Valerian root or Valeriana officinalis has been used for centuries for its grounding, calming and emotional balancing properties. In the past 30 years, it has been clinically tested for its relaxing components. Studies have identified its active constituents to contain valerenic acid, sesquiterpenes and valerone. These are responsible for the restorative and calmic effect of the oil to the central nervous system. Health authorities in Germany have declared Valerian to be an efficient aid for the body’s requirements.
Valerian is a flower that always blossoms in parts of Asia and Europe and currently is grown widely in America. There are more than 250 or more varieties of the plant as well as its medical applications and side effects. 500 years ago, the plant was used as an ingredient in creating fragrances but its medical benefits have also been known through the centuries. Some people have called this plant the “heal all” and its oil is extracted for several applications.
Valerian Essential Oil contains a grounding and calming fragrance that is characterized as a musty and woody aroma that not every person likes. Animals however, seem to be attracted to this scent. Valerian root is ideal to treat restlessness, insomnia and de-stressing. You can include this oil in your first aid kit for the house and in the barn.
Valerian Essential Oil Benefits
Valerian Essential Oil benefits include:
- Protects the skin from infection and reduces the appearance of wrinkles
- Helps in resolving insomnia and improves sleep quality
- Reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes
- Helps in regulating blood pressure
- Helps improve moods and reduces anxiety
- Relief from severity and discomfort of menstrual pains
- Helps in easing upset stomachs and induces healthy bowel movements and urination
Valerian Essential Oil Uses
- Valerian Essential Oil as Brain Stimulant. For hundreds of years, Valerian root has been used to enhance brain activity. It stimulates various parts of the brain and increases the circulation to keep the brain fresh and active. Elderly people and students consume the root to increase their academic performance and to protect their memory and to delay any cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
- Valerian Essential Oil for Menstrual Cramps. Valerian Essential Oil has a relaxing nature that makes it a popular therapy for pregnancy and menstrual issues. It reduces the discomfort and severity of menstrual pains and provides relief for women who experience pain and difficulty during pregnancy.
- Valerian Essential Oil for Sleep Disorders. The most researched benefit of Valerian Essential Oil is its insomnia-fighting properties and how it can improve sleep quality. It has active components that coordinate the ideal release of essential hormones as well as its ability to balance the cycles of the body that stimulates a restful and undisturbed sleep. This has been one of its primary uses since the ancient times.
- Valerian Essential Oil for Anxiety and Depression. Valerian oil is used to alleviate mood swings and can even work to reduce stress and anxiety. In the same way it enables people to have a rested sleep, it also helps in reducing the negative chemicals and energy in the body that triggers stress and anxiety. The oil helps rebalance the body to increase calm and peace.
- Valerian Essential Oil for Stomach Issues. The oil is a natural solution for gastrointestinal issues and problems. It quickly eases upset stomach and induces healthy urination and bowel movement. It helps detoxify the body as well as improves the nutrient absorption in the intestines, improving health and bodily functions in several ways.
- Valerian Essential Oil for Lowering Heart Palpitations. The oil is linked to reducing heart palpitations. The essential compounds of the oil interact with the oils and acids of the heart to promote a normal metabolic rate that calms down the erratic performance of the cardiovascular system.
- Valerian Essential Oil as Skin Protector. With the topical or external application of the oil on your skin, it can infuse it with a healthy blend of nutritive oils which work to delay the appearance of wrinkles and functions as a barrier for viruses and this keeps your skin healthy.
Valerian Essential Oil Side Effects
Valerian oil, specially the high-grade type, typically does not have contraindications. However, these are some side effects that long-time users have observed:
- Excessive consumption can lead to dizziness, stomachaches, cramps, mild depression and occasional skin rash or hives.
- Valerian is known to slow down the central nervous system so it’s not recommended for use if you will undergo surgery. If combined with anesthesia and other medications used during the surgery it will affect the central nervous system. Stop taking the oil at least 2 weeks before the scheduled surgery.
How to Use Valerian Essential Oil
- In Aromatherapy. Apply a few drops of Valerian oil in an aroma lamp and burn before bedtime or mix with carrier oils like coconut oil and massage into the skin. Another alternative is to mix a few drops into your bath water during the evening to promote a sound sleep. It is the alternative to prescription drugs for sleeping disorders. Its aroma also combats seizures, neuralgia, anxiety, stress, mental strain, trauma, tension, depression and restlessness.
- In skin creams. The topical application of the oil helps in maintaining the health of your skin. Add a few drops of Valerian Essential Oil into your skin cream to treat dry scaly skin. You can also blend it with your favorite carrier oils. The soothing effect calms and cools down skin quickly. It also contains antibacterial properties that provide remedy for burns, wounds, cuts, open sores, bruises, eczema, psoriasis, boils, itchiness, scars, acne, stings and insect bites.
- As a brain supplement. The root itself when consumed is used as a brain booster as it was used for thousands of years. It stimulates different part of the brain and increases blood circulation. It is consumed by the elderly and student to increase academic performance and to delay cognitive disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
How to Make Valerian Oil
Valerian Oil can be derived from the steam distillation of its flowers. The resulting oil is quite viscous compared to other essential oils, so it should be used while still warm. The root is also used for various medicinal preparations.
Valerian Essential Oil Recipe
1 part dried Valerian root (1/2 cup)
2 parts vodka (preferably 80-100 proof around 1 cup)
- Fill a jar halfway with the Valerian root. Pour the vodka to the top of the jar. Cover and shake well. Label the jar with its start date to keep track of how long you will be steeping it.
- Put the jar in a dark and warm area (like a kitchen cabinet). Let the mixture steep 3 to 5 weeks or more. Shake it occasionally.
- When ready, strain the mix using a cheesecloth and squeeze as much liquid as possible. Pour the liquid in a clean jar and store in a dark, cool area.
As a potent tonic to cure insomnia, here are 3 simple recipes:
- Take 400 to 900 mg of Valerian extract 2 hours before sleeping for as long as 28 days.
- Take 120 mg of Valerian extract mixed with 80 mg of lemon balm extract for 3 times a day for 30 days.
- Combine 187 mg of Valerian extract plus 2 hops extract tablets (41.9 mg per tablet) at bedtime for 28 days.
Where to Buy Valerian Essential Oil
You can purchase pure grade Valerian Essential Oil from Amazon.com and online websites selling botanical products such as Mountain Rose Herbs. You can also buy them from physical stores selling aromatherapy and essential oils.
More Information on Valerian Essential Oil
- In ancient Greece and Rome, Valerian root was used as a medical herb. A roman doctor with Greek ancestry named Galen prescribed this to treat insomnia.
- Valeria root is known to attract rats and cats. In some story versions of Pied Piper, he used Valerian with his pipes to attract rats out of the city.
- Blends well with lavender, cedar wood, mandarine, and pine oils.