Valerian plant has sweetly scented white or pink flowers. Although native to Europe and some parts of Asia, it has now also been introduced in North America. The flowers of the this plant bloom from June to September in the northern hemisphere. The larvae of some species of butterfly and moths consume it as food. Valerian plant has many names, among them are all-heal, garden heliotrope, garden Valerian. The word Valerian in Latin means "to be strong or healthy". Now let's see what are the uses of this root.
Medicinal Valerian Root Uses
Valerian root is distilled to make oils and ointments or is dried to use in tea or capsules. It is available in the form of capsules, tablets, tinctures and liquid extracts. These roots were used in ancient Greece to treat a variety of medical disorders, like liver problems, digestive ailments, insomnia, urinary tract disorders and nausea. It has been used to treat problems with the nervous system as well. Traditionally it has also been used to treat epilepsy and hysteria and is also used as a diuretic.
Research has shown that Valerian root helps in relaxing the central nervous system. It induces peaceful sleep without any grogginess in the morning. It is safe if taken in small quantities with alcohol, but it is not recommended though. It is also known to reduce stress and exhaustion. It is beneficial to treat conditions like depression, irritability, hysteria, anxiety, fear, panic, and delusions, as it is a mild tranquilizer. If a person suffers from stomach cramps or indigestion due to nervousness, these roots can prove to be beneficial.
Among many other benefits of Valerian roots, it is useful to treat behavioral problems in adults as well as children. It was especially found to be beneficial to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), bed-wetting, and anxiety headaches. In some cases, this root was also used to treat nail biting and thumb sucking in children. It has been observed that it also has a stabilizing effect on blood pressure. In rare cases, it has also been used to treat the convulsions from seizures. Migraine symptoms can also be treated with Valerian root.
Along with the above mentioned benefits, it is also helpful in alleviating digestive system problems, including irritable bowel syndrome. Gas, diarrhea, and pain related to ulcers can be treated with Valerian roots. Consumption of this root also helps in relieving stomach cramps. Asthma patients also have benefited from it as it reduces the discomfort caused by asthma attack.
Other Valerian Root Uses
Valerian root is a cat attractant, like catnip. This is due to an active compound called actinidine. According to anecdotes, it is also attractive to rats, therefore it has also been used in 'eat baits'. In some versions of the 'Pied Piper of Hamelin'. It is believed that he used Valerian on himself as well as his pipes to attract the rats.
There are some side effects of this wonder plant though. Some side effects were seen in pregnant and lactating women. Children should also not be given Valerian root. Since it is broken down in the liver, in rare cases, it can cause liver damage. Hence, it is always recommended to speak to your health care professional before using it. If you are on any medication, always consult your doctor and know if there are any possible reactions, if coupled with Valerian root. It is also advised that, this root should not be used everyday. There are many brands that manufacture Valerian root products. Therefore, always consult your pharmacist, to check for any contents that may have side effects.