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(S) Tagara

Part Used: rhizome

Energetics: bitter, pungent, sweet, astringent/heating/pungent VK- P+ (in excess)

Tissues: plasma, muscle, marrow and nerve

Systems: nervous, digestive, respiratory

Actions: nervine, antispasmodic, sedative, carminative

Indications: insomnia, hysteria, delirium, neuralgia, convulsions, epilepsy, vertigo, nervous cough, dysmenorrhea, palpitations, migraine, chronic skin diseases, flatulence, colic

Precautions: large dosages produce paralysis (overly constricts Vata)

Preparation: decoction (low simmer), powder (250 mg to 1 g)

VALERIAN is one of the best herbs for Vatagenic nervous disorders. It cleanses Ama from the colon, the blood, the joints and nerves. It clears the nerve channels of accumulated Vata. At the same time, owing to the large amounts of the earth element contained within it, it is grounding, and helps dispel vertigo, fainting and hysteria. Valerian calms muscle spasms and alleviates menstrual cramps. It is very effective for stopping fermentation in the gastrointestinal tract and has a special calming action on the female reproductive system. However, its quality is tamasic and excessive use can dull the mind.

It combines well with calamus, which balances out its heavy property. For sleep take one to two teaspoons of the powder in warm water.

In Ayurveda, another close relative of valerian is also used­JAJAMAMSI (Nardostachys or Valeriana jatamamsi), also called Indian spikenard. It is sweet, bitter and astringent, cooling in energy and pungent in post-digestive effect. It aids in balancing all three doshas. It shares the sedative properties of valerian but is a superior herb for promoting awareness and strengthening the mind. It combines well with gotu kola or can be taken with a little cinnamon or camphor.

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