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Sedative for Animals - Valerian extract

Product Narrative, T. S. Fox, Ph.D.

Valeriana sitchensis is commonly named sitka valerian. It is the most potent of the valerian depressants and has long been used as a sleep aid and anxiety reducing agent for travel and separation.

Our product has found wide use post operation and post acupuncture as a means to provide a quiet convalescence for the animal. It is usually administered by the pet owner during after care. It is usually a good choice for traveling pets as a means to treat anxiety. Valerian and skullcap together is indicated for animals subject to seizures.

Valerian is attractive to cats and has found wide use to quiet performance horses. Some equine associations have banned it and test for it.

Two cc orally per 100 weight for carnivores is recommended. Use eight to twelve cc for large herbivores.

Occasional occurrence of reverse reaction is noted as well as occasional bad dreams and headaches.

It is GRAS (generally regarded as safe by the FDA as a food supplement).


Discussion

Valerian – Valeriana sitchensis and Valeriana officinalis

History

Valerian has been used for centuries for its sedative properties. There is no dispute of its function as a central nervous system depressant. It works. It doesn’t smell good. Despite its foul odor it was considered a perfume in the 1500s in Europe. Its use has been for insomnia, anxiety and pain. It is very attractive to cats.

Chemistry

Until very recently there was little understanding regarding what gave Valerian its strong sedative effects. It is now accepted that the combination of:

are Valerian’s active principle chemicals.

The species Valeriana sitchensis is much more potent than Valeriana officinalis. A defendable comparison of the chemical makeup of each is not available but the sesquiterpene, valerenic acid likely is greater in sitchensis.

Pharmacology

Of interest is that both valepotriates and the sesquiterpene valerenic acid bind to GABA (gamma aminobutric acid) receptors as does benzodiazepines. But, interestingly, hangover does not accompany the use of Valerian. Valerian chemicals that don’t bind to gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors also are effective sedatives.

The question remains: Does the GABA that binds not get to the brain? Or does it get there sans hangover? And: Does the GABA that doesn’t bind do all the work? My hypothesis is that both get to the brain and contribute to sedation.

Valerian is effective in veterinary medicine for:

It also is used post: operation, acupuncture and trauma for convalescence.

It will get veterinarians quieted down also! Valerian is very effective and because of this it is widely used. In performance horses it is now banned by many associations and routinely tested for in screening.

Valerian is GRAS. It has fewer side effects than diazepam. Toxicity is limited to the virtually nonexistent bioavailability of some valepotriates.

DISCLAIMER

We did not invent botanical medicines and we do not recommend that the use of botanical medicines should be undertaken on the strength of our restatement of historical usage and documented research.

We do restate well documented traditional efficacy and the results of ongoing research. Personal experience is included where deemed appropriate.

Regardless of the merits of any plant medicine, side effects do sometimes occur. These may be real or imagined. Always seek the counsel and advice of qualified medical professionals and use caution with any medication, plant derived or otherwise. We do not accept responsibility for the use or misuse of any product put forth or any information provided.

NOTES

  1. Oral dosages as given are for carnivores by body weight. It is advised to dose low initially and adjust upwards as the circumstances direct.
  2. Do not scale up dosages for large herbivores by their weight! Large herbivores, such as cattle or horses, usually require approximately twice the dosage of a 200 lb. carnivore.
  3. Terrence S. Fox, Ph.D., the founder of Buck Mountain Botanicals, Inc. is a life member of United Plant Savers, a member of the American Holistic Veterinary Medicine Association, a member of the Veterinary Botanical Medicine Association and is Treasurer of the Veterinary Research Council, Inc.
  4. Dr. Fox is deeply involved in researching the global literature on botanical medicine and their efficacy in veterinary practice. This research is expected to result in: identifying needed clinical trials, establishing standards for botanical medicine, recommended dosages of botanical medicine and recommended clinical procedures for their use.

This research is being conducted by the Veterinary Research Council, Inc., of which, Dr. Fox is Treasurer.

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