Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis
Other names: All heal
Part used: root
Action (karma): antispasmodic, sedative, nervine, tonic, anodyn, cathartic, diaphoretic, diuretic, carminative, antithemic, digestive, expectorant, stomachic
Dose: Simmer 2 grams in a covered pot for 20 minutes, then brew for 10 minutes, strain and add a sweetner if necessary.
Contraindications: for a low percentage of people valerian acts as a stimulant, if this is your experience it is advisable to discontinue the use of this herb and find one that better suits your metabolism.
Safety: prolonged use may cause headaches, skin reaction, restlessness so it is recommended to take for 2 – 3 weeks at a time, then break for several weeks.
All parts of the plant have the active chemical with sedative properties, with the roots having the highest concentration. As valerian targets the higher brain centers with a suppressing and regulation action to the autonomic nervous system, if is very effective in dispelling psychosomatic ailments. Valerian is known to sedate and quieten the nervous system and relieve muscle spasms, without the side effects experienced when taking pharmaceutical tranquilisers.
Ref: ‘Ayurvedic Medicine’ by Sebastian Pole; ‘Ayurvedic Pharmacology & Therapeutic Uses of Medicinal Plants’ by Vaidya V.M. Gogte; ‘Yogi of Herbs’ by V. Lad & D. Frawley; ‘Herbs Are Special’ by Isabel Shipard.