Valerian root is in the Caprifoliaeae (Honeysuckle) family. There are many species of valerian, most medicinal, commonly used as an herbal sleep aid. Roots is the most commonly used but the leaves may also be used for medicine, though they are less potent than the roots.
Valerian grows from 1 to 5 feet tall depending on the location and the soil conditions. It was straight round stem that is topped by an umbrella-like flower-head. Its opposite dark green leaves have an pinnate blade with 6 to 11 pairs of terminal leaflets. These leaflets have prickly margins and are hairy underneath. Valerian flowers are in branched batches and each flower is about ⅕ in long. They are tiny white to pink blossoms. The flower has three stamens and a distinctive scent.
Insomnia: Many people, including myself, report that they get to sleep faster and can sleep longer without warning when consuming valerian root. They also report that they awaken refreshed without residual drowsiness. It can become habit forming so only use it when needed.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks: Valerian root has a calming effect that is beneficial to people with panic and anxiety disorders. Known as a nerve tonic, calming and soothing to the nervous system.
Epilepsy: Has a relaxing effect on the muscles of the body. For regular usage use dosage 100 mg to 1 gram of dried or powdered root. Start with low dosage, depending on the persons size and the severity of the disease and increase it gradually until you find a level that works. Consult with your herbalist or medical consultant to be sure it works with any other medications you could be taking.
Menstraul Cramps: Because of valerian root’s analgesic properties and it s ability to relax the smooth muscles this herb makes a good treatment for pain and cramping during menstruation.
Quitting Smoking: Valerian root is calming and helps lessen the effects of nicotine withdrawal. It especially helps with the irritability people often experience when quitting. Use in tincture form for this.
Cut the flowering tops off as they appear. This enables a better development of the root. In the first year, many of the young plants do not flower but produce a luxuriant crop of levas. Harvest enter root system; planting some back for utter harvests. Slice roots into small sections and dry for future use.
Valerian exerts a quieting and soothing influence upon the brain and nervous system. However, in large repeated doses it can cause headaches, heaviness and stupor. It can become addictive, only use when needed.