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Tagar: Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Ashok Pal +2 more

Introduction: 

Tagar, also known as Valeriana officinalis, belongs to the Valerianaceae family. It is commonly known as valerian, a famous herb, and might be considered a medicinal plant. It is widely used throughout the world, most notably in China, Europe, and the Middle East. The term valerian is derived from the Latin word ‘Valere’, which means ‘well-being or health’. It comprises rhizomes (horizontal roots), roots, and stolons (horizontal stems) that might be fragmented.There are around 200 species of tagar in Asia, Europe, and North America.1

The common names of tagar are nata, baalaka, tagara, valerian, common valerian, and garden heliotrope in English. Also, vernacular names (local or regional names) of tagar include English valerian, Allheal, German valerian, valerian root, garden heliotrope, great Wild valerian in English; Balahrivera in Sanskrit; Kalavala in Marathi; Catamaci, Paicavi, Jatamansi, Takram in Tamil; Sanballat Web in Arabic; Balchhar, Balchar, Bulchar, Nardin, Ikleel-ul-malik, Simbul-ut-teeb in Urdu.1

tagar uses & benefits

Did you know?

  • Tagar has been used to treat epilepsy and other neurological disorders. Source: ncbi
  • Tagar has been traditionally used to treat digestive issues such as indigestion and bloating. Source: ncbi
  • Tagar has sedative properties and can help promote relaxation and improve sleep quality. Source: ncbi

Nutritional Value of Tagar: 

The nutritional value of tagar is:2 

Nutrients Value % 
Carbohydrate 55.88  
Protein 12.22 
Fat 7.24 
Fibre 5.18 
Energy value 337 kcal/100 g 
Table depicting the nutritional value of tagar2

Properties of Tagar:

Tagar may be beneficial for a wide range of health issues because of the following properties:

  • It may have sedative and hypnotic (sleep-inducing) properties
  • It may have anxiolytic activity (may reduce  anxiety)
  • It may have anticonvulsant activity (may reduce  seizures)
  • It may have attention enhancing properties
  • It may have antidepressant properties
  • It may have antispasmodic (may relieve muscle spasm)
  • It may be beneficial for heart health .1

Based on my observations, consuming Tagar might help in inducing sleep and improving sleep quality in patients with insomnia.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, MD

Potential Uses of Tagar:

Tagar might have some potential uses in various health conditions. However, more studies are required. Some potential uses of babool are described as follows:

Potential uses of tagar for the heart health

A review report by Lanje et al. 2020 suggested that  tagar was tested for antiarrhythmic (may reduce abnormal heartbeat) and coronary dilating (dilating heart arteries) effects in various animal models. According to the results, tagar might lower blood pressure and reduce the heart rate. Also, it had been used in a German heart tonic to maintain brain-heart stability.1 However, these studies are done on animals and not on humans. Therefore, we require more information on its safety for human use.

Potential uses of tagar for the digestive system

Tagar has traditionally been used to manage intestinal spasms, nervous stomach (digestion influenced by the stomach), and colic (severe abdominal pain, usually in babies). Tagar has a bitter flavour that may help with digestion and appetite. It may also be used as a carminative or a gas-relieving agent.1 However, this information is insufficient and more studies are required to support its use in solving digestive problems in humans.

Also Read: Simple Home Remedies For Indigestion

Potential uses of tagar for the nervous system:

Tagar may be used to manage sleep disorders, restlessness, and anxiety. It may also be used as a muscle relaxant. In animal studies, tagar extract exhibited sedative and anticonvulsant effects suggested by a review report by Murti et al., 2011. According to these findings, tagar root extract increased sleeping time and decreased bodily movements. In addition, the aroma of tagar root exhibited sedative activity.3 However, this information is insufficient and requires extensive research to support this claim. People should consult doctors before using tagar for its sedative properties.

Potential uses of tagar for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Tagar maybe believed in enhancing attention. In Germany, tagar has been used to manage attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children. However, there are no research studies evaluating the use of tagar in managing ADHD.1 This information needs to be evaluated by researchers and proper human trials are necessary. Therefore, people should not use tagar to self-medicate themselves before consulting with doctors.

Potential uses of tagar for anxiety and depression

The tagar extract was tested on animals in a study conducted by Hattesohl et al. 2008, where the results showed that tagar might have anxiolytic (lowers anxiety), sedative, antidepressant, and myorelaxant (relaxes the muscle) properties. The study concluded that the anxiolytic and antidepressant activity might be helpful for the sleep-enhancing property of tagar.1 However, these studies are not done on humans; therefore, more human trials are required to support the true scope of tagar in managing anxiety and depression in humans.

Though there are studies showing the benefits of tagar in various conditions, these are insufficient. And there is a need for further studies to establish the true scope of the benefits of tagar on human health. Furthermore, every person may respond differently to these herbs. Therefore, it is essential to consult a doctor before using tagar for any medical condition.

Tagar might also help in relieving menstrual symptoms. As it has analgesic, antispasmodic properties, it might help in reducing muscle tension and pain during menstruation.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

How to Use Tagar? 

