Valerian: Everything You Need To Know

Valerian: Everything You Need To Know

What Is Valerian?

For centuries, Valerian has been used as the herbal sleep aid of choice. Valerian calms and relaxes the mind, making it an ideal herb to induce and maintain sleep.

Valerian is a perennial plant native to areas of Europe and Asia. It grows up to 1.2 meters in height and produces clusters of sweet smelling trumpet shaped flowers. The roots are used both fresh and dried. When dried, the roots produce a strong odor, somewhat reminiscent of sweaty socks.

Valerian has been used since the times of Ancient Rome. Scientific research into Valerian has confirmed that it can reduce tension and produce drowsiness (aiding sleep); although the actual chemical compounds behind these effects are still not fully understood. The effects of valerian are likely to be the result of a synergistic interaction among all the chemical compounds, rather than the result of one single chemical. Valerian has been shown to increase the body’s supply of GABA neurotransmitters, although the mechanism by which this is achieved is unknown.

Effects Of Valerian

Effects of Valerian

Valerian is a herb with calming and relaxing properties. The effects of Valerian are subtle, but highly effective. The name Valerian comes from the latin word valere, which means to be strong and healthy.

The non-addictive and safe nature of Valerian has made it a very popular and easy to use herbal remedy for those who get tense in social situations, or just generally need to ease up. Valerian is often used in combination with other herbs that will bring out a particular aspect. For example, it is not uncommon for Valerian to be combined with Skullcap, as these two herbs produce a good synergy to ease tension and calm the mind.

It is worth noting, that although one of the main effects of Valerian is to act as a relaxant, for a small group of people it actually has the opposite effect, and acts as a stimulant.

History Of Valerian

History of Valerian

Valerian has been used for thousands of years for its positive effects. The earliest recorded reference has been found in texts dating back to 460 B.C. in which its unpleasant smell was described as “phu”.

During the age of Hippocrates, Valerian was used as a common treatment for a variety of ailments, although it was viewed by many as a cure-all and general health booster.

Before it was commonly known as Valerian, this herb was traditionally known as Nard. Although the origin of its name is still debated, it is general consensus that it is derived from the Latin word meaning “good health”. However, other believe it got its name due to the frequency of its use by Valarius, a politician of the era.

Valerian has also gone by another name in centuries past. Known as Amantilla by the Anglo-Saxons, it was often used as a social calmer. Old recipes describe giving aggressive or fighting men in order to create instant peace. Although used for this practical reason, Valerian was also commonly used as a spice, and a frequent ingredient in salads.