VALERIAN (valerian officcinalis) holds a special place of honor in the world of herbs as its roots have a remarkable effect on human cerebro-spinal . known for many centuries , the popularity of this herb is rapidly growing through out the world because of its reputation for relieving anxiety and insomnia . Effective as a sedative , valerian helps to improve sleep quality . it was in 1592 when Fabious calumna found that valerian has anticonvosant effects on eczemia , ulcers and minor injuries
Valerian is a perennial of the family valerinaceae that reaches about 5 feet ‘ its medicinal roots consist of long , cylindrical fibers , its stem is erect , grooved and hollow and the leaves are fernlike . Tiny flowers occur in umbrella-like clusters . The dried valerian roots have an unpleasant , penetrating odor . native to many parts of America . Asia .and Europe , valerian is perhaps best charecteraized as a minor tranquilizer when administered in the form of a tea . a tincture or an extract
Extensive studies on the extracts of valerian roots have identified , its active ingredients , which are mainly the unstable esters called valepotrites , and the volatile oil components that together have a strong sedative effect . The roots are harvested in autumn and are used fresh or dried . At cellular level , valerian Weakly binds to GABA_ A receptors in the central nervous system that actually has a sedating effect . The clinical evidence indicates that valerian is a relatively safer and milder substitute for the bezodiazepines like valium ‘for the manufacture of medicinal valerian products , fresh root of powdered freeze-dried root is used . The pressed root juice is used to form extracts or tinctures , where as powered root I used in making capsules and tablets . valerian products are commonly added to formulas that contain other calming , herbs like passion flower and lemon balm
The therapeutic efficacy of the root extracts of valerian in providing sedation has been confirmed by several clinical experiments . in one clinical study a team of Swiss researchers evaluated the effects of a valerian/lemon balm combination in healthy adults . The objective of this study was to assess tolerability of this herbal formulation while assessing its effect on sleep quality . For this , 98 healthy volunteers were given either placebo or three tablets of valerian /lemon balm formula about an hour before bed time ,. The over all tolerability was rated as good by 93 percent of those valerian/lemon balm group and 91percent of the placebo group . however among those taking valerian/lemon balm group and 91 percent of the placebo group . however among those taking valerian/33percent reported an improvement in sleep quality , as compared with only 9 percent in the placebo group . however , the use of valerian extract can take two to three weeks before significant benefits in sleep in sleep are achieved , besides , valerian can interact with alcohol , certain anthistamines , muscle relaxants , psychotrophic drugs and narcotics and so on , their combined use must be avoided
Animal studies have also shown that valerian reduces blood pressure , besides having an anti tumor effect . the valerian root has also been used for the treatment of painful menstruation , cramps and irritable bowel syndrome . An essential oil from the leaves and root is used as a flavoring agent in ice creams , baked goods and condiments . The valerian roots has also been used for the treatment of painful menstruation , cramps and irritable bowel syndrome . An essential oil from the leaves and roots used as flavouring agent an ice creams , baked goods and condiments . The oil of valerian is also used in making blended perfume oils , where it imparts
Valerian also .has an effect on the nervous on the nervous system of many ,animals , like rats , which seem to be thrown into a kind kind of intoxicant by the scent of this herb . This reminds one of the famous story of pied piper of Hymylin who lured hundreds of rats by playing his flute . Well more , than being a great flute player , the pied piper was possibly a good herbalist having knowledge of the value of valerian , so , he could be just carrying the valerian root in his pockets to attract the rats knows?