Taste (Rasa): Bitter, Pungent, Astringent
Energetics (Virya): Heating
Doshic Effects: Balancing for all three doshas
Benefits & Use: Valerian root is widely used for its sedative effects as it elevates levels of a chemical known as GABA which regulates nerve cells and benefits those with nervous conditions by calming anxiety. Supplements containing valerian are also recommended as a herbal treatment for people suffering from anxiety as it is a nervine. Similarly, pain is effectively reduced or relieved with a dosage of Valerian root.
Additional Uses: Eye tonic; antispasmodic; antibacterial; anti-fungal
In the Kitchen: Valerian root is most commonly ingested as a tea. Like any herb, is best prepared fresh with warm — not boiling — water as some of the phytochemicals are sensitive to heat and may be destroyed. Consequently, the best way to prepare the tea is to steep the herbs for at least 10 minutes to ensure that all of the beneficial components are released from the plant. Some people find valerian root bitter, in which case you can add honey before drinking. Note: Valerian root is sometimes combined with other complementary herbs, such as chamomile, but plant interactions are complex so you should avoid mixing herbs until you become aware of how you react to each one.