Tagar (Valerian) Uses, Benefits, Dosage and Side effects

Tagar is known as Indian Valerian in English. Its botanical name is Valeriana wallichii. It is indigenous to India and is mainly found in temperate Himalayan regions. The actions and uses of Indian Valerian are comparable to those of Valerian (Valeriana officinalis). Valerian is a folk medicine used in Europe, for nervous disorders and as a sleep aid. It is also used as general tonic. The British Herbal Pharmacopeia, describe it as sedative, hypnotic, carminative and hypotensive and indicated its use in sleeplessness, headaches, migraine, joint pain, rheumatic pain, cramps etc.

It belong to genus Valeriana which comprise of large number of species distributed throughout the world. Another species of this genus which is used therapeutically in many countries is Valeriana officinalis, an herb found in North America, Europe and imported to India.

Indian Valerian, is used in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani for treating brain related disorders such as insomnia, hysteria, nervous unrest, and emotional troubles. It is a mild sedative-hypnotic herb that has calming and sleep-inducing effect on brain. It balances Vata and has carminative action. Tagar is used in form of powder, extract and tincture.

General Information

Valeriana wallichii DC is a hairy perennial herb. It grows in temperate Himalayas from Kashmir to Bhutan and Khasia hills up to an altitude of 3,000 meter. The rhizomes are dug from the soil in autumn. These are cleaned and dried for medicinal purpose.

The roots and rhizome of plant has depressant action on Central nervous system.

Indian Valerian is said to be a good substitute for Valeriana officinalis.

Scientific Classification

The botanical name of Tagara is Valeriana wallichii. It belongs to plant family Valerianaceae. Below is given taxonomical classification of plant.

  1. Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
  2. Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
  3. Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
  4. Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
  5. Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
  6. Subclass: Asteridae
  7. Order: Dipsacales
  8. Family: Valerianaceae – Valerian family
  9. Genus: Valeriana L. – valerian
  10. Species: Valeriana wallichii

Part(s) used for medicinal purpose: Rhizomes and roots

Plant type: herb

Habitat: Himalayan temperate regions, Kashmir, Bhutan; Afghanistan.

Vernacular Names/Synonyms

  1. Latin name: Valeriana wallichii DC. (V. leschenauitic, V. brunoniana)
  2. Ayurvedic: Tagar, Kala, Sugandhabala, Kalaanusari, Kaalanusarika, Kalanusari, Kalanusarika, Nata, Tagarpaduka तगर, सुगंधबला, बलातगर
  3. Unani: Asaarun, TagarReshewaalaa.
  4. Siddha: Tagarai
  5. Folk: Taggar, Balaka,Mushkbala, Asaarun, Tagar-ganthoda
  6. Assamese: Tagar
  7. Bengali: Tagar Paduka
  8. English: Indian Valerian
  9. Gujrati: Tagar Ganthoda, Tagar Gantho, Ghodawaj
  10. Hindi: Mushkbala, Sugandhabala
  11. Kannada: Mandibattal, Mandyavanthu, Mandibattalu, Tagar
  12. Kashmiri: Bala, Mushkbala
  13. Malayalam: Thakaram
  14. Marathi: Tagar, Ganthode
  15. Oriya: Tagarapaduka, Jalashiuli
  16. Punjabi: Mushkobala, Sugandhbala
  17. Tamil: Tagarai
  18. Telugu: Grandhi Tagaramu
  19. Urdu: Tagar

Constituents of Tagar

Rhizomes and roots contain cyclopentapyrans (sedative, tranquilizing and bacteriocidal properties), acacetin-7-O-rutinosides, valtrate, didrovaltrate, linarin iso-valerinate, valepotriates, iridoid ester glycoside, valerosidatum. Cyclopentapyrans.

Indian Valerian oils which is extracted from roots contains calarene, betabargamotene, valeranone, ar-curcumene, maalioxide and maalitol.

The unpleasant odor of roots is due to isovaleric acid.

Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Tagara / Indian Valerian

Tagar is bitter, pungent, sweet, astringent- hot- pungent in energetics. It reduces Vata and Kapha. It mainly works on nerves, plasma and muscles. The intake of Tagar, affects respiratory, digestive and nervous system. It has nervine and sedative effect on brain. It is indicated mainly in Apasmara (apa = loss of; smara = consciousnes; Epilepsy), Unmada (insanity), and Shiro roga (disease of the head).

