Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, also known as garden valerian, garden heliotrope, and All-heal) is a perennial flowering plant with pink or white flowers that bloom during summer. This medicinal plant is native to Europe and parts of Asia. You should bear in mind that red valerian is also sometimes referred to as valerian, but it is a different species (Centranthus ruber). The part of the plant used for medicinal purposes is the root, whether distilled into oils or dried and used in teas or capsules.
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Benefits of Valerian
Valerian is used as a general nervine. Nervine is a substance that has a tonic effect on the nerves and relieves tension and anxiety, which is why the main and most common use of valerian is a central nervous system relaxer.
- It is it beneficial in cases of nervous tension, depression, irritability, hysteria, panic, anxiety, fear, indigestion due to nervousness, delusions, exhaustion, and nervous sleeplessness.
- Also, it regulates blood pressure and arrhythmias and helps to treat attention deficit disorders, bedwetting, hyperactivity, hypertension and stress-related heart problems.
- However, Valerian has much more medicinal properties. It can also be beneficial in cases of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, (including numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness), shingles and sciatica.
- Besides, as it acts as a pain reliever, it helps to ease intestinal colic, joint pain, migraines, muscle pain, rheumatic pain, uterine cramps and even irritable bowel syndrome.
- Some women use valerian for menstrual cramps and various symptoms associated with menopause.
- Also, valerian is useful as a digestive aid, so this natural ingredient can be used in case of gas, diarrhea, constipation, and cramps, as well as to alleviate the pain of ulcers.
- Externally, valerian can be useful for the treatment of skin problems such as bruises, sores, acne and joint pain.
- Valerian is a safe herb, but you should use it only intermittently when needed. However, be careful and do not use this medicinal herb if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child.
You should also bear in mind that some people consider valerian to be both stimulating and sedating, depending on the situation and the individual. So if you are overly stimulated, you’d be better not to use it, just in case.
Here you have some uses of valerian:
1. Valerian tea
- 1-2 teaspoon dried valerian root.
- 1 cup water.
- Honey (optional).
- Boil the water.
- Remove from heat.
- Place 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml) of dried valerian root.
- Cover it to preserve volatile oils for 5-10 minutes.
- Pour into a teacup and sip your tea.
- If you want, you can add some honey.
You can drink several cups of tea before sleep (as needed), but bear in mind that this could make you go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, which will disturb your sleep. In many cases, people prefer to use tincture or capsules to avoid this problem.
2. Valerian capsules
- Take 2-3 capsules 1 hour before going to bed for insomnia.
- Or take 1-2 capsules at a time, 2-3 times a day for anxiety, muscle tension, or high blood pressure.
3. Valerian tincture
- Take ¾ to 1 teaspoon before bed to improve insomnia.
- Take 1-3 times a day for anxiety, tension, and high blood pressure. You should start with a low dose and then increase it as needed.
- Fill the tub with warm water and add 2 cups of valerian tea to restore restful sleep.