The valerian plant is a hardy perennial whose flowers were once used to make perfume. The root of the plant contains chemicals called valepotriates as well as volatile oils and alkaloids and is widely believed to be a natural sedative. "Tea made from valerian root relaxes the nerves," says Roberta Lee, MD, the vice chair of he Department of Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel Medical Center and the author of The SuperStress Solution. "Think of it as a very weak Valium."
Recommended dosage: No need to grind your own roots; simply steep a prepared bag in hot water. The taste is naturally bitter, so add honey to sweeten.