Tagara (Valeriana Wallichii): Benefits, Uses & Side Effect

Tagara (Valeriana Wallichii) benefits include its use in neurological, psychological, and digestive disorders. In low dosage, it calms the mind, strengthens nerves and prevents convulsions. Therefore, it is used in the treatment of disturbed sleep (insomnia), epilepsy, and paralysis. It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory actions. So, it is used to treat osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It acts as an appetizer, carminative and antispasmodic. So, it helps to treat abdominal pain, flatulence, gas, bloating, abdominal heaviness and loss of appetite. It also improves the strength of the heart muscles and reduces blood pressure. Therefore, it is also included in ayurvedic antihypertensive medicines.

Tagara Side effects include hypotension, lightheadedness, hiccup, nausea, and vomiting. The optimum dosage for Tagara Powder is 500 mg. Let’s start a discussion what is Tagara, its health benefits, medicinal uses, side effects and how to take it in detail below.

What is Tagara (Valeriana Wallichii)?

Tagara or Valeriana Wallichii is a variety of Valerian, known as Indian Valerian. It belongs to Valerianaceae and Valeriana L. genus. The roots of Valeriana Wallichii are used in ayurveda for medicinal purposes.

Common NameTagara
English NameIndian Valerian
Botanical NameValeriana Wallichii
Botanical Synonyms & VarietyValeriana Hardwickii, Valeriana Himalayana
FamilyValerianaceae (Valerians)

Common and Vernacular Names

LanguageName
GujaratiTagar Ganthoda
KannadaMushkabala
MarathiTagaramool
PunjabiSugandha Bala
TamilTagarai

Valeriana Himalayana, Valeriana Wallichii Valeriana Hardwickii

Medicinal Properties

The medicinal uses of Tagara are attributed to the following medicinal properties:

  • Vata pacifier
  • Kapha pacifier
  • Analgesic
  • Anti-convulsant
  • Nootropic and cognitive enhancer
  • Soporific (Sleep inducing)
  • Digestive stimulant
  • Antispasmodic
  • Cholagogue (promotes the discharge of bile)
  • Hepatic stimulant
  • Cardiac stimulant
  • Anti-asthma
  • Diuretic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Strengthening
  • Bitter Tonic
  • Febrifuge
  • Retinoprotective (good for eyes)

Ayurvedic Properties

RASA (Taste)TIKTA (Bitter), KATU (Pungent), KASAYA (Astringent)
GUNA (Main Quality)LAGHU (Light), SNIGADH or SNEHA (Unctuous or Oily)
VIRYA (Potency)USHNA (Hot)
VIPAKA (Resultant)KATU (Pungent)
DOSHA KARMAPacifies Vata Dosha and Kapha Dosha
Valeriana
Valeriana Himalayana

Indications

According to ayurvedic classical indications, Tagara Powder or its formulations are beneficial in the following diseases:

Internal Uses

  1. Vata and Kapha Diseases
  2. Facial Paralysis
  3. Paralysis
  4. Insanity
  5. Epilepsy
  6. Osteoarthritis
  7. Rheumatoid Arthritis
  8. Gout
  9. Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
  10. Whooping Cough
  11. Asthma
  12. Loss of Appetite
  13. Abdominal pain
  14. Constipation
  15. Hepatitis
  16. Jaundice
  17. Ascites
  18. Splenomegaly
  19. Dysuria
  20. Impotence and Erectile Dysfunction
  21. Dysmenorrhea (painful periods)
  22. Skin Diseases
  23. Erysipelas
  24. Chronic Fever (for breaking the fever and treating debility and chronic fatigue)
  25. Malaria (for reducing fever and treating debility)

External Uses

The local application of a paste prepared from its powder (churna) is useful for alleviating pain and preventing infections in the following conditions:

