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If you see a term you don't understand, be sure to check our Alternative Health Glossary of Medical Terms!

  • Color: Light brown to reddish brown
  • Oil Consistency: Medium
  • Perfumery Note: Base
  • Initial Aroma Strength: Strong
  • Scent: Warm-woody, balsamic, musky.

Action: Sedative, nervine, antispasmodic, analgesic, antiseptic, anticonvulsant.

Benefits, Indications: Because of its effect on the nervous system, it may help with insomnia, nervous dyspepsia, migraine, restlessness and tension. It is calming without exerting too sedative an effect and is practically non-addictive. It is a valuable treatment for insomnia, the sedative effect due to the valepotriates and the isovaleric acid.

At least two double-blind studies have demonstrated that valerian extract can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes people to fall asleep without changing the normal stages of sleep.



Documented research has noted a mild hypnotic action in both normal sleepers and insomniacs, indicated by a beneficial effect on sleep latency, wake-time after sleep, frequency of waking, nocturnal motor activity, inner restlessness and tension and quality of sleep. Sleepiness and dream recall the morning after were unaffected.

The valepotriates have a regulatory effect on the autonomic nervous system; research suggests that they have a calming effect on agitated people but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue. It helps relieve dysmenorrhea and it can be of benefit in migraine and rheumatic pain. It may also be applied locally as a treatment for cramps and other muscle tensions.

Chemical Constituents: Acetic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-ionone, calcium, caffeic acid, magnesium, manganese, quercitin, valeric acid

Companion Oils: Cedarwood, lavender, mandarin, oakmoss, patchouli, petitgrain, pine, rosemary

Precautions: Possible contact sensitization from repeated use.

Science and Research


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