Valerian - Valeriana Officinalis

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This Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) monograph is an excerpt from the 1999, first edition of Dr. Sharol's book "Herbal Medicine From The Heart of The Earth." You can purchase the 2020, third edition of this book with an expanded materia medica/monograph section, herbal formulas and directions on making herbal products in Dr. Sharol's Book Store. You receive free shipping in the USA.

Valerian - Valeriana officinalis in the Valerianaceae or Valerian family

Part used: Root.

Taste/smell: Aromatic, sweet, spicy.

Tendencies: Slightly warming.

Dosage: Infusion: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.

Mental picture and specific indications: Valerian is specific for support of atonic and functional nervous disorders and situations arising from cerebral vascular insufficiency. The individual may have a tendency to personality changes, feel light, as if floating in air, oversensitive, and experience hallucinations at night. There may be symptoms of itching and muscle spasms at night and rheumatic pains in limbs with sciatica and jerking.

Use: (a) Sedative, (b) Relaxing nervine, (c) Antispasmodic, (d) Anticonvulsant, (e) Hypotensive.

Valerian is often used for tension, restlessness, emotional stress, pain, insomnia, anxiety, nervous palpitations, nervous irritation, cardiovascular arrhythmias, attention deficit and hyperactivity syndromes, gastrointestinal cramping, menstrual cramps, shingles and backaches.

Valerian shortens the time it takes to get to sleep as well as increasing the quality of sleep. Similar to sedative-hypnotic medications, Valerian is believed to activate gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors that are involved in sleep promotion and regulation.

Contraindications: The volatile components of Valerian increase sleeping time induced by pentobarbital. It has been shown to potentiate the action of barbiturates in general. In addition there are a few people who report trouble awakening in the AM after using it to sleep, but this is not the norm. The active principles of Valerian might increase the inhibitory activity of benzodiazepines binding to the GABA receptors, causing severe secondary effects. This was reported in one incident. In some individuals Valerian has a stimulating effect rather than a sedating effect.

If you are looking for directions on making teas or tinctures, please see our "Making Herbal Products" page.

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Copyright 1999 by Sharol Tilgner, N.D. (ISBN 1-881517-02-0) - all rights reserved.

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