Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis)

The valerian flower can be easily identified by its white or pink petals. The plant is native to most parts of Europe and also parts of Western Asia. It grows naturally in a mild, temperate climate and can survive hot summers and moderately cold winters. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer and can reach a height of 1.5 metres (5 ft). Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the 16th century.

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The plant was used as a fragrance 500 years ago, but its medicinal benefits have also been well known for longer. In fact, some people call valerian as a “heal all”, and the essential oil that is extracted from this miracle plant has dozens of different applications. Valerian’s primary usage is to soothe anxiety or make it easier to go to sleep.
Other important health benefits of valerian include the ability to calm gastrointestinal troubles, reduce heart palpitations, protect the skin, reduce nervous disorders, lower blood pressure, stimulate cognitive ability, eliminate anxiety and stress and soothe menstrual cramps.
2009 Nov;15(11):RA256-62.