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What is Valerian

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What is Valerian?

This article tries to answer as to what is Valerian. This herb is also known as Valeriana officinalis, Valeriana  wallichii, Tagar,  Indian valerian. Valeriana originated from the Latin word Valere meaning to be in  good health.

The chemical  Constituents  of Valerian are Valepotriates, Baldrinal , Isovaleric acid, Valerenic acid , Valernal, Valerenone, Bornyl Acetate, Bornyl  isovalerate, Elemol, Actinidine, Valerianine. The Valepotriates  which are the active constituents of Valerian have an anxiolytic effect on the   symptoms  of anxiety. Ref: Phytother  Res: 2002 No; 16( 7) : 650-4. Andreatini R, Satori V A , Seabra ML Leite J R. Valerian  Root historically has been used as a Tranquilizer. It is known to be used to treat the problems related to stress and strain.

Valerenic  acid is thought to be, at least partly responsible for the sedative properties of the essential oil of Valerian. It  has both sedative and anti-anxiety  properties. The studies shows that Valerenic acid closely resembles  Pentobarbital, therefore  it is  likely  to have  central depressant activity  rather than a muscle relaxant or neuroleptic effect.

What is Valerian? Its usefulness to various functions of human body?

External Use: Valerian external application is advisable in  Rheumatism, a type of Arthritis.

Nervous System: Valerian acts as an analgesic and Medhya (To promote intellectual activity). It is also known to help with Hysteria , Arthritis and Gout.

Digestive System: Valerian is useful to help with Jaundice , Enlargement of spleen, Stomach-ache, etc .

Respiratory System: Valerian is well known to help with Cough.

Reproductive System: Valerian is also a good remedy  for Dysmenorrhea (Menstrual pain).

Skin: Valerian is a good remedy to help with the problems of Vitiated Blood (helps purifying blood).

What is Valerian? Its benefits to sleep deprived people?

In a broad  sense  one can call this herb a sedative but  to put it specifically, we can say that it tends to calm, soothe  the Nervous System. Valerian is an Herb  that has been used to help with  Insomnia and sleep disorders. It is an excellent  remedy  for Anxiety. Studies show that it helps to provide sound sleep. It increases  GABA ( gamma aminobutyric acid) in the brain and is a neurotransmitter involved  in  anxiety regulation. Hence, it has a calming effect and makes one relax and reduces nervousness. Valerian is non habit forming but should not be taken for a  long time. It is advisable to stop using it intermittently before one starts using it again.

The literature on surveys done for Valerian shows that it has a high therapeutic value. Scientists have generated the active constituents by tissue culture techniques.

Valerian is also know to have  anti-spasmodic effects. Shampoos and creams contain  0.2 – 10% percentage of the extract to control the formation of Dandruff. Ref: Medicinal Plants Cultivation and their uses H. Panda.

Valerian  is also useful in helping with hypertension, muscle cramps, joint pains and insomnia.

Ayurvedic formulations containing Valerian along with other proven  herbs may act with higher efficacy  to help with above mentioned conditions .

A word of caution, excessive dose of Valerian could produce Vertigo, Vomiting, and Belching, Bleeding  and Convulsions . Always stay within the mentioned limits of this herb and do not abuse this herb. Also, this herb should not be given to children or pregnant women.

I hope the above discussion was good to understand what Valerian is. In many situations it is advisable to seek the help of a Medical Doctor, before using herbal alternatives.

Also read on- Natural sleep aid

By Satya Narayana

Dr. Satya Narayana is the moderator and editor of this article originally written by Dr. Veena Deo, an Ayurvedic Doctor in India. All the information provided and on supplements above and opinions expressed above should not be construed as medical advice. This information is provided for educational purposes only. Any statements made above have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Any products discussed above are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. To consult Dr. Satya Narayana, please send an email to satyanarayana@herbaldestination.com

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