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Valerian Root Review

Article care of

What Is Valerian Root?

(valeriana officinalis)

Other Names: Capon's Tail, English Valerian

General Description: The Valerian is a tall perennial herb, native to Europe.

Parts Used: The root and rhizome

Active Ingredients: Valeric acid or valerenic acid.

Traditional Uses: Valerian was known to Dioscorides ( A.D. 41-68 ), in ancient Rome and has been used since that time as a mild sedative.

Current Status: Valerian is used extensively in Europe as a mild sleep aid and for anxiety. Several clinical studies on humans have shown it to safely relieve occasional insomnia.

Precautions: Valerian is generally recognized as safe and approved for food use by the U.S.F.D.A.

Most known for its sedative effect on the central nervous system. It is used for anxiety, nervous tension, insomnia, and general stress symptoms. Although it is a strong nervine, it leaves the person feeling refreshed rather than sluggish, in most cases; however, some people report that the use of Valerian causes bad dreams and grogginess. Another study shows Valerian to act as a sedative for the agitated and as a stimulant for the fatigued. Valerian can be used for the eyesight if it is weakened by a lack of energy in the optic nerve. It has some influence on the heart and circulation, as it increases the force of the heart and yet slows it down; thus, being used for cardiac palpitations. Other uses include: hysteria, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms, to promote menstruation, hypochondria, neuralgic pains, St. Vitus' Dance (a convulsive nervous disorder), flatulence, muscle spasms, spastic and irritable bowel, nervous dyspepsia, stomach cramps, fever, colds, heartburn, hangover, arthritis, acne, ulcers, dandruff, and pain. CAUTION: Should only be used short term and in normal doses; otherwise, it may cause headaches, muscular spasm and palpitations, and mental depression in some individuals. It is NOT for everyone and tends to be overused because of its success with certain individuals. The fresh root tincture seems to accomodate more types of people.

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