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Valerian - Part of The Natures Aid Range

Valerian - Part of The Natures Aid Range
 

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) grows wild all over Europe and Asia colonising
damp places and swamps. Its name is said to come from the Latin word valere which
means to be well/strong/in health. Known principally for its calming and sleep i
nducing effects, Valerian is often referred to as natures Valium. It was used to
treat shell-shocked soldiers in World War 1 and civilians suffering from the stra
in of events during both World Wars. Valerian is also known as All-Heal and histo
rically has been used for anxiety, convulsions, cramp, epilepsy, hysteria, insomn
ia, irritable bowel, migraine, muscle soreness, nervousness, pain (including peri
od pain), premenstrual syndrome, shingles, stress, trauma, unruly children and ve
rtigo.

The Benefits of Valerian
Disturbed sleep patterns - numerous studies have investigated the effects of Val
erian in people with difficulty in falling and remaining asleep. The results show
that Valerian promotes a deep and satisfying sleep, helping people fall asleep q
uicker and reducing the frequency and length of sleepless episodes during the nig
ht. Unlike many prescription sleep medicines, Valerian does not cause grogginess
the following day.
Anxiety and Panic Attacks - helps to relieve anxiety by reducing excess activity
in the brain and spinal cord.
Restlessness - Valerian has a sedative effect, reducing locomotor (skeletal musc
le) activity and generally calming subjects.
Intestinal and Menstrual Cramps - Valerian causes the smooth muscle of the diges
tive tract and uterus to relax, relieving the symptoms of menstrual cramps and di
gestive disorders.
Behavioural disorders - In subjects with poor concentration ability, Valerian ha
s been shown to significantly increase performance. One study demonstrated a 74.4
% success rate in treating children with a variety of behavioural disorders inclu
ding gross nervous disorders, sleep disorders, headaches, migraines, learning dis
orders, enuresis (involuntary passing of urine) and anxiety.

Properties
Valerian has a characteristic pungent odour that develops as the root is dried a
nd stored. This odour is attributed to the products of a group of organic compoun
ds known as the valepotriates. These products, along with valerenic and isovaleri
c acids have a sedative effect and reduce activity in the central nervous system
(CNS). Valerenic acid decreases CNS activity by repressing the breakdown of gamma
-aminobutyric acid (GABA) an inhibitory neurotransmitter in the brain. Valepotria
tes and other components have an antispasmodic and relaxing effect on smooth musc
le. Valerian should be taken 30 minutes to 1 hour before retiring when used for s
leep disorders.
Contra-indications / Precautions
Valerian does not appear to cause lingering morning sleepiness, however it may i
mpair judgement for 2-3 hours after taking and drivers and operators of heavy mac
hinery should be cautioned. Valerian should not be taken by children under 3 year
s of age, pregnant or breast-feeding women or at the same time as other sedative
therapy. Children between 3 and 12 years old should take Valerian under medical s
upervision only and should take a proportion of the adult dose according to their
bodyweight.