Valerian

Botanical  Information

Valerian, native to Europe, has been used since the 2nd century for medicinal purposes. The root of the plant is pressed into fresh juice or freeze-dried to form a powder for supplement use. Valerian is sold in extracts or in capsule or tablet form, also as a tea.

Features & Benefits

  • There is much debate over how valerian works, but it is believed to increase the amount of a chemical called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain
  • Researchers believe valerian may have a similar effect to a class of drugs called benzodiazepines (e.g. Valium, Xanax and diazepam)
  • Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, valerian may be helpful for conditions such as ulcerative colitis, joint inflammation and osteoarthritis
  • Helps to improve sleep without being addictive or causing grogginess

Suggestions & Precautions

  • Valerian should not be taken with muscle relaxants, narcotic pain relievers, prescription sleep medications, tranquilizers, antihistamines or other drugs that cause drowsiness
  • Some people may have a “paradoxical reaction” to valerian, feeling anxious and restless after taking the herb instead of calm and sleepy
  • Valerian should not be used for longer than one month without consulting a health care professional
  • Valerian should not be used when pregnant or nursing

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