The Wonder of Valerian Root

Valerian root has been used for over 1,000 years as a sedative, working directly on the nervous system giving people a relaxing effect, without the morning grogginess of many of today’s popular prescription medications. Whether it is being called Tobacco Root or Garden Heliotrope or simply Valerian Root, the benefits of this little, inconspicuous plant has been popular through the ages. At one time it was so popular as to be called the All Heal plant.

There are two species of valerian that found its origin in Britain, V. dioica and Valeriana officinalis. While there are more then 100 species of the valerian plant found mostly in warm climates, these two species are the most sought after for their medicinal properties.

While the valerian plant is used today for helping aid in sleeping patterns and anxiety treatment, it has been used as many things in our history. During the middle ages it was used as a perfume. Native Americans have used this tiny miracle plant as a flour substitute. German women used valerian as a coffee substitute. The British even used valerian as a soup base.

Dioscorides, a Greek physician, would prescribe various parts of the valerian plant for epilepsy, insomnia, nervousness, stomach and digestive problems, liver ailments, nausea, and urinary tract infections. Even the ancient Greeks knew that the valerian plant had strong medicinal values. These values were passed from generation to generation, until today, where Valerian Root is one of the most used extracts for relaxing and sleep.

The recommended dosage for valerian is 2, 500 mg pills, made from the root of the valerian plant, up to twice a day. Of course, if you go searching online for valerian root, you will find numerous sites claiming that their site has the best valerian root on the market. Just because it may be more expensive, does not make it better quality. When looking for a good valerian supplement, make sure that the root is being used. While the other parts of the plant may be used, the root is more pure, and offers more benefit. When shopping online for a valerian supplement also check what is added with the valerian. The best products will be 100% valerian.

The German have been testing the benefits of valerian on hyperactivity in children for the last 20 years. Health professionals are discovering more about valerian, and suggesting it more to their patients that suffer from nervousness, tension, and insomnia. Valerian’s contradictions are few and far between. Making it a safe supplement for people on other prescribed medications.

Studies have not been done on pregnant women and their fetus’. Though the English have used valerian when pregnant, the United States does not suggest valerian when pregnant. Valerian acts as a relaxant to help anxiety. Valerian has also been used in history to induce miscarriage in early pregnancy. The effect on later pregnancy is not known. My suggestion is that you always limit anything you put in your body when you are pregnant. Valerian is no different.

The health benefits of valerian, while not FDA approved, have a proven track record through the ages. While valerian is a relaxant, it also does not leave you with that groggy hangover in the morning. Being non-addictive also benefits this small wonder plant. One thing that makes valerian stick out is its pungent smell. I often refer to it as the smell of dirty socks. Though I honestly don’t mind the smell, because the benefits far surpass the stench.

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