Valerian

(Valerian officinalis)

 

Where is it found?

            Valerian is native to Europe and Western Asia.  It is also found in Canada and the Southern United States (http://www.hort.purdue.edu, 2003).

What does it look like?

            Valerian “spreads horizontally…the stem is hollow…the leaves are opposite (7-10 pairs of toothed leaflets), the flowers…are white or pale pink…and it has 3 stamens.  The tiny fruits have a crown of feathery fluff” (http://www.gov.mb.ca, 2003).

What are the medical uses?

            Valerian has been used as a tranquilizing agent.  Valerian is also used for nervous tension, insomnia and headache.  Valerian has also been used to decrease muscle spasms and to lower blood pressure (http://www.herbnet.com, 2003).

What chemicals are in it?

            Valerian contains the diuretics Caffeic-acid, chlorogenic-acid, and kaempferol.  It also contains the antihypertensive chemical Quercetin.  Other chemicals include the alkaloids Valerine, Valerianine, Chatinine, Tannins, and Resins.  It also contains Valeric acid, isovaleric acid, 1-pinene, 1-comphene, 1-borneol, and terpineol (http://www.hort.perdue.edu, 2003), (Dr. Duke, 2003).