Valerian health benefits and therapeutic value

Medicinal valerian root

Its nickname, “heal-all” or “all-heal”, says it all on its many health benefits and high therapeutic value.

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a medicinal perennial herbbelonging to the Valerianaceae family, very common in Europe, Asia and America, often found in the underbrush of damp woods.

Health benefits of valerian

  • Dried valerian root is used in herbal medicine for its relaxing and sedative properties. It is an outstanding stress reliever that helps wind down nervous states like anxiety and excitement. It is recommended to treat motor tics, heart palpitations and asthma attacks.
  • Valerian favors unwinding and sleep without creating any addiction. If you’re restless before sleeping or that your sleep is troubled by nervous disorders, valerian is for you.
  • Valerian is also recommended to treat arterial hypertension when due to stress.
  • Valerian is also very effective in treating painful stomach contractions, muscle and joint pain and cramps thanks to its soothing effect on the nervous and muscle system.

Important note: Medicinal valerian is the main plant in the Valeriana family. An active compound that appears in all plants of the family is valproic acid, a relaxing agent. If you take some during pregnancy, notably during the first trimester, your child is at higher risk of birth defects (1 to 2% more) than other children. Such defects include spina bifida, hypospadias (an abnormality in the urethra in boys), atrial septal defect (hole in the walls of the heart), polydactyly (having extra fingers/toes), craniosynostosis and cleft palate. Do not use this herb while pregnant or if there’s a chance you might conceive!

Growing valerian for its health benefits

Valerian likes growing in rocky ground, in full sun, but in dry and well-drained soil.

After settling in, valerian requires strictly no care, not even watering.

When it pleases itself in a given location, it tends to spread and sometimes becomes outright invasive, all the more so that it seeds itself easily. Take note of this!

No valerian in cooking… yet

Herbal tea, infusion, decoction, essential oil, tincture and gelcaps: valerian is used in many forms for its therapeutic benefits, but it hasn’t yet made it to becoming an ingredient in an everyday recipe… Who shall create this legacy?

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: xbqs42