Valerian was described in ancient Greece as a treatment for insomnia and its therapeutic properties as a sedative were defined during the 16th century. Today, valerian is well-known for its tranquilizing activity and it is found in many herbal sleep aid products as well as for stress reduction.
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Valerian is recommended by international organizations specializing in herbal medicine as ESCOP (European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy) for temporary use to improve light stress and/or sleep problems. Recent studies reveal a specific binding site on receptors in brain tissue as the target through which valerenic acid exerts its relaxing and calming effect. In addition, studies have shown the synergistic effects of valerian with other plants such as lemon balm and passionflower.