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Valerian is a native plant that has been used since antiquity up today for its sedative and anxiolytic properties. The oils it contains have a similar effect to benzodiazepines, a class of drugs with sedative, anxiolytic, antispasmodic, anesthetic and muscle relaxant properties. In addition to its anxiolytic properties, valerian is also considered useful for cases of arthritis, neuralgia, rheumatic pains and muscle cramps.

Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. The therapeutic uses were described by Hippocrates, and in the second century, Galen prescribed valerian for insomnia. In the 16th century, it was used to treat nervousness, horror, headaches and heartbeats. In the middle of the 19th century, valerian was considered as a stimulant that caused some of the same complaints that it believed to cure and generally held lowly as a medicinal herb. During World War II, it was used in England to relieve anxiety of air raids. In addition to sleep disorders, valeriana has been used for gastrointestinal convulsions and anxiety, seizures, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. However, scientific evidence is not enough to support the use of valerian for these conditions.