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Valerian root benefits have different effects, depending on the living being it acts on: animals or humans. While serving as a potent stimulant for animals, it has notable sedative effects on human beings. Thus, cats become euphoric when they smell the plant, joyfully rubbing against it. The aroma of the valerian, which becomes more potent when the plant is dry, does not have any particular attraction for humans since it resembles the smell of foot sweat. It is a matter of preference.

Valerian root has been employed in therapeutic science since the Renaissance when its property to prevent epileptic attacks was discovered.

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Valerian Root Benefits and Healing Properties

The roots of Valerian have around one percent of an essential oil of antispasmodic action with many components (terpenes, borneol esters, etc.) and between one percent and five percent of valepotriates, substances which traditionally, valerian’s sedative effects were attributed to. However, today, the most important agent of valerian root benefits is baldrinal, the valepotriates’ metabolite, called valtrate.

Valerian root benefits include tranquilizing, sedative, narcotic (favoring sleep), analgesic (calms aches), antispasmodic, and anticonvulsive effects. It produces sedation on the whole autonomic and central nervous systems, decreasing anxiety and blood pressure. Its action is similar to that of neuroleptic pharmaceuticals (fenotyazines and derivatives); however, it lacks the latter’s toxic effects. These are the indications of the valerian.

valerian root tea for sleep
  • Autonomic Nervous System Disorders (Symptom). Anxiety, anxiety neurosis, neurasthenia and irritability, headaches, palpitations, arrhythmia, basic blood pressure hypertension (with no organic cause), shivers, gastric neurosis (stomach nervousness), irritable colon, and other psychosomatic diseases.
  • Tiredness and nervous depression.
  • Insomnia. Due to its narcotic action, it renders good results when a bath reinforces its infusion before bedtime.
  • Epilepsy. When regularly taken, it prevents epileptic attacks. However, it does not substitute anti-epileptic treatment, though it may help to reduce the dose.
  • Asthma. Valerian root benefits are more prevalent in prevention than in treating acute asthma attacks, as with epilepsy. Its antispasmodic and sedative actions prevent bronchial spasms, which are one of the causes of asthma, along with mucous membrane edema.
  • Pain. Due to its analgesic action, it is helpful in the fight against sciatic and rheumatic pain. Moreover, it also acts externally, applied on the affected area to ease pain in cases of contusions, lumbago, sciatica, muscular strain, and rheumatic pain.

Valerian is a sedating and calming herb for all emotional disturbances and pain. However, it tends to stimulate a few individuals (because the essential oils were not changed into valerianic acid, the calming medicinal property). In every one, the herb will be stimulating for a little while until the oils are replaced.

This plant is beneficial when under emotional pain and stress. It is suitable for insomnia, migraines, nervous conditions, stomach cramps that cause vomiting, enemas for pinworms, stones in the bladder, neurasthenia, hysteria, colic, colds, low fevers, and fatigue. Valerian tea can minimize menstrual cramps, intestinal cramps, muscle pains, and bronchial spasms.

The herb also treats ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, paralysis, palsy, measles, hangover, and afterbirth pains. It can also lessen mucus caused by colds. The plant is primarily used in various herbal formulas. An effective bedtime tea for insomnia is ½ teaspoon of valerian root and ½ teaspoon of hops steeped in a cup of hot water.

In external applications, the herb can be used as a wash for sores and pimples.

NOTE: Avoid boiling valerian because the essential oils will dissipate. Hops’ properties are similar and can be substituted.

Valerian is one of the leading over-the-counter sleep aid and tranquilizers in Europe. There have been ten controlled clinical studies published on valerian preparations. According to a recent study, it worked best as a sleep aid over a month rather than on a single-dose basis. In Germany, the herb was approved as a sedative in sleep-inducing preparations for nervous restlessness and to help in falling asleep. Cats have been attracted to the scent of the root, like catnip. In eighteenth-century apothecaries, the quality of valerian root was determined by how cats reacted to it.

Valerian Root Scientific Facts

valerian root for anxiety
One of the many valerian root benefits include the balancing of the autonomic nervous system, whether taken as an infusion or in medicinal baths. It is quite useful for psychosomatic diseases, nervousness, and stress.
  1. Other names: Fragrant valerian, all-heal, English valerian, German valerian, great wild valerian, heliotrope, setwall, vandal root, Vermont valerian, wild valerian.
  2. French: Valeriane, herbe aux chats.
  3. Spanish: Valeriana, hierba de los gatos.
  4. Environment: It grows on roadsides, forest borders, meadows, and river banks in Europe, except in the Mediterranean. Naturalized in North America and South America.
  5. Description: Herbaceous plant of the Valerianaceae family, with upright, hollowed, furrowed stems growing from 0.5 to 2 m high. Its little pink flowers gather in terminal clusters.
  6. Parts of the plant used medicinally: Root and rhizome.

How to use Valerian

  1. Infusion.
  2. Cold extract.
  3. Root powder.
  4. Compresses
  5. Warm water baths, with a sedative action, adding one or two liters of a decoction similar to that prepared for compresses.

Decoction: Simmer five to fifteen minute and take three ounces three times daily. Tincture: Take ½ to one teaspoons three times daily. Fluid Extract: Take ½ teaspoon three times daily. Oil: Five drops three times daily. Powder: Take two to three #0 capsules (10 to 15 grains) three times daily.


  • George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. “Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants.” George D. Pamplona-Roger, M.D. Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. Ed. Francesc X. Gelabert. Vols. 1 San Fernando de Henares: Editorial Safeliz, 2000. 172, 173. Print. [valerian root benefits]
  • Vance Ferrell Harold M. Cherne, M.D. The Natural Remedies Encyclopedia [Book]. – Altamont, TN: Harvestime Books, 2010. – Vol. Seventh Edition: 7: pp. 184.

Last update on 2023-09-27 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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