Valerian is a renowned plant that has been used for thousands of years due to its extraordinary medicinal properties which help to relieve pain, treat nervous disorders, and reduce spasms and convulsions. The name of Valerian comes from the Latin word "Valere", which means "to be healthy", and it originally derives from the god "Baldur", who had the power to "help" in mythology.
According to tradition, this plant has a lot of benefits for health, since it has the ability to cure many pathologies.
It has historically been used for its medicinal properties to treat from simple eye problems to the most devastating epidemics such as the plague. From an esoteric point of view, the dried leaves of this plant have been used to attract good luck and ward off evil.
There are more than 250 different types of Valerian. Among the most commonly known is Valeriana officinalis (the most well-known variety) and the most used for its medicinal properties and benefits for health.
Other types are Valeriana Celtica, Valeriana dioica (Marsh Valerian), and Valeriana jatamansi or Indian Valerian.
The name comes from its shape, similar to an ear of corn.
This plant can grow up to 15 cm of height, it blooms from June to August, at an altitude between 1800 and 3000m like in the Alps, and its main feature is its intense scent. It is used, above all, to make soaps, creams, and moths repellent products.
Valeriana dioica or Marsh Valerian
It grows in Central Europe. Its effects are similar to those of medicinal Valerian or Valeriana officinalis, although they are less intense and last less time. This plant can reach a height of up to 35 cm, its flowers are very small, and the blooming period stretches from late spring to early summer (May to June).
Valeriana jatamansi or Indian Valerian
Indian Valerian or Jatamansi is a plant that grows in the Himalaya and in the Mediterranean regions and it is mainly used for the elaboration of oils, creams, and also as a relaxant.
Its healing properties come from the essential oil found in its roots whose main ingredient is bornyl-acetate. It interacts with the GABA receptors in the nerve cells producing a sedative effect.
On the other hand, thanks to the valepotriates that the plant has, it can relieve nervous cramps.
In general, valerian is a tranquillizer that provides serenity and muscle relaxation and it has antispasmodic effects.
Because of this, it is advisable for those people who suffer anxiety, stress, irritability, and insomnia, in order to relieve their symptoms.
However, the medicinal effects of this plant are not immediate, they are experienced in the long term. It may take several days or even up to four weeks to notice its benefits.
Because of this, it is not suitable for treating those who suffer acute symptoms of nervous disorders.
Clinical studies on Valerian
Clinical studies have shown that this plant alleviates and reduces the symptoms caused by sleep disorders, anxiety, and other nervous disorders, from mild to moderate degree.
In these trials, researched have noticed the benefits of this plant for those people who suffer from the following symptoms:
Weaning off sedatives
Anxiety about work or exams
Lack of concentration
Side effects of Valerian
Although it is a completely natural medicinal plant, this does not mean that its consumption is harmless in all cases, mainly because in order to obtain the desired effects it must be consumed over a long period of time.
Because of this, it is necessary to take into account the intake and mode of administration of this plant. Currently, clinical studies have confirmed that valerian is only effective when consumed for a long time. According to experts, it is highly advisable to use this product for a period of four to six weeks, without prolonging it any further.
It rarely causes any side effects, although some people may occasionally experience:
When it is consumed in preparations that combine other active ingredients, we have to be more careful because we cannot control the side effects.
However, in the case of products that only have valerian, it is much easier to control the side effects as long as we follow the instructions correctly, regarding the temperature of the water and cooking time (if it is a infusion). This should be enough o avoid any kind of risk, since side effects usually occur when the preparation or administration of the product is performed incorrectly.
Valerian plant may interact with some types of medication and it may also produce side effects if combined with the consumption of drugs, alcohol, or medicines.
On the other hand, there are no exhaustive studies about their effects on children, or pregnant and lactating women, so it is advisable not to consume valerian in these cases for safety reasons. Basically, it should not be consumed if you are using other medications.
In this case, you should consult your doctor first in order to avoid unwanted interactions.
The importance of choosing a safe and quality type of Valerian
European valerian does not involve any sort of risk for health.
However, plants from Mexico, Japan, and India have a high accumulation of carcinogenic valepotriates, which can reach an 8%, which entails a risk for health.