  1. Bone Fracture (its application alleviates pain)
  2. Joints affected with Rheumatoid Arthritis
  3. Wounds (it promotes healing of wounds. Its hot infusion is used to wash wounds.)
  4. Vulvodynia (Vaginal Pain) – douching with its Natadi Tail (oil) is helpful.
Valeriana
Valeriana

Tagara Benefits and Uses

Tagara has beneficial effects on brain, mind, heart, stomach, liver, and spleen. Let’s discuss its medicinal uses and health benefits in details:

  1. It improves the quality of sleep and induces sound sleep. Therefore, it is an effective remedy for insomnia.
  2. It brings calmness to the mind, reduces stress, and elevates mood it helps patients with stress and mood disorders.
  3. It lowers local inflammation, so its paste gives relief in joint pains.
  4. It prevents gas formation and relaxes muscles, so it alleviates abdominal pain and cramps.
  5. It alleviates pain that occurs during menstrual periods.

Insomnia (Sleep Disturbances)

Tagara has soporific (sleep-inducing) action. It improves the quality of sleep and reduces sleep onset latency and increases the duration of NREM sleep. (1, 2, 3)

Its powder in a dosage of 500 mg or its aqueous extract in a dosage of 250 mg is used for improving sleep quality and reduces disturbances in sleep. It is the best alternative medicine for insomnia treatment. It should be used along with Jatamansi Powder (500 mg) and Ashwagandha Powder (500 mg) for getting better results.

Warning:

  • Its low dosage is effective to treat disturbed sleep. 500 mg root powder (twice daily) is an ideal dosage for sleeping problems.
  • If you use Himalaya Tagara Tablet, then 1 tablet twice daily is sufficient dosage. Don’t increase its dosage.
  • In low dosage, it relaxes the mind and induces sleep. It also reduces the feeling of heaviness in the head.
  • But it produces restlessness, agitation, and irritation in high dosage. Therefore, don’t increase its dosage in case of sleep disorders to get better results. It is not likely to provide better sleep with its increased dosage. Instead of this, it may itself cause sleep disturbances by causing several side effects.
  • If you think it is not working for you in the recommended dosage, then you should take it with Jatamansi Powder or capsule and Ashwagandha. In ayurveda, it is always used in combination with

Depression

Dichloromethane extract of Tagara had shown antidepressant effects attributed to its potential to increase in dopamine and norepinephrine level in the forebrain. (4)

In Ayurveda, it is not used for treating depression. Although its low dose may be effective in the treatment of depression. But its high dosage is contraindicated.

According to ayurvedic principles, it should be effective in depression when the patient has apathy, lethargy, laziness, drowsiness, or other passive symptoms of depression (Kapha Symptoms). It is not effective in aggressive symptoms of depression indicating an increase in Pitta Dosha, especially in high dosage. The effects are dose-dependent.

Valeriana Leaves
Valeriana Leaves

Neuroprotective Potential

Its rhizome extract had shown anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects on the brain. It improved the level of antioxidants in the brain and reduced the level of oxidants. (5)

Overall, it exerts neuroprotective action. However, a further study requires evaluating its actions in detail. The current study concludes that it may reduce inflammatory and oxidative damage in the brain and may be helpful in cases of neurodegeneration including Parkinson’s disease.

High Blood Pressure

The research explained its hypotensive effects and antispasmodic property in an animal study. (6)

Ayurveda also believes that it lowers blood pressure and relieves spasms. The potent antihypertensive effects of Tagara appear with its high dose. But it is not likely to be safe. Instead, it is added in some antihypertensive formulations as a supportive medicine.

Abdominal Pain & Cramps

As discussed above, it has antispasmodic action. It also has carminative property. Therefore, it provides relief from abdominal pain and cramps by relieving spasm of abdominal muscles and alleviating gas.

