Botanical name: 

Date: Tue, 22 Feb 1994 14:50:45 EST
Sender: "Medicinal and Aromatic Plants discussion list <HERB.TREARN.BITNET>
From: Howie Brounstein <howieb1991.AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: Which came first?

> Is valerian derived from valium or the other way around? (I don't know and I'm not flaming...)

Valerian came first, and there is no Valium in it. They are chemically similar, but not the same.

Do not be scared of Valerian. It will not "knock you out" like a Valium unless you take way too much. And even if you were to take too much, iit's effect is short-lasting, like many herbs.

It does not feel like a Valium in your body.

Note: Fresh and dried Valerian are very different in chemical constituent and smell. I prefer fresh Valerian tincture, with it's earthy musky scent. Other herbalists only use dries by choice.

Seems that things are as it should be, herbalist can agree on the basics and still have they're preferences and differences.

Howie Brounstein

From: John Robert Bidleman <robbee.CRL.COM>

I think I have to gently disagree with you on "Valerian will not knock you out". A cup of Valerian root tea brewed strongly and had on an empty stomach can have, for some persons, a very strong effect. It may not effect you in that way but I have seen people incapacitated by Valerian.

From: Howie Brounstein <howieb1991.AOL.COM>


I have to be more specific in my wording. I am new to this Listerv and I think it's great that everything written is scrutinized so thouroughly. Keeps my info correct and my references checked.

I have also seen Valerian knock out people, especially in the fall when we harvest, and we have access to fresh root juice.

The point I was trying to get across is that IN THE PROPER DOSAGE it should not knock you out, and that if you treating yourself with herbs, this plant should not be feared.

Thanks for the correction,


From: "Jon Singer (Implications & Consequences)" <jon.GUEST.APPLE.COM>

Howie Brounstein has said a very interesting & profound thing, a thing that some of us are aware of, and some of us (myself, for example) should be very happy to be reminded of: many herbs are very different depending upon what form they are in when you use them. Fresh, dried, tincture, tisane, etc. (I don't know about the rest of you, but as I say, I tend to forget this sometimes. Thanks to Howie for providing a reminder!)

Valerian, dried, (that's the only way I've used it, so far) has a remarkably powerful and fairly unpleasant smell. Kinda like a mixture of rotting earth and smelly ol' gym sox. I've been growing it for 2 years here, though, and I'm looking forward to getting a whiff of the fresh root.

I don't mind the tisane quite so much: make tea out of the dried root and it smells more like Lapsang Souchong, kinda smoky/earthy. If I drink it slowly, it's sweet in the mouth, but if I try to rush it, the stuff gets quite bitter. Very surprising.

I really like Valerian, but when I drink the tea I do have a tendency to get very silly, rather than very sleepy. I once sent a message out to many friends on this net, after drinking some Valerian tea; it said,

"Fz gubble Valerian 3 cups mok jingjing wooba-wooba Fomp!"

I was laughing hysterically as I typed it. I think what it means is something fairly close to, "I just drank 3 cups of Valerian and I _fell_right_over_!"

For those who care about vague esoterica: I have an old booklet on Japanese herbs, from the Brooklyn Botanical Garden. This book reports that Japanese Valerian, (Valeriana faurei) is stronger than European Valerian, V. officinalis. If _ANYONE_ here knows where I can get
plants or seeds, I'm EXTREMELY interested. I think Valerian is just wonderful. (...Yes, if I take it in capsule form, it does seem to make me rather sleepy. I don't do it very often, but when I need it, it's a real blessing.)

Cheers --

From: Mahmut Miski <miski.KODAK.COM>

>Valerian came first, and there is no Valium in it. They are chemically similar, but not the same.

Active compounds of Valerian has no chemical similarity to that of Valium (i.e., benzodiazepine), they are monoterpene lactol valerianic acid (which is the cause of peculiar smell) esters and are generally named as valepotriates or valrates.