A bit of history
The healing properties of valerian have been known to people since ancient times. Presumably the name Valeriana comes from Latin valere - to be healthy. The German name Balderian comes from the name of the Germanic god of light Baldur, the son of Freya and Odin, revered by the ancient Germans. Even the doctors of Ancient Greece knew about the calming effect of the plant. Dioscorides believed that she was able to control thoughts, and Pliny the Elder considered her to be a means of stimulating thought, but recommended her more and more as a diuretic. Avicenna believed that it strengthens the brain. Later it was used as an anthelmintic, a remedy for the plague, and even as ... an aphrodisiac.
In the Middle Ages in Europe, valerian was revered as one of the most popular aromatic and magical remedies. It was believed that she saves people possessed by demons, drives away evil spirits, witches, devils, even with her smell - that is, according to our concepts, they were treating mentally ill people. In this case, it was proposed to fumigate the patient and the room with valerian smoke. It was also proposed to fumigate pets from the evil eye. For example, already in 1812, a veterinary reference book suggested mixing myrrh, coriander, camphor, a number of other plants and, of course, valerian, and fumigating a horse with this mixture, which was wasting away and nervous as a result of the evil eye. As you might expect, the animal usually calmed down after that, and, accordingly, the remedy was considered effective even in those days when significant steps were taken in science. This is evidenced by such popular names as incense, earthen incense, forest incense.
Valerian is one of the most popular medicinal plants in Russia. Even during the reign of Peter I, industrial collection of its roots for hospitals began.
Among the Russian population, valerian is more often known as maun, meow, cat root, cat grass. She received such names for an inexplicable at first glance craving for her cats. At the same time, they come into a state of strong excitement. How can we explain such strange behavior of animals? It turns out that the roots of valerian contain isovaleric acid, which is part of the sex pheromones of cats - special odorous substances secreted by cats during the mating season specifically to attract cats.
Medicinal raw materials
For medicinal purposes, the rhizomes of Valerian officinalis with roots are used. The best time to dig up raw materials is autumn, when the stems turn brown. The dug roots are cleaned of the earth, washed in running water without soaking, and laid out in a thin layer in a well-ventilated drying room. In this case, exposure to the sun's rays should be avoided. Do not dry valerian in a hot dryer, this will evaporate the essential oil, which has a calming effect. The optimum drying temperature is 35-40 ° C, but not higher!
Active ingredientsThe underground organs of valerian contain essential oil (0.5-2.4%), the main part of which is an ester of borneol and isovaleric acid, isovaleric acid in a free state, borneol and its esters of butyric, formic and acetic acids, l-limonene, d -terpieol, camphene, myrtenol, caryophyllene. In total, over 70 components are found in essential oil, many of which are contained in very small quantities. In addition, iridoids, alkaloids (valerin, hatin), tannins, saponins, sugars, and organic acids were isolated. Fresh raw materials contain valepatriate compounds (0.5-2%), mainly valtrate (about 80%) and isovaltrate, which decompose during improper drying to form free valeric acid. They play a significant role in the therapeutic effect, since when they enter the body, they are transformed into homobaldrinal, which reduces motor activity.
In addition, it contains sparingly soluble acids derived from sesquiterpene hydrocarbons.
From macro- and microelements, valerian root accumulates selenium, iron, boron. At the same time, valerian is not prone to accumulation of cobalt and cadmium, which appear during technogenic pollution of soil and water.
All diseases from nerves, and from nerves - valerianThe exact mechanism of action of valerian preparations has not been established, it is rather multifaceted and ambiguous, which may be due to the variability of its composition and the multitude of active substances. It is prescribed for diseases accompanied by nervous excitement, insomnia, hysteria. It serves as an example of how only the total extract from the plant has an effect. Separately, the components are weaker or practically inactive. In terms of demand, this plant occupies one of the first places in most countries, for example, in the United States, it is among the ten most popular herbal remedies. Unlike the classic tranquilizer diazepam, valerian does not impair the performance of psychomotor and cognitive tasks.
At the same time, when analyzing the phytotherapeutic literature, there are diametrically opposed opinions from classifying it to a group of ineffective drugs, to stating a very high pharmacological activity. Probably, these contradictions are associated with low-quality raw materials, their improper storage or processing. More and more clinical trials confirm its strong sedative and not only effect.
Valeric acid can inhibit the enzymatic breakdown of GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid), providing a sedative effect. However, there is evidence that the roots themselves contain GABA.
