Valerian root is used as a nerve sedative and anti-spasmodic as well as a remedy for hysteria and other nervous complaints. Used since ancient times, Valerian (its name derived from the Latin 'valere', meaning 'to be in health'), has long been valued around the world. Valerian root comes from the perennial flowering Valerian plant, a hardy plant with sweet smelling pink or white flowers that blooms in summer. The root, once processed and dehydrated, is used as a medicinal herb with sedative, anti-anxiety, and anti-insomnia effects in both tea and capsule form. Valerian has been used in this capacity since at least the Greek and Roman times and today is used not only because of these effects, but also as an anticonvulsant, migraine treatment, and pain reliever. It is native to Europe and some parts of Asia but is now cultivated in North America as well.
As Valarian is known to be a nontoxic sedative, dosing too much of the root can cause dizziness and drowsiness and as such Valarian should not be used before driving or operating heavy machinery. Similarly, being a depressant, chronic and continued use is not recommended as it could lead to apathy or mild depression. Valarian has a pungent, earthy aroma that is palatable to some but repellent to others. It is not recommended to combine Valarian with other sedatives and depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, or opiates as it can lead to depression of the central nervous system.