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VALERIAN

Scientific name: Valeriana officinalis

 

Valeriana officinalis, commonly called common valerian, apothecary valerian or medicinal valerian, is a perennial herb, belonging to the ancient Valerianaceae family, reclassified in the Caprifoliaceae family. It is naturally distributed throughout Europe and the temperate regions of Asia, and is naturalized in many other regions of the world.

 

Valerian: generic name derived from medieval Latin either in reference to the names of Valerius (which was quite a common name in Rome, Publius Valerius Publicola being the name of a consul in the early years of the Republic), or to the province of  Valeria, a province of the Roman empire, or with the word valere, "to be healthy and strong" from its use in folk medicine for the treatment of nervousness and hysteria.

Applications: In pharmacology and phytotherapy, the underground organs (rhizomes, roots and stolons) or usually their phytoextracts are used.

 

Chemical composition:

Essential oil: 0.5%, of highly variable composition. Sesquiterpenes: the most important are valerenic acids, beta-caryophyllene acidbeta-caryophyllene; valerenal, valeranone and acetoxyvalerenic. Iridoids: they are typical of valerian and are called valepotriates. Contains eugenyl and isoeugenil isovalerianate; monoterpenes (camphene, pinene). Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), glutamine, arginine. Traces of alkaloids (0.05-0.1%).

 

Properties: The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved its use as a traditional medicine to relieve mild nervous tension and as an aid in the treatment of insomnia; The EMA stated that, although there is insufficient evidence from clinical studies, its efficacy as a dried extract is considered plausible. It has psychoactive effects on the behavior of cats, which seem to be pleasant since its smell attracts them to consume it.

 

The fermented extract of valerian or its infusion is applied fumigated in organic farming to protect plants from late frosts. History Its use as a medicinal herb dates back to at least ancient Greece and the Roman Empire. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen subsequently prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed on the groom's wedding clothes to ward off "envy" from the elves.

 

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