Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is native to Europe and the temperate regions of Asia, and is cultivated in Europe, Japan, and the U.S. It is a member of the Valerianaceae faimly. The plant has white to bright pink flowers and a strong fragrance. Valerian root and underground stem can be used medicinally. The pharmological effects of valerian have been attributed to valepotriates (iridoid esters), volatile oils, monoterpenes (berneol), and sesquiterpenes (valerenic acid, valerenons, and kessyl glycol) constituents. Valerian has been attributed with sedative, antidepressant, anxiolytic, anticonvulant, and antispasmodic effects. It has been used for insomnia, anxiety, mental strain, lack of concentration, migraine, headache, and menstruation and menopause symptoms.
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Cautions Orally, valerian can cause headache, excitability, and insomnia.