  1. Rasa (taste on tongue) रस: Kasaya (Astringent), Katu (Pungent), Tikta (Bitter)
  2. Guna (Pharmacological Action) गुण: Laghu (Light), Snigdha (Unctuous)
  3. Virya (Action) वीर्य: Ushna (Heating)
  4. Vipaka (transformed state after digestion) विपाक: Katu (Pungent)

It is an Ushna Virya herb. Ushna Virya or hot potency herb, subdues Vata (Wind) and Kapha (Mucus) and increases Pitta (Bile). It has property of digestion, vomiting and purging, and gives feeling of lightness. It is considered bad for sperms and fetus. Due to hot and unctuous (oily) properties, it cures diseases of Vata / wind and pain.

Ayurvedic Action

  1. Vishaghna: विषघ्न poison-destroying
  2. Tridoshahara: त्रिदोषहर corrects the imbalance of Vatta, Pitta and Kapha
  3. Raktadoshahar: रक्तदोषहर blood purifying
  4. Manasadoshhara: मानसदोषहर cures psychological disorders.

Health Benefits of Tagar or Valerian Roots

  1. It has sedative and tranquilizing effect on brain.
  2. It gives relief in temporary mild anxiety, nervousness, and insomnia.
  3. It removes obstruction from nerve channels.
  4. It is one of the best herbs for Vata nervous disorders.
  5. It diminishes irritability of the brain and spinal marrow.
  6. It cleanses Ama (undigested toxins) from the colon, blood, joints, and nerves.
  7. It relieve spasmodic conditions of smooth muscles.
  8. It reduces Vata and Kapha.

Important formulations containing Tagar

  1. Bala Taila
  2. Dhanvantara Taila
  3. Mahanarayana Taila
  4. Devadarvadyarisha
  5. Jatiphaladi Churna
  6. Prabhanjan Vimardana Taila

Important Medicinal Properties of Tagar

Indian Valerian is rich in medicinal properties. The understanding of these properties will help us to better utilize this herb. These also indicate the conditions in which we should avoid it. For example, it has peripheral analgesic action via inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis on acetic acid induced writhing. It exerts hypotensive effects possibly through KATP channel activation. It is radio protective and protect against radiation damage. It induces good sleep by improving monoamine (amine neurotransmitters with single amino group) level.

Below is given medicinal properties along with the meaning.

  1. Analgesic: relieve pain.
  2. Antispasmodic: used to relieve spasm of involuntary muscle.
  3. Antimicrobial: active against microbes.
  4. Anthelmintic: antiparasitic, expel parasitic worms (helminths) and other internal parasites from the body.
  5. Anticonvulsant: prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions.
  6. Carminative: Preventing the formation or causing the expulsion of flatulence.
  7. Radioprotective: protect or aiding in protecting against the injurious effect of radiations.
  8. Tonic: give a feeling of vigour or well-being.
  9. Tranquilizer: reduce tension or anxiety.

Medicinal Use of Valerian

Valerian is used mainly in treatment of brain and nerves related disorders. It has been used as a sedative and antianxiety medicine for more than 2000 years. It is taken in form of powder, tincture or infusion. Intake of Valerian roots shown beneficial effect in following conditions.

  1. Insomnia
  2. Hysteria, Epilepsy
  3. Neurosis, Failing reflexes
  4. Anxiety
  5. Restlessness
  6. Muscle twitching, Spasms
  7. Nervous weakness

Dosage of Indian Valerian

  1. The root powder is prescribed in dose of 1-3 grams in dry powder form.
  2. Tincture (1:1), is taken in dose of 1-3 ml thrice daily.

Contraindications, Interactions, and Adverse Effects (Tagar or Indian Valerian)

  1. Excessive use may dull the mind and can cause pain and heaviness.
  2. It should not be taken long term as it can cause mental depression in some people.
  3. It has stimulating effect rather than a relaxing effect in high dose.
  4. Avoid use in pregnancy.
  5. Overdose may cause central paralysis and other severe conditions.
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