Valerian RootValeriana officinalis
Energetics: Warming (increasing blood flow), Slightly Drying, Moving (due to aromatic compounds)
Actions: Sedative, Antispasmodic (Relaxes spasms & cramps), Nervine (Calms nervous system), Hypnotic (Sleep-inducing)
Found In: Lights Out
Also known as garden valerian, Mexican valerian, or Pacific valerian, this robust and tall plant has been traditionally used for centuries for insomnia and anxiety as it aids to induce sleep and relaxation of the mind and body . Known by some as "nature's Valium," research shows that valerian has a mechanism of action that is similar to benzodiazepines because it can inhibit enzyme-induced breakdown of GABA in the brain resulting in sedation . (GABA) is an amino acid that functions as the primary inhibitory neurotransmitter for the central nervous system.
Human subject research shows that valerian is associated with the increase in rapid eye movement (REM) sleep during the latter stages of sleep. REM sleep, or deep sleep is integral to restorative sleep, encourages better memory and learning capabilities .
Because of its warming, moving and relaxing properties, valerian too has been known by many herbalists to encourage the menstrual cycle when PMSing, and can aid with the feeling of sleeplessness or insomnia often related to the menstrual cycle .
- P J Houghton. The Scientific Basis for the Reputed Activity of Valerian. Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, Volume 51, Issue 5, May 1999, Pages 505–512.
Kiefer D. Valerian For Insomnia: The "Natural" Valium. Relias Media. 2007;10(10):109109-113.
- A. Juarascio, Norma G.Cuellar, et al. Chapter 9 - Alternative Therapeutics for Sleep Disorders. Therapy in Sleep Medicine. 2012, Pages 126-139
- Björn Rasch and Jan Born. About Sleep's Role in Memory. American Physiological Society 2013 Apr; 93(2): 681–766.
Zahra B., Elham R.B., Roghaieh S. G.et al. The effect of Valerian root extract on the severity of pre menstrual syndrome symptoms J Tradit Complement Med. 2016 Jul; 6(3): 309 315.