Valeriana is a perennial herb that grows throughout Europe. It is also cultivated in the United States and Japan. It has slightly pink flowers that grow in the summer. The species is divided into several subspecies, while its characteristic features are present in both wild and cultivated plants.
In modern phytotherapy, the Valeriana root and its concoctions are used as tranquilizers, antispasmodic and mild hypnotics, improving the quality of sleep in anxious situations. Generally, it is known to effectively reduce nervousness, irritability and emotional stress. Drug preparations are light brown in color with a weak and severe odor.
Valeriana has been used as a medicinal plant since the time of Ancient Greece and Rome. The concoctions of the roots are used as mild tranquilizers. Due to the common use of the name Valeriana, it is often mistakenly confused with the species Valerianella locusta, which is used as a salad vegetable. The name Valeriana comes from the Latin name Valeria from the verb valere, which means being strong and healthy.
The effect of Valeriana root is associated with the combined ability of its components to soothe the centers of the nervous system and cause the relaxation of smooth muscle fibers. Ingredients of the extract include, but are not limited to, isovalerate and valeranone and, after dehydration, contain approximately 0.8% valepodrites, compounds of the iridoid class. Valeriana is still being studied for the association of its components with the effects from a long-term use. It is used instead of or gradually for the recovery from synthetically active components.
- (Samuelsson, 2004)