La valerian It is a classic when it comes to looking for a natural remedy to help calm your nerves. Therefore, it is considered one of the most recognized herbaceous plants for its extensive medicinal properties. A wide variety of products derived from this plant are marketed worldwide and few people know about it.
Therefore, we are going to dedicate this article to tell you everything you need to know about valerian, its characteristics, uses, cultivation and properties.
Common valerian has its scientific name known as Valeriana officinalis. It belongs to the Caprifoliaceae family and is mainly distributed by forests, river banks and all wetlands that have grasslands, especially from the northern hemisphere.
Valerian is a perennial herb. It can grow up to 2 meters tall, with an erect, hollow stem. It is strong and striated. For its part, the leaves of this plant are opposite, pinnate. Petioles on upper leaves are shorter and sometimes sessile. The flowers are white or pink. In a flat inflorescence, a central part and two lateral ones appear. The calyx of the valerian flower is tubular, about 2,5 mm long. The flowering season is spring and summer.
As for the fruit, it is an achene. It appears in the form of rhizomes, ovoids, yellow on the outside and white on the inside. The main active ingredient in this plant is found in its roots.
For thousands of years, valerian has been considered one of the best drugs for balancing the nervous system, and actually It has no contraindications or causes any type of addiction. Its main therapeutic effects are anxiolytics, natural sedatives and muscle relaxants, especially in the abdominal area. In the case of menstrual cramps, it is considered appropriate.
Out of curiosity we would say that valerian acts as a psychotropic drug for cats. They are drawn to consume because of its fragrance, which has a direct impact on their behavior. The most important active ingredient is valepotriados. They are easily degradable products and difficult to obtain in industrialized products. We can only find them in valerian essential oil.
These active principles act on gamma aminobutyric acid, a neurotransmitter that increases concentration in the brain and relaxes the central and autonomic nervous system. In this way, you can relieve anxiety and muscle tension.
One of the best known functions of valerian is its ability to fight insomnia. An infusion or a few drops of essential oils can help to relax, improve the quality of rest and, most importantly, they will not cause any type of adverse reactions - upon waking - such as hangovers or dizziness. For this reason, it is recommended not to take it immediately before bedtime, as it can cause the opposite effect.
It is an ideal complement for patients undergoing treatment to stop smoking because it helps to calm anxiety and improve the ability to sleep, which can be altered by the lack of nicotine in the body.
Cultivation of valerian
Growing this plant requires a warm to temperate climate with sufficient humidity. It can grow in half shade or in full sun, in the latter case good humidity conditions must be ensured.
The most suitable soils are the loose, moist, deep, fertile and rich in organic ingredients. It is better to have a soil with a neutral pH.
The reproduction of valerian is through seeds, which can be obtained when the fruit begins to turn yellow. The correct place to plant seeds is a seedbed with well-crushed soil to facilitate rooting. Cover the seeds with a layer of soil no more than twice the diameter of the seeds. This job should be finished by late winter.
About 20 days after germination, small valerian can be transplanted into the garden. For this reason, it is recommended to perform certain soil preparation tasks in advance, such as plowing the soil, fertilizing, adding organic matter, and cleaning any other types of grasses.
They require a lot of watering, 3 or 4 times a month. Always be careful not to let the soil lose moisture. Weeding work should be done regularly. From the second year of life, the valerian root can be collected. It is important to cut the upper part of the flower before collecting the rhizome, since once the inflorescence appears, the active principles of the plant will be reduced. Spring and fall are the best times of the year to harvest roots. These must be removed very carefully since the active principles of valerian are just under the skin of the rhizomes.
Benefits and uses
These are the main problems that valerian can help solve:
- It reduces stress.
- Mild tremors
- Muscle and joint pain
- Stomach ache.
- Menstruation pains
- Liver disorders
- Symptoms of menopause.
Valerian is definitely a wonderful plant, it is really amazing and shows you its positive effects on health. The relaxing and calming effects of valerian are easy to get from tea, although it takes longer to brew than any other infusion. Simply put 1 tablespoon of crushed and dried valerian root in a cup. Then add cold or warm water and let this infusion steep overnight.
It is very powerful, but does not create addiction or dependence in people. The main characteristic of valerian is that it is very useful for sleeping. Studies have shown that valerian root extract can not only help you relax, but also help you fall asleep faster. Also, if used in combination with other herbs, it can be very effective because it helps calm coughs and has a positive effect on cardiovascular health.
To help us treat coughs, this plant can be combined with eucalyptus and lemon balm. Another excellent characteristic of it is that, thanks to valerian, you can provide a calming effect to your body, thus reducing the pain of cramps.
I hope that with this information you can learn more about valerian and its characteristics.