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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Valerian is the proper name of a plant which has been known to medicine for ages. Valeriana officinalis is the most frequently used species of Valeriana of the other 150 varieties.

What does valerian look like and where can it be found?

Valerian grows in several stages. In the first year of its habitation, the plant grows a rosette of leaves (which are pinnate and tailed) found right over the ground. In the second year a thick stem grows. The flowers are arranged in umbels. They are characterized by a fine structure and an intense scent. The underground part of valerian features the root and the rhizome, which are most important for medical therapy.

Valerian is found in Europe, Asia and North America. The plant usually does not occur in major clusters. It is typical of damp areas (river banks, peat bogs and similar). Note that the extract of valerian used for medical therapy and industrial purposes originates from cultivation, so there is no risk of natural extinction of this valuable plant species.

Active ingredient contents in valerian

The pharmaceutical material from valerian is its root. It contains an ethereal oil and the so-called valepotriates (iridoid triesters). The effect of the substances from valerian root is called "sedativum", which means that they calm down and fight insomnia. The specific scent of valerian alone favours quiet and relaxation. Interestingly enough, the effect is not limited to humans and affects animals as well (the plant is an aphrodisiac for cats).

Therapeutic indications for valerian root extracts

Valeriana officinalis is the most popular and valued plant with sedative properties. It is used in medicine in the form of liquid extracts (tinctures, valerian drops, tinctures combined with other sedative herbal extracts) or dry extracts (e.g. the medicine Valuherb in capsules).

The indications for administration of valerian root extracts are anxiety, nervousness, increased stress levels and the associated difficulty in sleeping and maintenance of physiological sleep. The valerian extract has a relatively quick and strong calming effect without major side effects typical of synthetic prescription sedatives. For most patients, the very smell of valerian helps to reduce nervous tension, relieve anxiety and facilitate sleep.

Due to its plant origin and high safety of use, all preparations with valerian root extracts are available over the counter at pharmacies. You can therefore treat yourself with valerian in states of excessive anxiety, irritability, overreactiveness to stress and insomnia.

The sedative effect can be increased by composite preparations. An interesting composition is a valerian root extract with an extract of the common hop (Humulus lupulus) (found in the medicine Valuherb). The common hop is more known in the brewing industry, but it is also used in medicine. Apart from facilitating falling asleep, it also aids in sedation and helps to calm down.

Products containing Valerian

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