Synonyms in a broader sense

  • Cat weed
  • Stinkwort
  • Cat root
  • Tanmark
  • Witch herb
  • Ballerjan
  • Cattleweed
  • Moonroot
  • Bodrian
  • St.Georgjuice
  • Eye root

Latin name: Valeriana officinalis, real valerian

English: Valerian

Explanation / definition

valerian is one of the oldest in folk medicine Medicinal plants. The plant belongs to the valerian family (Valerianaceae) heard. The valerian subfamily contains around 200 different valerian plants. These are mainly found in the temperate zones of Europe and North America, mainly in the forest regions. Already since the antiquity Valerian is used in medicine, but in its current form as a sedative only at the end of the 18th century.

Only the entire rhizome is used for medicinal purposes. This is dried and crushed. Propagation takes place through the seed or division of larger plants. The cultures come from England, Belgium, Eastern Europe and partly from Germany. The most important ingredients the valerian roots are essential oils Next Valeronic acids (mono- and sesquiterpenes). Valerionic acid, its derivatives, have calming properties and inhibit the breakdown of a messenger substance. The calming effect of valerian roots in humans has been successfully proven in a large number of studies. The valerian roots were kept coming back for restlessness and nervous sleep disorders recommended.

The plant

Valerian - plant

Of the valerian is a strong, herbaceous up to a meter high plant from the family of Valerianaceane (Valerianaceane). The medicinal plant grows vigorously and persistently with upright, slightly hairy stems and opposite leaves at the height of a subshrub. Of the umbellate inflorescence consists pink and white flowers. The crown of the individual flowers is 3 to 6 mm long. The Heyday of valerian is between May and September. The root becomes in September and October harvested. The valerian is in Native to Europe and Asia and often grows on the edge of the forest and path and on streams. It can be found on both moist and dry soils. As a medicinal herb, valerian mostly comes from cultivation. Used medically will the underground plant parts (like the Devil's claw). Only the dried root develops the typical smell.

The roots of the valerian family contain various components that are said to have medicinal properties. Proven medically effective components of valerian roots are Valerenic acid and Valerenol. In studies comparing placebo, a mild medicinal effect proven. These two substances have a calming effect mental stress and sleep disorders. Valerian roots also contain essential oils, which by their means antispasmodic effects can help with gastrointestinal complaints. Finally, valerian roots also contain alkaloids, which are particularly important for heartburn and Stomach discomfort help that occur due to over-acidification of the stomach, as they counteract the acid created.


The valerian root has been used as a remedy since ancient times. The botanical name "Valeriana" contains the Latin word "valere" - how to be healthy. The German term valerian is associated with the Nordic god of light Baldur, who stands for help and charity. As early as 800 AD, the valerian root was used as a means of balancing sleep and waking. If you sleep too much, it compensates with waking, and if you are very insomniacs, it helps you sleep. Hildegard von Bingen also recommended valerian against pleurisy. On cats, the pyridine alkaloids contained in valerian are used as sexual attractants. The scent of the valerian makes the cats roll on the floor.


The dried rhizome and its branches are used for medicinal use of valerian. The typical scent of valerian arises during the drying process below 40 ° C. Valerian roots contain mono- and sesquiterpenes (valerionic acid) and essential oils as the most important active pharmaceutical ingredients.


Valerian tea: Pour ¼ l of cold water over 2 teaspoons of finely chopped valerian root and let stand for about 10 hours, stirring occasionally. Then bring to the boil briefly, let it steep for 10 minutes and strain. You can drink a cup of this tea 2 to 3 times a day.

Valerian bath has a calming effect and promotes sleep: Pour 100 g of valerian root with 2 l of water, heat to the boil and strain after 10 minutes. Pour this decoction into the bath water.

Combination with other medicinal plants

Tea made from valerian root and lemon balm leaves: Mix the valerian root and lemon balm leaves in equal proportions. 2 teaspoons of this mixture are poured over ¼ l of boiling water, covered for 15 minutes, then strained. You can sweeten with honey and drink the tea warm, slowly, in sips. Has a calming, relaxing effect, relieves mental tension.

Sleep tea: Mix valerian root and hops in equal parts, preparation as described above, drink before going to bed.

Therapy and areas of application

In folk medicine, medicines with valerian extract are used for:

  • insomnia
  • Sleep disorder
  • Restlessness
  • fear
  • nervous exhaustion
  • mental overwork
  • Poor concentration
  • irritability
  • stress
  • a headache
  • migraine
  • general inefficiency
  • nervous stomach

Valerian also contributes tense muscles after physical exertion. The sleep-promoting effects of valerian have been proven time and again in humans and animals. there has been a Shortening the time to fall asleep and a better quality of sleep observed and is therefore ideally suited for the therapy of sleep disorders. For internal use, valerian is taken throughout the day. If you have trouble sleeping, half an hour to two hours before going to bed. The Responsiveness may be limited. Valerian can also be combined with hops, lemon balm, chamomile and passion flower.

Side effects: As a herbal extract, valerian has hardly any side effects. It can be very rare when taking valerian too Disorders in the gastrointestinal tract come. In the pregnancy and during the Lactation Valerian should be avoided as there is insufficient data on a possible harmful effect on the child.
Since there is a Variety of different valerian products there, it is generally advisable to rely on approved valerian medicinal products from the pharmacy because the pharmaceutical quality of drugs from drugstores is not always sufficient.

Manufacturer / manufacturer name

Manufacturers are named as examples and were selected at random. we have with none Manufacturers a personal connection!

Valerian ratiopharm® 190 mg 50 tablets € 7.75

Valerian ratiopharm® 190 mg 100 tablets € 12.95

Valerian ratiopharm® 190 mg 30 tablets € 6.70

Valerian ratiopharm® 190 mg 60 tablets € 11.95

Status: January 2004

Phytopharmaceuticals in Germany

The list of the best-selling herbal preparations led by far the ginkgo:

  1. ginkgo
  2. Johannis herbs
  3. Devil's claw
  4. Horse chestnuts
  5. artichoke
  6. Milk thistle
  7. Nettle
  8. Umckaloabo
  9. Hawthorn
  10. ivy

A list of all medicinal herbs / medicinal plants that we have already published can be found under: Medicines A-Z.