To avoid consuming a type of valerian with toxic ingredients, it is always advisable to choose a European product and to buy products that guarantee the quality and safety of their components.
On the other hand, it must be taken into account that valerian is a small cocktail of active ingredients which are:
Mono terpenes and sesquiterpenes (phytochemicals, such as fragrances and aromas)
Carboxylic acids of phenol
Valepotriates (herbal ingredients of valerian plants)
The different types of this plant vary depending on the different composition of its ingredients. Valerenol has a relaxing effect; The essential oils relieve cramps; And the alkaloids (Chatinin and Valerina) are used to mitigate heartburn or upset stomachs.
The common infusion has the following health benefits:
Relieves stomach pain
Medicinal and therapeutic effects
The valerian plant root has been used for thousands of years as a sedative for its antispasmodic and relaxing effects.
During the Medieval times, it was used as a remedy against the plague and similar diseases. Currently, valerian products are used as a remedy to combat insomnia, nervous tension, or gastrointestinal tract diseases.
In addition, it is also used for therapeutic purposes to relieve problems affecting the central nervous system and muscle-skeleton system. Valerian relieves cramps and relaxes the muscles, and it has also proven to be an effective treatment for asthma, intestinal cramps, rheumatism, and some neurological problems.
It has been clinically proven that valerian helps to combat nervousness and insomnia. It can also be used to treat stress, anxiety and concentration problems when it is combined with other active ingredients..
Valerian has proven to be effective in relieving hormonal fluctuations in women, and it has anticonvulsant effects, which is the reason why it is used to treat and relieve menstrual pain and the typical discomforts caused by menopause.
Another of the medicinal benefits of valerian is that it relieves anxiety, fears, and nervoustension, which is common in people who are quitting nicotine, caffeine, or alcohol.
Properties of Valerian for sleeping
Valerian is commonly used to combat insomnia.
Due to its soothing and relaxing properties, valerian naturally induces a deep and restful sleep. In this case, it is advisable to use valerian as a long-term treatment and to be patient in order to achieve the desired effects, which can occur from two to four weeks.
Apart from valerian, there are other types of herbs that also helpus to fall asleep, such as common hop, melissa, St. John's wort, lavender, and passionflower. But valerian is better, since its effects are more long-lasting and it produces a calmer and deeper sleep.
However, valerian is not suitable when a disease is the cause of this difficulty to fall asleep. In this case, you should consult your doctor first.
Moreover, valerian should never be combined if you are using other medications or sleeping pills, since they block the effects of the plant and in some cases may produce interactions, which entails a risk for health.
Valerian properties as a tranquillizer
Valerian reduces temporary nerve disorders, as long as they are not caused by an underlying disease. Its use is advisable in order to combat specific nervous problems, such as stress due to work or study; apart from those situations in which new challenges or unexpected problems have to be faced.
Thanks to its antispasmodic properties, consuming valerian helps to overcome stress, anxiety, induces calmness, and helps with falling asleep.
In this case it is also advisable to have some patience, since it does not act immediately and must be consumed for several weeks in order to obtain the desired effects. From a purely scientific perspective, valerian manages to calm the nervous system and is much better than medication, because it does not stun or decreases performance.
Moreover, valerian also favors concentration and intellectual performance.
Therefore, valerian produces a balance and integral relaxation from head to toes: it reduces anxiety and nervousness, while stimulating mental activity and favoring recovery after intense work or stressful situations.
However, when we are facing chronic depression, valerian is not the most appropriate treatment. Therefore you should consult your doctor or specialist to receive the best treatment.
Valerian cures gastrointestinal discomfort
The consumption of valerian helps to reduce gastrointestinal discomfort. The valerenic acid from valerian cures the gastrointestinal tract problems. Valerian reduces spasms and painful cramps.
The Valepotriates found in valerian contribute to reducing spasms and painful cramps.
Valerian relaxes, above all, the so-called smooth muscles which are found in the gastrointestinal tract and in the uterus. Therefore, it calms the symptoms of menopause, menstrual pain, and cramps, and it is also used as a remedy against colic, stomach, and bladder pains, as well as headaches, nervous spasms, inflammation, and convulsive vomiting.
