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We are all obsessed with sleep – we want more, we want better and we feel our mates who don’t get enough…cue in our secret weapon; valerian. We decided to look into this mysterious ingredient a bit more, to find out what makes it so helpful for catching a few zzz.

An ancient sedative

Valerian has been used traditionally in Western Herbal Medicine for its calming properties for over 2,000 years, dating back to ancient Greece. It’s a widely-used herb across the globe, having been a popular part of European herbal medicine for the past 500 years, and also used by the Eclectic herbal physicians in 19th century USA. Currently, Swisse uses in our Swisse Ultiboost Sleep, to help relieve nervous tension and assist natural, restful sleep.

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Cooler climates

We recently visited the valerian fields of Erica in the Netherlands, to learn more about how Swisse’s valerian travels from the field to the shelf, and to speak to the people responsible for making it happen.

Grown in cool climates, valerian is harvested during cold weather periods, as this is when the vegetative part of the plant dies and root harvesting becomes easier. Although the plant produces a beautiful lilac and white flower, it’s the hairy root bulb that contains the medicinal properties.

Erica-based valerian farmer, Wilbert Siebring, told us, “I have been a valerian farmer since 1984. Valerian is a very interesting crop and we put a lot of effort into it, but we also get a lot of return. It’s a very special crop for us.”

The dried and washed root is delivered to Swisse’s natural ingredient partner, Naturex, for extraction and formulation. Naturex tests the content of the valeric acid to make sure it is compliant with its requirements.

Main health benefits of valerian

Valerian is traditionally used in Western Herbal Medicine for its calming properties to help minimise occasional sleep challenges. It can support natural, restful sleep and be used to help relieve tenseness, restlessness and irritability. For those looking for assistance with sleep, Swisse offers Swisse Ultiboost Sleep.

Find out more about how Swisse sources valerian from Erica in the Netherlands: