Medicinal use of valerian root dates back thousands of years to the second century, but how it is used has changed significantly over time. Treating stomach cramps was one early use, although it is no longer used in this regard today because it is ineffective.
One of the earliest medicinal uses of valerian root was to treat insomnia, and this use continues today. This is because certain chemicals in the plant are believed to have a sedative effect.
Other uses, not proven with research, have included treating anxiety, stress, depression, attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, tremors, epilepsy, menopause symptoms and other conditions.