If you do a quick search about the valerian root, you’ll find plenty of places selling it, but a strange lack of information about its actual effects. Dig deeper and you’ll discover that valerian root is a special kind of homeopathic medicine - unlike many other herbs and home medications, the root has actually shown promising results in scientific studies.
The root’s euphoric effect on cats is also well-known and easily proven. Just give your cat a bit of the root, and if he’s susceptible to its effects, he’ll go wild biting it, rubbing his face in it, drooling, and generally acting kitten-like. There is no solid scientific answer behind why it works, but that’s also true for catnip!
Although it doesn’t work on every cat, valerian root can be a good alternative to catnip if catnip doesn’t work on your cat, or just for a different kind of treat.
Here are 7 interesting tidbits about the root that makes cats drool for joy.
photo courtesy of @catandclay
1. Valerian root acts as a stimulant for cats.
This makes it perfect for spurring your cat into getting some exercise. Try it if your cat is older or just prefers lazing around to playing. At least one study has also shown that the root decreases signs of stress and aggression in some cats.
2. The part that attracts cats is actinidine.
This compound (C10H13N, if you’re curious!) is similar to the compound in catnip that cats love so much.
3. In humans, the root has relaxing properties.
Remember that research we mentioned? Although results have been mixed, the root shows promise in helping individuals relax and get a good night’s sleep. In Germany, combining it with hops is an approved method of dealing with sleep problems.
4. The root is widely used for medical reasons in certain parts of the world.
In Russia in particular, the “valerianka” is practically considered a cure-all for nerve problems, and is prescribed by doctors for everything from nervous tics to insomnia.
5. The root has a long history.
The first known use of the herb for medicinal purposes is over 2,000 years ago, by Greek physician Dioscorides. It’s been mentioned in medical writings since then, at one point even touted as an antidote to poisons. Valerian has even made an appearance in other kinds of literature: it’s been attributed as being the Pied Piper’s method for attracting rats in the classic story.
6. You can buy it in practically any form.
Valerian root comes in teas, powders, drops (for babies!), and syrups. Of course, you can also buy it fresh or chopped up - which is great for cat toys and just sprinkling around.
7. The name valerian comes from the Latin root valere.
Valere means strength, though no one’s sure whether the reference is to its effects or pungent love-it-or-hate-it smell.
So there you have your long answer - valerian root affects cats similarly to catnip, it’s still being used medicinally today after thousands of years, and it might be just the thing for getting you a good night’s sleep.
Follow this link to purchase our premium organic Valerian Root.
- by Yuliya