Leishmanial diseases

A preliminary study suggested its use in leishmanial diseases. Its extract had shown activity against amastigotes and promastigotes by exerting cytotoxicity. It caused apoptosis of leishmanial cells. (7)

Asthma

It relaxes and dilates the airways and improves air passage into the lungs due to its bronchodilatory characteristics. (8)

In Ayurveda, it is also used for the treatment of asthma along with Pushkarmool (Inula Racemosa) and Kuth (Saussurea Lappa). This mixture is taken in the dosage of 1000 mg with honey once or twice daily.

Hypochondriasis

Hypochondriasis is chronic anxiety disorder in which patient has imaginary symptoms or disease. In this disease, Tagara powder along with Yashad Bhasma is recommended in ayurveda.Valeriana

Rheumatoid Arthritis

It has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. The hot infusion of Tagara reduces the pain in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis. Its paste is also applied to the affected joints, which alleviates joint pain and inflammation.

Osteoarthritis

It can also be used in osteoarthritis for relieving pain as explained above under the heading of rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, it can also be used along with Nirgundi, Javitri (mace), Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu, Godanti Bhasma, Nagarmotha, Shallaki and Shuddha Guggulu. The fine powder of all these herbs is mixed in equal proportion and given to the patient in the dosage of 4 grams. It helps the patient to get relief from knee pain, backache and other joint pains occurring because of osteoarthritis.

Its fresh rhizome is given along with buttermilk, according to ayurvedic classical text ‘Rajmartand’. This remedy also helps to manage osteoarthritic pain.

Snakebite

Along with Kushta (Saussurea Lappa) powder, it is given in the treatment of snakebite. However, it is used in high dosage to provide relief from snake poisoning. Both herbs are taken in equal amount and given in a dosage of 4 grams 3 times on interval of 1 to 2 hours. It helps to keep a person awake and reduces effects of snake poisoning.

Vulvodynia (Vaginal Pain)

Tagara, Kantakari (Solanum Surattense), Devdaru (Cedrus Deodara) and Sendha Namak (Rock Salt) are taken together in equal proportion. Its coarse powder is added in 16 parts of water and 1 part of sesame oil. The mixture is simmered until oil remains. This oil is preserved for using it in vaginal douche. Douching with this oil helps to treat Vulvodynia. This oil is called Natadai Tail.

Chronic Fever

According to Ayurveda, Vata, Pitta and Kapha Dosha become contaminated during the chronic fever. Thereby, it causes lethargy, apathy, exhaustion, fatigue, and debility in a patient. It also results in unhappiness and loss of interest in work. Tagar powder or its hot infusion helps to break the chronic fever and reduces all these symptoms. For getting better results, it is used in combination with Vasant Malti Ras (Gold).

Valeriana Flower
Valeriana Flower

Hypoactive Delirium

Delirium may also occur due to drug intoxication, alcoholism, and alcohol withdrawal and several other conditions. There are two types of delirium.

  1. Hyperactive: it causes agitation, hallucinations, restlessness, and
  2. Hypoactive: it results in apathy, lethargy, drowsiness, and decreased responsiveness.

Tagara is effective in hypoactive delirium, but it should be taken in low dose.

Warning

  • It is effective for hypoactive delirium when taken in low dosage (500 mg twice daily for root powder and 250 mg twice daily for rhizome extract, 1 tablet or capsule twice daily).
  • When its dosage exceeds, it increases the risk of opposite effects. It starts causing delirium itself instead of treating it. So, it’s dangerous herb to prescribe in delirium in high dosage. Because the beneficial effects are dose-dependent, so be careful.
  • In high dosage, it causes hyperactive delirium that results in vertigo (dizziness), agitation, restlessness, and
  • If you take it in high dosage and tolerate it, then it may cause delirium during its withdrawal.
  • If you still feel 500 mg is not well-tolerated in your case, you should further decrease its dosage. Also, include Munakka (a variety of Indian raisins) in your diet.

How to Take Tagara

The common medicinal part of Tagara Herb (Valeriana Wallichii Plant) is its roots. Its root powder is commonly used in traditional ayurvedic practice. Now, it is also available in capsule and tablet form. Here is reference dosage for each formulation.

Tagara Powder Dosage

The ground roots (fine powder) of Valeriana Wallichii Plant are called Tagara Powder or Churna. Its dosage is as follows:

Children10 mg per Kg body weight
Adults250 to 1000 mg; (500 mg is an ideal dosage)
Maximum Possible Dosage2000 mg Per Day (in divided doses)

Note:

  1. If herb has a good quality and retains maximum volatile oil, then 500 mg twice daily is sufficient dosage in the most cases.
  2. If the powder has an excellent aromatic fragrance (i.e. it contains the maximum amount of volatile oil), then its dosage should not exceed 1000 mg. Otherwise, it results in severe adverse effects.
  3. However, if the powder has lost its aroma or contains less volatile oil, then 1875 mg may require for getting the results.

Important Note: Generally, Tagara available in the Indian Market is not original roots of Valeriana Wallichii. These are adulterated with Tagar ‎Chandni (Tabernaemontana Coronaria) or its dried stems and roots are sold in name of Tagar, which are not effective. So, Himalaya Tagara Tablets are better than its homemade powder.

How to Take

  • In the most cases, it is required to take twice daily.
  • Take it after breakfast and dinner.

Adjuvants

The best suitable Adjuvants for Tagara Powder are:

Health ConditionsSuitable Adjuvant
Vata DisordersCow’s Ghee, Milk
Kapha DisordersHoney, lukewarm water

Tagara Tablet

Tagara Tablet is manufactured by Himalaya. Each tablet contains 250 mg extract of Valeriana Wallichii rhizome. The main indication of these tablets is insomnia or disturbed sleep.

Dosage

  • Take 1 tablet twice daily (after breakfast and dinner).

Adjuvants

  • Lukewarm water
  • Cow’s Milk

Brands & Manufacturers

  1. Himalaya Tagara Tablets

Ayurvedic Formulations of Tagara

  1. Dashang Lepa
  2. Natadi Tail
  3. Natadi Lehyam
  4. Tagaradi Kashayam

Side Effects & Safety

In low dosage (approx. 500 mg), Tagara Powder (Churna) is likely safe for the most individuals, especially in case of long-term therapy. In this dosage, it is less likely to cause any side effects and safe to consume.

Although it is also used in high dosage in some cases (like snakebite), but it is prescribed along with other herbs and for a very short period.

Tagara Side Effects

Tagara Side effects include:

  1. Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  2. Lightheadedness
  3. Hiccup
  4. Nausea
  5. Vomiting

All these side effects start appearing when a patient takes original Tagara powder more than 2000 mg or its rhizome extract more than 600 mg a day.

However, the tolerated dosage can also vary in different people. People with Kapha Prakriti can tolerate its maximum dosage, but people with Pitta Prakriti can only tolerate it up to 500 mg twice daily.

Antidote of Tagara

Munakka (Indian variety of raisins) is an antidote for Tagara poisoning and gives relief from its side effects.

People with Pitta Prakriti taking any form of Tagara should include soaked Munakka in their diet for precautionary purposes. This precaution can be taken if they require a long-term treatment.

Pregnancy & Lactation

Pregnant women should avoid the use of Tagara and its formulations because it acts as a uterine stimulant and may have effects on uterine contractions. However, its safety profile is not well studied for its use during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Therefore, it is better to stay away from it.

Contraindications

However, there are no absolute contraindications of Tagara (Valeriana Wallichii), but it may not be suitable for people suffering from the following diseases, according to ayurvedic principles:

  1. Bleeding disorders
  2. Ulcerative colitis
  3. Peptic Ulcers
  4. True Valerian is reported to interact with anesthetic drugs. Indian valerian may also interact because both have similar active compounds. Therefore, you should not take it before and after surgery.

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Photo Attribution Photographs by Dinesh Valke
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