Valerian - Valeriana officinalis (in the Valerianaceae or Valerian family)
Part used: Root.
Taste/smell: Aromatic, sweet, spicy.
Tendencies: Slightly warming.
Dosage: Infusion: 1-2 teaspoons per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry strength liquid extract: 10-60 drops 1-4 times per day.
Mental picture and specific indications: Valerian is specific for support of atonic and functional nervous disorders and situations arising from cerebral vascular insufficiency. The individual may have a tendency to personality changes, feel light, as if floating in air, oversensitive, and experience hallucinations at night. There may be symptoms of itching and muscle spasms at night and rheumatic pains in limbs with sciatica and jerking.
Use: (a) Sedative, (b) Relaxing nervine, (c) Antispasmodic, (d) Anticonvulsant, (e) Hypotensive.
Valerian is used for restlessness, hysteria, emotional stress, pain, insomnia, anxiety, nervous palpitations, nervous irritation, cardiovascular arrhythmias, attention deficit and hyperactivity syndromes, gastrointestinal cramping, menstrual cramps, shingles and backaches. It has shown antispasmodic activity in vitro on animal uteri. Valerian contains many constituents with pharmacological activity. They include the essential oil, sesquiterpenoids (valerianic acid) and epoxy iridoid esters (valepotriates) and their decomposition products. Additionally Valerian contains the amino acids (arginine,GABA, glutamine, tyrosine) and alkaloids.
Contraindications: The volatile components of valerian increase sleeping time induced by pentobarbital. It has been shown to potentiate the action of barbituates in general.