Valeriana edulis (Edible Valerian): Sedative Plant?

weight lossValeriana edulis is more commonly called the tobacco root or edible valerian. It is a perennial flowering plant characterised by its sparsely leaved stems and clusters of small cream or white flowers that appear in the summer months. Valeriana edulis is closely related to elderberry, honeysuckle and teasel and in this regard is a member of the Caprifoliaceae family. As the common name suggests, edible valerian can be used as a food and eaten. However, edible valerian may also have medicinal effects similar to Valeriana officinalis (valerian). For example, Valarian edulis has been investigated for its sedative effects in humans. In one study, 450 mg of Valaria edulis was administered to human subjects with insomnia. The results of the study showed that Valeriana edulis showed beneficial effects on sleep architecture by increasing deep state delta sleep time. Therefore Valeriana edulis may have beneficial effects on sleep in humans, and this may relate to a sedative effect from the phytochemicals in the plant.   

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Research has analysed the chemical components of Valerian edulis and shown that the sedative effects may be due to a group of chemicals called the valepotriates. The main valepotriate is thought to be dihydroisovaltrate which is present in extracts at about 0.26 % of the total. However, Valerian edulis does not contain valerenic acid, one of the valepotriates present in Valerian officinalis, and may therefore exert its sedative effects via different phytochemicals. Image from: By JW Stockert – archive/ yell/ slidefile/ plants/ miscellaneous/ Page.htm, Public Domain, w/index.php?curid=4028372.

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Herrera-Arellano, A., Luna-Villegas, G., Cuevas-Uriostegui, M. L., Alvarez, L., Vargas-Pineda, G., Zamilpa-Alvarez, A. and Tortoriello, J. 2001. Polysomnographic evaluation of the hypnotic effect of Valeriana edulis standardized extract in patients suffering from insomnia. Planta Medica. 67(08): 695-699

About Robert Barrington

Robert Barrington is a writer, nutritionist, lecturer and philosopher.
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