I've used valerian root before, in a blend for menstrual cramps. It works pretty well for that purpose, not something you usually see when you are doing research on the herb. It helps by relaxing muscle, and since the uterus is a muscle, it helps pretty well.
It's mainly touted, however, for it's benefits for sleep (anxiety too, but mainly sleep). I've never really had trouble sleeping until now. I must say, so far valerian has been dismal in its effects for sleep. A little more online research suggests that's because of how I'm brewing it. It's another one of those roots, like kava kava, that seems to do better with cold water. (How many roots are like this?? I never knew this before...)
Unfortunately I'd already brewed up a strong valerian tea again tonight with boiling water, but tomorrow I'll try the cold and let you know how it goes! One website suggested as long as steeping overnight. Also makes me wonder how much better it would've done for menstrual cramps all these years. Maybe I really can throw my ibuprophen out!
Kava Kava is sometimes mixed with valerian, I could see that being nice and that would definately be something to experiment with. Kava kava has seemed to help me remember my dreams, at the very least. Some say they are more vivid, and for me, this basically means I am remembering them, or perhaps just having more than usual. Colors do seem a bit more striking perhaps...
Another thing to note is that valerian also seems to be taxing on the liver, so I need to go easy on the coffee (something I'm cutting anyway since caffeine makes you more anxious!), alcohol etc. As a result, kava kava and valerian are probably both contraindicated with any other anti-depressant or anti-anxiety perscription drugs (which are also hard on the liver!). Taking a break from any herbs once in awhile is probably a good idea too.
Don't think I'm offering any medical advice or advice on herbs for that matter, I'm not, I'm just offering a little insight into my own experiment!
Well, I'm off to try to sleep.
Wish me luck...or light a candle...or whatever it is you do!