Valerian (Valeriana spp)
How does it work?
Valerian is a western herbal medicine used for itsanxiolytic,sedative, hyponotic and spasmolytic actions.1 This is due to containing a combination of volatile oils, alklaloids and amino acids such as arginine, GABA, glutamine and tyrosine.2 Valerian is used to calm the central nervous system and shows antispasmodic activity on smooth muscle therefore has been researched extensively for treating insomnia, anxiety, psychological stress states, muscle spasm and cramping.3 Research has shown Valerian to be effective for improving sleep however the results are varied amongst individuals from one hour to two weeks consecutive use.4
What results can be expected?
Valerian is a mild sedative and anxiolytic herbal medicine which may assist in improving sleep quality and duration, and the time it takes to fall asleep in those experiencing insomnia or anxiety related insomnia.5 It may also reduce muscle spasm and cramping experienced in irritable bowel syndrome, colic or cramping in dysmenorrhoea.6
1Mills, S. (2001). Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone pp581.
2Heinrich, M. (2004). Fundamentals of Pharmacognosy and Phytotherapy. London: Churchill Livingstone pp235.
3Braun, L. &. Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements (3rd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier pp913.
4Braun, L. &. Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements (3rd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier pp913-16.
5Braun, L. &. Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements (3rd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier pp913.
6Braun, L. &. Cohen, M. (2010). Herbs and Natural Supplements (3rd ed.). Chatswood: Elsevier pp915.