Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is one of about 200 species of valerian worldwide. This is an upright perennial that grows wild in woodlands, along river banks and in damp meadows.

The valerian species have been used by physicians for centuries to treat a number of problems including nausea, liver and digestive disorders, as well as insomnia.

By the 16th century, valerian was being widely used for insomnia and nervous conditions and, in the 18th century, valerian was well establishedas a treatment for nervous disorders and as a general sedative.

The precise way valerian works was not established until 1989 when at the Institute of Pharmaceutical Biology in Marburg, German, Drs Holzl and Gadau discovered that valerian has the same effect on the brain receptors as the group of drugs known as benzodiazepines (valium etc).

Valerian and its uses for horses and ponies

There are many reasons why horses may become excitable and difficult to control. This can range from stress and anxiety to fright, or simply as a result of breeding.

Excessive high spirits can lead to serious control problems and it is therefore vital that where a horse has a history of being, under certain specific conditions, unmanageable, that the appropriate action is taken.

Valerian can be effective for horses who become stressed when transported, or when given regularly to horses who react badly to severe weather, loud noises or sudden movements.

Information supplied by Equine Health & Herbal, manufacturers of Tranquil. For more information contact (tel: 01787) 476400 or visit