Valerian, due to its calming effect, is used widely to treat states of agitation and as a sedative in sleep disorders because it can reduce the time needed to fall asleep and improves sleep quality.


What is Valerian?


Valerian is the common name of Valeriana officinalis, a plant whose rhizome and whose roots, dried, are used in the form of extract, infusion or tincture in the treatment of various disorders of nervous origin. It can also be used as a carminative (substances capable of preventing the formation of gas in the intestines or favor the emission of gas), although this use is less common.


The mechanism of action of Valerian depends on the presence of particular acids, which can inhibit the activity of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), chemical mediator responsible for neuronal excitability. The carminative activity of Valerian depends instead on the presence of terpenes and flavonoids, which produce a calming effect on cramps and abdominal pain.


How should Valerian be taken?


Valerian is available in many forms: tablets, candy, tea, tincture.


Side effects associated with Valerian


Although it has a very low toxicity, acute use, overuse and/or too prolonged use this substance can cause headache, insomnia, excitability, bradycardia (slow heart rate), increased blood pressure.


Contraindications and warnings associated with the use of Valerian


The use of this herbal remedy is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation. It should not be used in children under six years old and it should not be taken simultaneously with other medications such as barbiturates, due to the risk of creating a state of excessive sedation.