Organic valerian is a medicinal herb that is cultivated without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, genetically altered organisms, ionizing radiation or sewage sludge. When purchasing this herb, it should be remembered that valerian that has not been exposed to pesticides, synthetic fertilizers or any other substance or method of alteration might not necessarily be organic, it might simply be wild crafted. The botanical name for valerian is Valeriana officinalis and it also is known as American English valerian, English valerian, Vermont valerian, German valerian, great wild valerian, all-heal, vandal root and setwall.
This botanical is best known for its ability to quiet and soothe the nerves, but its action as a nerve tonic is very mild. Valerian root is the part used in alternative medicine not only to treat insomnia, but also to treat other health conditions such as suppressed menstruation, cases of influenza, colic, fever, stomach ulcers and even heart palpitations. The use of organic valerian root is almost always recommended over the use of the herb that was grown with chemicals or genetically modified in any way, because most proponents of all-natural medicine believe that to treat health conditions with herbal medicines that were grown with health-destroying chemicals is inconsistent with the philosophy held by the vast majority of herbalists.
Consumers are advised to carefully read labels and ingredients when purchasing organic valerian products, particularly in the United States where there is a difference between the claim "100% organic" and simply "organic." One hundred percent organic valerian oil, supplements or products are made entirely with organic ingredients, but if the label simply says "organic," the product might contain up to 5 percent inorganic ingredients. Organic valerian products are often available in many different forms: drops, liquid, oil, supplements and bulk herb, also called tea. The most natural form, however, is organic valerian or the wild crafted herb in bulk, from which a decoction can be prepared and consumed as a tea.
Important things one must keep in mind when practicing alternative medicine involving the use of organic valerian include taking care not to boil the root, which destroys the medicinal properties of the herb. Ingesting large amounts of the tea for periods longer than two weeks also can result in poisoning. The dosage for the herb as a tincture is one or two teaspoonfuls in a glass of water per day, and the dosage is one or two capsules per day if taken in powdered form. Valerian and hops, another medicinal herb, are often combined to treat insomnia, anxiety and nervous conditions, because valerian is not a very potent sedative when used alone.