground.
Valerian has been famed since antiquity, especially as a sedative and relaxant. Quoting Dr. Christopher’s summary, it has been given “as a nervine, anti-spasmodic, to protect against the plague, head pain, to bring on sleep, as a sedative, to calm hysterias, for nervous strain, stress, mental derangement, irregular distribution of blood to the brain, menopause symptoms, sadness, restlessness, anxiety, profuse flow of urine, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, to lower blood pressure, heart condition, drug addiction, menstrual pains, suppressed menstruation, ringing in ears, cholera, swollen joints, swollen arteries and veins, cramped limbs, paralyzed limbs, and acne.”
Other actions described in the herbal literature include antibiotic, expectorant, bitter, and carminative. Valerian's analgesic effects are said to be most helpful where pain is related to tension.
Considerable research with Valerian has reached a range of conclusions, however many studies support its traditional uses, including treating sleep disorders, and confirm its safety. In one study, a standard sedative dose of Valerian did not impair driving performance.
Researchers have successfully used Valerian, alone or combined with Lemon Balm, to address ADHD in children and sleep disorders in menopause. Clinical research showed Valerian’s effectiveness for dysmenorrhea and insomnia following benzodiazepine withdrawal, and a literature review found it to be the most promising among eleven herbs studied for treating anxiety and insomnia in bipolar disorder.
Experiments show that Valerian’s anti-anxiety effects are due to its content of valerenic acid, an alkaloid that acts on GABAA receptors. In addition to alkaloids, other active components in the root include volatile oils and valepotriates.
Higher doses are suggested for anxiety, and lower doses for sedation. Avoid use during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.