Instant Expert: What is it? Valerian

Melissa Shedden
November 10, 2016

Like sex, we’re all obsessed with sleep – we want more, we want better and we feel for our mates who don’t get enough.


Pretty challenging for the one in 10 Australians who have at least mild insomnia, according to data from the Sleep Foundation.

Stage cue: valerian. It’s not new. In fact, its benefits have been recognised for over 2000 years, having been used by Hippocrates and Dioscorides in ancient Greece. Since then, the European flowering plant has been used widely as a nerve-buster and calm-booster. Nice!


Here’s everything you need to know about the herb:

  • Valerian is the most recognised and used herbal extract for sleep support thanks to its sedative properties.
  • Trouble falling asleep, experiencing restlessness and waking throughout the night? It’s usually recommended to you.
  • Bonus: valerian also helps relieve tenseness, restlessness and irritability. Happy face.
  • It smells – and not like roses. The flower has what’s described as a love-or-hate distinctive odour.
  • Valere means strength, though no one’s sure whether the reference is to its effects or pungent love-it-or-hate-it smell.