Valerian: The Sleep Inducing Plant

Valerian: The Sleep Inducing Plant

Valerian has been a well-known plant since the Greeks and Romans used it as a remedy for digestive problems, menstrual cramps, and some urinary tract ailments.

Although the plant has properties to attack these problems, it is its compounds with sedative effects on the body, which control insomnia and anxiety, that have made valerian popular.

Valerian is native to both Europe and Western Asia but today it can be grown in any region and any climate on the planet. It usually grows 60 cm tall and produces bouquets of small but very fragrant, sweet-smelling flowers in white, pink or purple colors.

Valerian, common valerian, apothecary valerian or medicinal valerian, alfeñique, herb or cat herb.

Latin: Valeriana officinalis L.
Spanish: valerian, minor valerian, cat grass, valreana, brizos
Catalan: valerian
Basque: velar beidenkatu, pufabelarr
Galician and Portuguese: valeriana French: valériane, herbe aux chats, herbe à la meurtrie
English: valerian, great wild valerian, cat’s valerian, all heal, stwall, capon’s tail
Dutch: valeriaan, baldriaan, kattekruid
German: Arznei-Baldrian Italian: valerian, jungle tuberose, amantilla, agnellino, bosone, erba gatta, gataria

The part used for medicinal purposes is its roots, which when fresh have very little odor, but once they are old they give off a very penetrating and unpleasant smell. Its scientific name is Valeriana officinalis.


Valerian root has many properties that are beneficial to the human body, but it must be consumed with care (see contraindications). Among the properties of valerian we can mention:

It serves to soothe certain types of pain such as irregular menstrual cycles, colic, fever and stomach ulcers

Has properties that help counteract the flu and its symptoms

It has relaxing properties that help calm headaches and also serve to calm anxiety

Valerian root is also used to induce sleep, which in most cases can be a pleasant effect, although in certain people it can be intense.

It has properties that affect the central nervous system, and it relaxes muscles as well as releases stress.

Valerian has properties that help fight attention deficit disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome.

Valerian root extract is used to minimize brain inflammation in patients with the development of Alzheimer's.

It serves in the veterinary, helping to calm stress and even blood pressure in dogs.

The components of valerian root have the ability to activate the production of a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The effect of this neurotransmitter is to control the states of excitement of the central nervous system, both in humans and in animals, in fact, in all mammals.

Valerian not only promotes the production of GABA, it has a function that simultaneously enhances the effect of GABA. Valerian root helps to release the neurotransmitter at the ends of neurons and at the same time, they have a blocking effect, that is, it makes the production of GABA continue without the body eliminating it and it accumulates in the nervous system central for a certain time until causing the relaxation of the muscles, the decrease of anxiety and the release of stress.

The properties of valerian are directly related to the nervous system and therefore the brain. Although there are not many scientific studies that prove its effectiveness, valerian is used to treat various problems related to the nervous system and the brain such as anxiety, psychological stress, general nervousness, attention deficit disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome and tremors in the hands.

Both valerian officianalis and valerian amurensis have been studied by Chinese scientists, all in order to treat Alzheimer's disease and it has been discovered that the root extract of these types of valerian helps to prevent the inflammatory response of the cerebral cortex and the hippocampus. It is well known that this type of inflammation plays an important role in the development of Alzheimer's.

For dogs that suffer from anxiety or that show fear and therefore develop behaviors contrary to their nature, the use of valerian may have better results than the medications prescribed for these types of problems since it does not cause significant side effects and there are not many chances of its use becoming addictive.

The muscle relaxant effect and lowering blood pressure in dogs through the use of valerian has been shown to be very helpful in reducing stress in circumstances where dogs are disturbed, such as traveling in cars, staying in houses or places that are unfamiliar or when faced with the inclusion of a new member of the family, such as another pet or a baby.


Obtaining the relaxing and sedative benefits of valerian is very simple through a tea, although its preparation requires more time than any other infusion. You just need to pour 1 tablespoon of dried and crushed valerian root into a cup. Cold or warm water is added and the infusion is allowed to steep overnight.

This method will get the most benefit from valerian as its components break down and valerian loses its effect when boiled.

For external applications, an infusion of 100 grams of valerian root in two liters of hot water must first be made, which after ten minutes is filtered and added to the bath water. The temperature of the bath should be 34-37 ° C and the duration of the bath should be ten to twenty minutes.

Maceration: one teaspoon for each cup or glass. Let it marinate for 8 hours. Drink after straining an hour before going to bed.


When used with alcohol, valerian can make you very drowsy. Do not drink alcohol when you are using valerian.

Valerian can have various effects on the body when used in conjunction with certain medications. Care must be taken not to use valerian when being medicated with any drug that has effects on the central nervous system, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antihistamines.

Its use should also be avoided when using antifungals and cholesterol-lowering drugs, since the liver releases certain enzymes to assimilate valerian and these enzymes can alter the effects of these drugs.

Consuming valerian can cause heart palpitations, headaches, and an upset stomach. And its use should be avoided by pregnant or lactating women, both women and female pets, and by young children as well. On the other hand, long-term use of valerian can exacerbate the very symptoms it is trying to reduce.

Tincture Preparation:

To an amber glass bottle or lined with paper add 100 milliliters of 70º alcohol and add 25 grams of shredded root.

Let it marinate for 10 days in a dry place in the shade. It can be put into a dropper to facilitate its consumption. Take ten drops 3 times a day, in a little water.

In case of sleep disorders it is recommended to take 10 drops before going to bed.


Video: Herbs, Roots u0026 Resins - Valerian (January 2022).