However, the effects on ulcers (at least in the field of human medicine) are not clinically proven.
Clinical trials with valerian on animals with ulcers have shown positive results. This indicates that animals with stress develop a stomach ulcer, whereas in human cases, the ulcer is caused by a bacteria which is responsible for the infection and stress simply increases the symptoms.
Valerian drops is the best known format. However, you must make sure that you count the drops that correspond to the recommended amount in order to avoid an overdose.
On the other hand, valerian drops have a bitter taste that is not everyone likes. The effects of drops are similar to those of tablets: wait a few days or weeks to check their effects after consuming them. Valerian drops are also used for animals, specially for cats.
In this case, they are not used to relax but to stimulate the animals. Valerian acts on cats as an aphrodisiac, since they find its fragrance irresistible. Valerian is used on horses for its relaxing effects and to reduce spasms and seizures. Nowadays, due to the rise of dietary supplements, we can find valerian in other formats.
Valerian tablets is a very convenient way to use this substance and to make sure we use the correct amount.
Valerian tablets are available in pharmacies, herbal shops, and online stores. We must always check the composition of the product and its origin, as well as following the recommended amount and paying attention to the possible side effects, since many components are added to valerian or it can be enriched with medicines.
In case of experiencing any problem or side effect, always consult your doctor. Most tablets should be used at different times, with breakfast, lunch, and dinner, always with plenty of liquid. According to the instructions for each product, one or two tablets will be used, depending on the recommended amount. Valerian tablets should never be combined with alcohol, drugs, medications, sedatives, or sleeping pills.
Valerian salts have a relaxing effect and relieve muscle tension. Alternatively, we can make a home-made infusion by diluting 100g of valerian root in two liters of hot water and letting it stand for ten minutes. Then we will strain the infusion and we can use it for the bath.
Infusion combined with other relaxing plants
Apart from its individual format, Valerian infusion is also available in combination with other relaxing plants, such as St. John's wort, common hop, lemon, orange blossom, lavender, etc.
Valerian is available in different degrees of intensity, each of which will correspond to a different level of dosage. Since there are multiple formats (tablets, drops, infusions, lozenges, etc.) available in the market, it is practically impossible to provide a standard amount which can be applied in all cases.
In addition, it should be noted that in 80 percent of the cases, valerian is combined with other relaxing plants, which would nullify the recommendation of a generalized dose.
However, some approximate recommendations can be given, always taking into account the particular instructions for each product, which must prevail over these indications:
Generally, the amount for dry extracts usually moves between 50 to 600 milligrams per day.
In the case of valerian infusions, it is advisable to prepare a daily infusion made out of a teaspoon of valerian with 150 milliliters of water, the cooking time should never exceed 15 minutes.
If it is consumed in tablets, it should be taken into account that each tablet usually has about 300 milligrams of valerian, for this reason we should never use more than four tablets a day.
If valerian is consumed in drops, the recommended amount on the product's instructions should be meticulously followed and its indications never exceeded.
If we use valerian bath salts, the recommended amount is about 100 grams of valerian root. The water should not exceed 35 degrees centigrade and you should not spend more than 20 minutes in it.
If we want to use valerian to relieve insomnia, it should be consumed at least half an hour before going to sleep. Depending on the difficulty to fall asleep, the amount may range from 400 to 900 milligrams.
If valerian is used to combat nervousness, anxiety, or stress during the day, the recommended amount is about 300 to 450 milligrams a day.
Regardless of these general amounts, it is advisable to carefully read the information sheet of each product and to follow the particular indications regarding the amount and the most adequate mode of administration in each particular case.
Who should consume Valerian?
Ideal for nervous people who suffer from stress or anxiety.
Recommended for people who have difficulties to fall asleep.
It may be helpful for people with hypertension who often have gastrointestinal palpitations or spasms.
Ideal to mitigate the symptoms of menopause and the pre-menstrual syndrome.
Women that tend to suffer cramps and pain during menstruation.
Where to buy Valerian supplements
You can buy Valerian Supplements in different formats (liquid, tablets, capsules) in our online HSNstore to help you obtain a calm state of mind, reduce nervousness, help to fall asleep, and promote muscle relaxation.
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