Valerian ~ The Sleep Secret of Greece
The Greek climate is ideal for growing many plants and herbs. They are found in abundance, flourishing on mountain sides and along the banks where they grow naturally. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is one of the delightful herbs you will find there. Its sweetly scented pink or white flowers have wooed many for centuries. As a nod to the Valerian growing in the region of Greece, you can even find a guest house called the Valeriana Cliff House in Santorini.
Hippocrates was the most famous of Greek physicians, but Galen was the physician that prescribed Valerian for insomnia. We now know that tincture of Valerian root is an attractive option to benefit sleep. One reason is because it does not trigger a hangover. Recognized as a smooth muscle relaxant, Valerian’s welcome effect on the receptors of neurotransmitters for GABA in the brain also contributes to a feeling of calmness and tranquility.
There are more than 150 chemical compounds that have been identified in the roots of Valerian. Notably, not one of these have been singled out as the only active component. This suggests that all compounds act in a synergistic way and is a very good reason to avoid standardized products that isolate compounds. Instead, always elect to use a an alcohol base tincture to get the benefit of the whole plant, superior to separated chemical products.