With a history of more than 4000 years of use in popular medicine, Valerian is originated in Central and Eastern Asia, later to spread to Europe and North America. Even though it has hundreds of uses in Europe, being considered a panaceum for all kinds of diseases, in America it’s best known as a relief for insomnia and nervous system related disorders.
Valerian is a perennial flowering plant, with white to pink sweet scented flowers that grows in the temperate climate, adapted to very different environments like swampy lowlands, mountains, river sides and forests. For curative purposes, mostly the roots, but also the flowers sometimes are used to prepare powders, tinctures, oils and even perfumes.
The name of the herb, “Valerian,” derives from the Latin verb “valere,” meaning to be strong and healthy. In the ancient times it has been used to prepare magic love potions to attract men, it was placed at windows to protect houses from harmful spirits and used in purification rituals. It was regarded as a feminine element, evoking the power of love, sleep, purification, and protection.
Valerian is a very good antispasmodic, mild sedative, nervine, hypotensive, relaxant, warming, carminative, digestive stimulant, antiperspirant and diuretic.
Reduces anxiety and restlessness
Those with a hyperactive mind, always on the run, trying to get something, be somewhere will find a great alley in this plant. Valerian calms the nervous system, regulates the heart rate and the blood pressure, relaxes the muscles, releases emotional stress, leaving a very beautiful feeling of peace and contentment of being in the now and enjoying life.
Promotes a good resting sleep
Besides other sleep aiding plants, Valerian is best known for inducing the feeling of a natural and resting sleep, without having the after-feeling of grogginess and hard to wake up in the morning. Studies have shown that it reduces the time to fall asleep and in some cases can successfully decrease and even replace insomnia medication.
Helps nervous originated digestive problems
With its antispasmodic and muscle relaxing properties, it helps a great deal in digestive disorders caused by stress and emotional overload such as: gall bladder colics, irritable bowel syndrome, gastritis and stomach aches, abdominal cramps, anorexia, constipation, bloating and so on.
Promotes women’s health
Valerian can ease menstrual cramps, regulates the menses and help in menopause issues, reducing the hot flushes, balancing the hormones and preventing the age specific occurrence of anxiety and depression. Calms the premenstrual syndrome and releases breasts and ovaries pain.
Because of its warming nature, taken alone it might aggravate the inflammatory conditions if they’re present, so it’s best to be combined with other cooling nervine plants, such as Passion Flower or Skull Cap.
Valerian is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women.
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