The plant is widely used for mild forms of neurasthenia and psychasthenia, for climacteric disorders, vegetative neuroses, neuroses of the cardiovascular system. Valerian preparations reduce the excitability of the central nervous system, have a calming effect, slow but stable. In patients, the feeling of tension, increased irritability disappears, and sleep improves. The therapeutic effect of valerian is more effective with systematic and long-term use in courses, therefore, the timing and dose of drugs is prescribed by the attending physician.
Valerian is prescribed as a sedative for increased excitability with hyperfunction of the thyroid gland.
One of the components of the therapeutic effect is the smell of valerian (i.e., the volatile components contained in it), which reflexively acts on the central nervous system, which makes it possible to inhale its preparations. The essential oil of valerian in the experiment reduced convulsions caused by the alkaloid brucine, drugs reduce the excitement caused by caffeine, lengthen the effect of hypnotics, and has an inhibitory effect on the systems of the medulla oblongata and midbrain.
It regulates the activity of the heart, acting through the central nervous system and directly on the heart muscle and the cardiac conduction system, improves coronary circulation (presumably due to the component of the essential oil - borneol). Therefore, valerian is a component of the complex preparations Corvalol, Validol, Valocordin.
In addition, it is used to treat many other conditions. It has a beneficial effect on thyroid dysfunction, is indicated for heart defects, migraines, asthma, promotes digestion, "warming up" the gastrointestinal tract. So it is used with other plants for heartburn, chronic gastritis, and even stomach and duodenal ulcers.
Valerian, together with mint, fennel, caraway seeds, anise, flax or plantain seeds, is used for irritable stomach and especially intestinal syndrome, accompanied by spastic pain, severe bloating, change of constipation and diarrhea.This functional disorder in modern society occurs in half of the actively working (and, accordingly, a lot of nervous) population between 20 and 50 years old. This is caused by permanent stress and irritation to the surrounding reality, as a result of which the interconnection between the brain, which gives commands and the intestine, is disrupted, which, in fact, must adequately respond to these commands. Improper dietary habits make the situation worse (too much, too rarely or too often, irregularly and too quickly). The severity of symptoms also depends on the level of stress - the more stress, the more intestinal problems.
Valerian infusions are used in the complex therapy of obesity as an anorexigenic agent. By suppressing the hypothalamic centers, valerian reduces hunger and helps to endure food restriction.
This plant is used in medical practice in the form of simple herbal preparations, as well as in the composition of multicomponent infusions, tinctures and other complex agents. Currently, the domestic pharmaceutical industry produces valerian tincture at 70% alcohol (1: 5) and valerian thick extract (coated tablets), as well as complex preparations, which also include motherwort, mint, lily of the valley and hawthorn.
In folk medicine, valerian is used for hysteria, epilepsy, and climacteric disorders.
Home useThere are many ways to prepare and use this plant. Hot infusion, tincture and powder of rhizomes with roots are often used. For cooking infusion 1 tablespoon of crushed raw materials is poured with 1 glass of boiling water, heated in a water bath or in a thermos for 15 minutes, insisted for 45 minutes and filtered. Take 2-3 tablespoons half an hour after eating. The infusion is stored in a cool place for no more than 2 days.
Tincture prepared with 40% alcohol or vodka, in a ratio of 1: 5. The roots are pre-crushed in order for the extraction to proceed better. Insist 7 days and filter. Take 15-20 drops 3-4 times a day.
To obtain powder, the raw material is crushed on a coffee grinder to a dusty state, then sieved through a sieve. The sifted powder is taken orally 1-2 g per dose 3-4 times a day with water.
One of the components of the healing effect of valerian is the smell, so if you want your sleep to be sound and restful, then hang the roots of valerian in a gauze bag above the bed, or put several roots between the pillowcase and the pillow. The volatile substances they release will calm the nerves, strengthen the heart, and add health. You can simply sniff the powder from the crushed roots before going to bed.
In case of a toothache, a cotton swab dipped in an alcoholic tincture of valerian diluted with water is placed around the aching tooth and gums from all sides.
Contraindications... As a rule, valerian is well tolerated by patients, however, in some patients with essential hypertension, it has the opposite, stimulating effect, disrupting sleep and causing heavy dreams. With prolonged and excessive use of valerian, drowsiness, a feeling of depression, decreased performance and depression of the general condition are possible. In chronic enterocolitis, valerian can cause an exacerbation. It can also irritate the renal parenchyma in glomerulonephritis.
Other application Valerian for cosmetic purposes is quite varied and is based in most cases on its antibacterial and sedative effects. It is used for dermatitis, especially of nervous origin. About growing valerian - in the article Valeriana officinalis: cultivation in farms and household plots