Valeriana officinale

Plant family: Valarianaceae (Valerian family)

Part used: root

Taste: bitter, aromatic

Historical commentary: Valerian has been known for its peculiar fragrance; in the Middle Ages, it was adopted as a treatment for convulsions (epilepsy), and later as a general treatment for nervous system agitation.


Sedative: for nervous tension, restlessness, and insomnia.

Antispasmodic: relieves muscular contractions.

Modern findings: valerian is confirmed to have mild sedative and antispasmodic actions.

Dosage: 2-3 grams.

Active constituents: there are two main groups of active components, one is iridoid lactones called valtrates, and the other is essential oils, comprised mainly of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes. There is conflicting information about which group of active constituents contributes the sedative action.

Cautions: none known.

Künzle Formulas: Tea for Tension, Tea for Mood, Tea for Sleep.