Valerian Essential Oil (Valeriana officinalis)
Valerian may also be referred to as garden heliotrope, common valerian or all-heal. It is typically processed using steam distilled as a method for extracting oil from the roots.
Valerian Essential Oil is steam distilled from the roots of Valeriana officinalis. This pretty plant produces pretty pinkish white flowers, but it's the roots that are responsible for the extraordinarily relaxing properties that valerian is known for.
Valerian Essential Oil is primarily used to help aid instances of insomnia, restlessness and nervous tension.
Valerian Oil is abundant in sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols. The composition of Valerian Oil can vary dramatically based on country of origin and growing conditions.
The aroma of Valerian Oil can be pungent and unpleasant, depending on the distillation, origin of the oil and the age of the oil. If you find the aroma to be hard to tolerate, the aroma can be softened dramatically by blending it at low dilution with other essential oils. I find that Valerian Essential Oil tends to blend well aromatically with Lavender, Roman Chamomile, Vetiver, Patchouli and Sweet Orange.
- Aroma Description:
- Common Name(s): garden heliotrope, common valerian or all-heal
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Synonyms(s) for Valeriana officinalis: Astrephia chinensis, Valeriana alternifolia, Valeriana alternifolia f. angustifolia, Valeriana alternifolia f. verticillata, Valeriana alternifolia subsp. pseudocoreana, Valeriana alternifolia subsp. stubendorfiana, Valeriana alternifolia subsp. stubendorfii, Valeriana alternifolia var. angustifolia, Valeriana alternifolia var. stolonifera, Valeriana baltica, Valeriana coreana, Valeriana coreana subsp. badzhalensis, Valeriana coreana subsp. leiocarpa, Valeriana coreana subsp. pseudoumbrosa, Valeriana coreana subsp. sachalinensis, Valeriana fauriei, Valeriana fauriei f. coreana, Valeriana fauriei subsp. badzhalensis, Valeriana fauriei subsp. sachalinensis, Valeriana fauriei var. dasycarpa, Valeriana fauriei var. leiocarpa, Valeriana jacutica, Valeriana leiocarpa, Valeriana lucida, Valeriana major, Valeriana multiceps, Valeriana nipponica, Valeriana officinalis baltica, Valeriana officinalis exaltata, Valeriana officinalis simplicifolia, Valeriana officinalis subsp. dunensis, Valeriana officinalis var. alternifolia, Valeriana officinalis var. altissima, Valeriana officinalis var. exaltata, Valeriana officinalis var. sarkanyi, Valeriana pinnata, Valeriana pseudofficinalis, Valeriana pseudoumbrosa, Valeriana pulchra, Valeriana sambucifolia sachalinensis, Valeriana sambucifolia var. dasycarpa, Valeriana sambucifolia var. fauriei, Valeriana sinensis, Valeriana stubendorfiana, Valeriana stubendorfii, Valeriana stubendorfii angustifolia, Valeriana stubendorfii verticillata, Valeriana tenuissima, Valeriana tianschanica, Valeriana vulgaris
- Botanical Family: Caprifoliaceae
- Botanical Genus: Valeriana
- Major Compounds: Valerianol, Bornyl acetate, Valeranone, Valeranal, Camphene, a-Kessyl acetate, Elemol
- Perfumery Note: Base
- Consistency: Thin
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Strong
- Color: Yellowish-green to greenish-brown.
- Indigenous Country: Base
- Processing Methods: Steam Distilled
- Part Typically Used: Roots
Benefits & Uses
May be benefitial for addressing the following ailments:
Headache Indigestion Insomnia Migraine Nervous Conditions / Tension
Cautions & Safety
Cautions when using Valerian:
Tisserand and Young do not indicate any special precautions when using Valerian Essential Oil. Reading Tisserand and Young's full profile is recommended. [Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young,Essential Oil Safety (Second Edition. United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014), 461-462.]
As mentioned by Salvatore Battaglia: "Pizzorno & Murray state that there is some concern that valerian may prolong thiopental and pentobarbital-induced sleep. This indicates the need to avoid concurrent use of valerian and barbituates." [Reference: JE Pizzorno and MT Murry. Textbook of natural medicine, 4th edition. Churchill Livingston, 2013 as cited in Salvatore Battaglia, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy (Australia: The Perfect Potion, 2003), 582.]
Safety Precautions for Valerian:
Do not take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin without advanced essential oil knowledge or consultation from a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and be sure to first read the recommended dilution ratios for children. Consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you have medical issues or are taking medications. For in-depth information on oil safety issues, read Essential Oil Safety by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young.
Valerian Articles or Publications:
- PubMed: Valeriana officinalis root extract suppresses physical stress by electric shock and psychological stress by nociceptive stimulation-evoked responses by decreasing the ratio of monoamine neurotransmitters to their metabolites.
- PubMed: Can Valeriana officinalis root extract prevent early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after CABG surgery? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
- PubMed: Valeriana officinalis extract and its main component, valerenic acid, ameliorate D-galactose-induced reductions in memory, cell proliferation, and neuroblast differentiation by reducing corticosterone levels and lipid peroxidation.
- PubMed: Enzymatic synthesis of valerena-4,7(11)-diene by a unique sesquiterpene synthase from the valerian plant (Valeriana officinalis).
- PubMed: Telemetry as a tool to measure sedative effects of a valerian root extract and its single constituents in mice.
- PubMed: Valeriana officinalis root extracts have potent anxiolytic effects in laboratory rats.
- PubMed: Anticonvulsant effect of aqueous extract of Valeriana officinalis in amygdala-kindled rats: possible involvement of adenosine.
- PubMed: Analysis of responses to valerian root extract in the feline pulmonary vascular bed.
- PubMed: (-)-3 beta,4 beta-epoxyvalerenic acid from Valeriana officinalis.
- PubMed: Synaptosomal GABA release as influenced by valerian root extract--involvement of the GABA carrier.