Valeriana wallichii, also known as ‘Tagar,’ is a wild herb commonly found in the temperate Himalaya. It has been used in the Unani and Ayurvedic systems of medicine. The root and the rhizome extracts of the herb have numerous medicinal properties. In Ayurvedic literature, tagar has been described as a cure for skin disease, obesity, snake poisoning, and gastrointestinal conditions.
What is Valeriana wallichii?
Valeriana wallichii is a hairy, perennial herb belonging to the Valerianaceae family. It is commonly known as Tagar or Indian valerian. It is native to the temperate Himalayas and found in India, Burma, Bhutan, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. The plant grows up to 14-45 cm tall and has a thick branching stem, pink or white flowers in clusters, sharp leaves, hairy fruits, and a rootstock.
The roots and the rhizomes (horizontal underground stems) are the parts of the plants that are mostly used for medicinal purposes. For a long time, it has been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine for the treatment of emotional problems and nervous unrest.
What are the benefits Valeriana wallichii?
The following are some of the conditions in which tagar is used:
- Insomnia: Some studies have shown that valerian can decrease the amount of time required to sleep by 15 to 20 mins.
- Psychiatric side effects: Few medicines like efavirenz, that is used to treat HIV infection, can cause some psychiatric side effects. Some studies have proved that valerian root can improve anxiety and sleep quality in such patients.
- Anxiety: Research has shown that valerian can be effective in reducing anxiety depending on the severity of the condition.
- Depression: Some studies suggest that valerian along with other herbs can improve the symptoms of depression.
- Restlessness or dyssomnia: Research indicates that valerian when taken with other herbs, reduces the symptoms of severe restlessness in children.
- Stress: Some studies demonstrated that valerian, alone or in combination with other herbs, is effective in reducing stress.
Valeriana wallichii is also reported to be effective in conditions like epilepsy, convulsions, headache, eye diseases, liver diseases, hysteria, hypochondriasis, fever, inflammatory conditions, nervous disorders, jaundice, pain, neurosis, and sciatica.
What are the medicinal properties of Valeriana wallichii?
Tagar is a widely used medicinal plant in the management of several conditions. It has various pharmacological activities, and some are given below:
- Analgesic activity: The essential oil and other extracts of the herb have shown the analgesic property.
- Anti-inflammatory activity: Some extracts of the plant have proved the anti-inflammatory activity.
- Antispasmodic property: The plant has shown to possess antispasmodic effects.
- Anti-psychotic activity: The essential oils and various extracts of the herb are shown to have anxiolytic, antidepressant and other anti-psychotic effects.
- Antimicrobial property: The essential oils and other components of the valerian have demonstrated antimicrobial activity.
- Hypnotic activity: Some extracts of the herb proved to induce sleep.
- Anticonvulsant activity: The extract of the valerian has been reported to reduce convulsions.
- Anthelmintic property: The extract of the rhizomes showed anthelmintic activity.
- Cytotoxic property: The plant extract is shown to have cytotoxic property.
- Antioxidant activity: The essential oil and other extracts of the plant have demonstrated antioxidant activity.
What are the side effects of Valeriana wallichii?
Valeriana wallichii is usually safe when taken in recommended doses. The valerian is shown to be safe in children when taken for 4-8 weeks, according to some studies. However, there is not sufficient evidence for its long-term use. But, it can cause side effects as follows:
- Mental dullness
- Stomach upset
- Sluggish feeling in the morning
- Heart disturbances
- Vivid dreams
- Dry mouth
Using Valeriana wallichii safely
The valerian should not be used for long-term, because it can result in mental depression, have a stimulating effect instead of a relaxing effect, heaviness or pain in the head. The following are the conditions in which tagar must be consumed cautiously:
- Pregnancy or lactation: Not enough information is available concerning the safety of the valerian during pregnancy or breastfeeding.It is recommended to avoid its use to be on the safer side.
- Surgery: The herb might slow down the central nervous system or interfere with anesthesia or other drugs used during the surgery.Thus, it is advised to inform the doctor about the valerian use or stop consuming the herb at least two weeks before the surgery.