The Benefits & Side Effects of Valerian Root Essential Oil

The Valerian plant has long been used for medicinal purposes. Its earliest use has been documented in Greece and Rome, where it was used for the treatment of anxiety and insomnia. It was the elixir for the rich, who would make tea with the leaves and the roots of the plant. The leaves were ground into a paste and were used for dressing wounds of soldiers returning from the battlefield. Over the years, the usefulness of this plant has been documented and its medicinal values have gained popularity.

How is the Oil Produced?

Valerian oil can be produced from steam distillation. However, the oil in the root is considered much more therapeutic than that of the leaves. This is a very complex herb, with more than 120 chemical components. These chemicals lend interesting therapeutic qualities to it. The roots of this plant are rhizomes and therefore are rich in anti-oxidants. This makes the oil beneficial as a dietary supplement as well.

Health Benefits of Valerian Root Essential Oil

Valerian Root Essential Oil

Tranquilizer: Valerian root oil best known for its tranquilizing effects. There are at least two double blind studies that have documented its ability to sedate and revitalize. The oil is most commonly used for treatment of nervous afflictions such as stress and anxiety. Its tranquilizing affects provide much needed soothing to emotional stress. It can also help those who experience insomnia and sleep disturbances, fits and seizures. Studies have shown that valerian root oil is more effective for sleeplessness than modern sleep inducing drugs. Therefore, it is widely used in herbal medications for sleeplessness. A lot of aroma therapists and alternate medical practitioners also use valerian root oil for treatment of anxiety and palpitations.

Antispasmodic: Valerian root oil can be used for the effective treatment of muscular spasms. It is very beneficial for those who experience recurrent digestive problems, stomach aches or muscular pain. A massage with valerian root oil can help athletes tone and heal damaged muscles. It can also provide relief from pain resulting of gout and rheumatism. Women who suffer from menstrual cramps can also benefit from a massage with valerian root oil. The oil can also be used to relieve pain caused due to headaches and migraines.

Antimicrobial: Valerian root oil has antimicrobial properties. This means, it has the ability to kill microbes and inhibit their growth. It has antiseptic properties, so you can add a few drops to a moisturizer and use it to dress cuts, bruises and open wounds. The oil can be applied topically on the wounds too. However, do not apply the oil directly to any cuts and wounds. Before you can apply the oil, it should be diluted to a fraction of its concentration by adding vegetable oil to it.

How to Use It?

Valerian root oil can be applied topically. It is usually used for promoting relaxation at the time of meditation. You could also use the oil on the various chakras of your body to promote healing and relaxation. The oil could also be added to ointments to enhance its benefits. It can be applied on the scalp to ward off dandruff. Though aroma therapists recommend ingestion of the oil, you should ideally consume it only after consultation with a doctor. You can also use the oil to treat dry and scaly skin as well. Valerian root essential oil can be successfully blended with a variety of other essential oils to enhance its benefits. Some of the most common essential oils that can be blended with valerian root oil include patchouli, cedarwood oil, mandarin oil, rosemary oil, lavender oil, oakmass and pine oil. The oil should only be used after diluting its concentration to a fraction by adding vegetable oil to it. Some people develop sensitivity to the oil, so be cautious in its use. When used in moderation, the oil can be really helpful.

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Neha started her career as a research associate with the Azim Premji Foundation and went on to lead several development programs with various NGOs. In her free time she loves travelling and writing.

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