Valerian: An Herbal Profile
Valerian is such a lovely herb with peculiarly fragrant flowers that catch the eye and draw you in. It has been used for centuries safely as a sedative and treatment for insomnia.
There are other lesser known uses for Valerian as a digestive aid and for reducing the severity of asthma attacks. It helps with anxiety, nervousness, depression and a multitude of physical ailments like sciatica, restless legs, hypertension, and even night terrors and bedwetting.
It is not habit forming which is why so many people turn to it to help them sleep. Even in ancient Rome and Greece it was used in this manner. It can be taken before bed in the evening and will not cause grogginess in the morning. It is not like a sleep medication in that way. Expect to wake up refreshed and well-rested after taking valerian!
The roots are commonly used decocted into a tea or tinctured. A decoction is an herbal preparation of the roots, bark, or seeds of a plant. It is made by bringing the plant matter to a boil and simmering for about 20 minutes before straining.
Valerian is best used as needed but not every day. It is contraindicated during pregnancy and breastfeeding.
It is also a helpful herb for children who are having issues with hyperactivity, sleeplessness, and trouble concentrating or focusing. It mixes well with other herbs like chamomile, catnip, skullcap, and passionflower.
Valerian is easy to grow or it can be purchased already dried and ready to use.
What is your favorite way to use valerian?
Sarah is a wife, mom of 4, farm owner, and real food blogger at Real Food Outlaws. She is also an Master Herbalist and owns 90210 Organics, an Eco-boutique and Apothecary. She holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Clinical Nutrition from New York Chiropractic College and is a Clinical/Functional Nutritionist and Advanced Nutrition Response Testing™ Practitioner at Natural Health Improvement Center of South Jersey and Natural Health Improvement Center of Des Moines. You can often find her barefoot in the garden (or kitchen), or rummaging through a refrigerator (not necessarily her own).