Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a perennial with green leaves with slender flower stalks with pink, lilac or white flowers. It is widely used for migraine headaches, and as an herbal sedative.
Valerian root enhances the natural body process of slipping into sleep and making the stresses of the day recede. It improves sleep quality, particularly for those who sleep poorly or irregularly and for smokers. Appropriate doses for a short period — no more than 2-3 weeks — will assist in reminding your body how to relax, without the assistance of the valerian.
Valerian also acts as an antispasmodic, particularly effective for muscle cramping, uterine cramps and intestinal colic. As a pain reliever, it is most effective where the pain is produced by a tensing or tension in the body.
For sedative use:
A tea can be made of two teaspoons of powdered root steeped ten to fifteen minutes in a cup of boiling water. Have the honey ready, as this is extremely bitter!
For pain relief/muscle cramps:
Obtain capsules and take 300 to 500 mg (depending on your size) no more than every 6 hours.
Cautions and Side Effects
Do not use when breastfeeding without getting professional advice first. Avoid with drugs such as diazepam or amitriptyline. Do not drink alcohol. May intensify the effects of sleep-enhancing or mood-regulating drugs. Discontinue use if you experience palpitations, nervousness, headaches or insomnia.