Nervous system tonic that modulates various neurotransmitters (GABA, serotonin) to produce a calming effect.
• depressed patients complaining of being overly stimulated and/or stressed
- migraine headaches
- nervous tension
- obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
• benzodiazepine withdrawal
• involuntary muscle contractions or twitches
- delirium tremens
- restless leg syndrome
- muscular fasciculations
- tension headaches
• menopausal hot flashes
• heart palpitations
• hypertension (especially due to anxiety)
• Volatile oil
• Iridoids (e.g. isovaltrate, valtrate)
• Tincture (1:5 in 70% EtOH): 3-5 ml tid
• Liquid extract (1:1 in 25% EtOH): 1-2 ml tid
• Infusion: (dried root): 1-3g tid
Duration: although acute administration can help, it must be taken for at least 2 weeks before the benefits for insomnia can be evaluated.
Generally considered safe when used as indicated.
Side effects: May cause excitation in some patients (rare).
Sedatives - studies are lacking, however they it may potentiate the effects of other sedatives (e.g. benzodiazepines, barbituates, alcohol). Often used to wean people of benzodiasepines.
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Brinker F. The Toxicology of Botanical Medicines, 3rd ed. Sandy, Oregon: Eclectic Medical Publications, 2000.
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Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, England: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988.
Williamson EM, ed. Major Herbs of Ayurveda. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone, 2002
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