Excerpt from a "must read" article by Kathy Browning.
Valerian has been used around the world for centuries. During the middle ages it was used as a perfume. Native Americans used the valerian plant as a substitute for flour, as well as to treat horses with distemper. In the early 19th century, Shakers grew valerian as a principle cash crop. It was given to soldiers and civilians during World War I, to assist with stress and anxiety. German women used valerian as a coffee substitute and the British used valerian as a soup base. Today, valerian is the most common non-prescription sedative used in Europe.
One the most well-known affects of valerian is its ability to promote sleep and aid with insomnia. Valerian is not an addictive substance and does not leave one feeling tired and disoriented like some sleep aids.
Another health benefit of valerian is its ability to help alleviate the effects of stress and anxiety. Valerian has also proven useful in alleviating headaches, reducing pain, improving menstrual flow and cramps, and as an aid with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
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