Valerian Plant a Valium Substitute.There are several Valerian colours

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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia. In the summer when the mature plant may have a height of 1.5 metres (5 ft), it bears sweetly scented pink or white flowers that attract many fly species, especially hoverflies of the genus Eristalis.

It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, including the grey pug.
Crude extract of valerian root may have sedative and anxiolytic effects, and is commonly sold in dietary supplement capsules to promote sleep.

Valeriana officinalis – Valerian plant whose root contains essential oils with sedative and relaxing effects

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Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed in the wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the “envy” of the elves. In the 16th century, the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed valerian tea for a sick woman.

It was said that the dried root was valued as a medicine by the poor in the north of England and the south of Scotland, so that “no broth or pottage or physicall meats be worth anything if Setewale [Valerian] be not there”


The seventeenth century astrological botanist Nicholas Culpeper thought the plant was “under the influence of Mercury, and therefore hath a warming faculty.” He recommended both herb and root, and said that “the root boiled with licorice, raisins and aniseed is good for those troubled with cough. Also, it is of special value against the plague, the de-concoction thereof being drunk and the root smelled.

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Etymology and common names.

The name of the herb is derived from the personal name Valeria and the Latin verb valere (to be strong, healthy).

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Valerian extract-Biochemical composition
Known compounds detected in valerian that may contribute to its method of action are:
Alkaloids: actinidine,[chatinine, shyanthine, valerianine,and valerine
Isovaleramide may be created in the extraction process.
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)
Isovaleric acid
Iridoids, including valepotriates: isovaltrate and valtrate
Sesquiterpenes (contained in the volatile oil): valerenic acid,hydroxyvalerenic acid and acetoxyvalerenic acid
Flavanones: hesperidin,6-methylapigenin, and linarin

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Potential mechanism
Because of valerian’s historical use in traditional medicine for diverse purposes, such as for sedation or pain relief, laboratory research has been directed at the GABAA receptor, a class of receptors on which benzodiazepines act. Valeric acid which is responsible for the typical odor of mostly older valerian roots, does not have any sedative properties. Valproic acid, a widely prescribed anticonvulsant is a derivative of valeric acid

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Valerian also contains isovaltrate, traditional medicine
Valerian (V. officinalis) essential oil


Although valerian is a common traditional medicine used for treating insomnia, there is no good evidence it is effective for this purpose.Valerian is not helpful in treating restless leg syndrome or anxiety. There is insufficient evidence for efficacy and safety of valerian for anxiety disorders.


The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the health claim that valerian can be used as a traditional herbal medicine to relieve mild nervous tension and to aid sleep; EMA stated that although there is insufficient evidence from clinical studies, its effectiveness as a dried extract is considered plausible.

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Oral forms, use, and adverse effects
Oral forms

A bottle of Valerian capsules

Oral forms are available in both standardized and un-standardized forms. Standardized products may be preferable considering the wide variation of the chemicals in the dried root, as noted above.

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Author: Henry

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