Valeriana officinalis, which occurs in Europe and parts of Asia is a member of the family of the valerianaceae and might be one of the most well-known native herbal plants with its relaxing effect.
Use: The roots are used.
Active constituents: Alkaloids and essential oils, mostly mono- and sesquiterpenes.
Effects: Valerian lowers the excitability of the nerves and acts damping on the central nervous system and thereby relaxing and sleep inducing. People, who are used to the effects of stronger sedating agents (like alcoholics or tranquilizer-addicts), can often not feel anymore the effect of valerian. Two teaspoons of the roots are steeped in cold water for a couple of hours. The tea and most of all the tincture are less effective than the cold water extract.
Side effects: No side effects are known.
Suppliers: Pharmacies and herbal stores, seeds and plants in garden centers.
Miscellaneous: Excerpt from a personal communication:
“Currently, some friends are experimenting with a kava-valerian mixture (1:1 as tea steeped for about 20 minutes), which gave us not only beautiful dreams, but also an unexpected degree of relaxation.”
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