Tagar can be used in the following forms:

  • Tea – can be made by soaking dried roots in boiling water.
  • Tinctures
  • Fluid extract
  • Dry powder4
  • Powdered tagar can be taken as a capsule, tablet, or tea.3

You should consult a doctor before taking herbal supplements made from tagar. Do not replace or discontinue your ongoing medications with ayurvedic or herbal preparations without consulting a qualified physician.

Side Effects of Tagar:

Generally, tagar is safe when used for a short period by most adults.

  • However, the side effects of tagar include stomach upset, headache, mental dullness, uneasiness, excitability, insomnia (sleeplessness), and heart disturbances.
  • Some people might experience drowsiness in the morning after taking tagar, particularly at higher doses.
  • Some people report having a dry mouth or having strange dreams.5

If you experience any of these side effects, immediately take medical attention from your physician who has prescribed it. They will be the best person to prescribe you the better treatment possible to overcome these side effects.

Precautions to Take With Tagar:

People should follow general precautions while having tagar.

  • Because tagar has a sleep-inducing effect, it is best to avoid sedatives or alcohol while taking it.4
  • Tagar should not be combined with sleep-inducing drugs like loperamide, fluoxetine, and barbiturates.5
  • Also, avoid tagar during pregnancy and breastfeeding because there is not enough research on whether it is safe to use during these times.5
  • There is not enough information on the usage of tagar in children and the elderly. Therefore, it is advisable to consult your doctor before giving it to children or the elderly.
  • People also need to be cautious and should not use tagar to self-medicate themselves on their own. Instead, we advise you to talk to an Ayurvedic physician; they will guide you best way to have it.

Interactions With Other Drugs:

Avoid taking tagar while taking these medications because it may interact with them.

Sedative and central nervous system (CNS) depressants: It should be used with caution in patients taking CNS depressants as it may enhance their sleeping time.6

Tagar might increase the effects of certain drugs like anticonvulsants (used to control seizures, e.g. phenytoin and valproic acid), barbiturates, benzodiazepines (diazepam and alprazolam), antidepressants (amitriptyline), drugs that manage insomnia (ramelteon, eszopiclone, zaleplon), and alcohol.4

Loperamide (anti-diarrhoeal): A review report (Ulbricht et al. 2008) suggested that tagar might interact with loperamide. One patient-reported acute delirium (a disturbance in mental abilities that causes confused thinking and lowered awareness of the surroundings) due to taking loperamide and tagar simultaneously.6

Fluoxetine (used as a mood stabiliser): A patient on fluoxetine medication experienced changes in mental status and loss of muscle coordination after taking tagar, according to a case study (Ulbricht et al. 2008).6

Anaesthesia: Tagar might enhance the effects of anaesthesia. You must notify your doctor if you are taking tagar and have any scheduled surgery.5

Other medicines: As tagar is broken down by specific liver enzymes, it may interact with other medications broken down by the same enzymes. These medications include statins (used for high cholesterol), some antifungal drugs, and antihistamines (antiallergics).4

Thus, if you take the medicine mentioned above, you must consult an Ayurvedic physician before consuming Tagar. They will direct you to the best form and dosage to have it.

Also Read: Bael: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

Frequently Asked Questions: 

How to use tagar?

Tagar can be consumed as a tea, tinctures, liquid extract, or dry powder. Its powder can be used as a capsule, tablet, or tea.4 However, before using tagar, people should take the advice of their concerned doctors. They will guide you the better form and dosage.

Can tagar be used during pregnancy?

No, because there is insufficient data on the safe usage of tagar during pregnancy. It is safer to avoid using tagar during pregnancy or consult with a doctor.5

Is tagar safe to use, and does it have any side effects?

Tagar may be safer to use. However, it may cause side effects like stomach upset, headache, mental dullness, uneasiness, excitability, insomnia, heart disturbances, drowsiness (in the morning), dry mouth or strange dreams.5 If you experience such side effects, immediately seek medical attention.

Can tagar be used for insomnia?

Tagar might help induce sleep and may be helpful for insomnia.5 However, there is limited evidence available for showing its benefits in insomnia or sleep prolongation.1 Therefore, more studies are required to back this claim.

Does tagar interact with any medicines?

Tagar might interact with medications like diazepam, alprazolam, amitriptyline, ramelteon, eszopiclone, zaleplon, loperamide, fluoxetine, statins, some antifungal drugs, and antihistamines.4,6 Therefore, it is advised to avoid taking tagar with these medicines or take medical consultation before using it.

Can tagar be used during breastfeeding?

No, there is insufficient information on the safe usage of tagar while breastfeeding. Therefore, it is safe to avoid using tagar while breastfeeding or consult your doctor if you want to take tagar.4

What is tagar in Tamil called?

In Tamil, tagar is called Catamaci, Paicavi, Jatamansi, and Takram.1

Can tagar be used to increase attention?

In Germany, tagar is occasionally used to manage children’s attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, there are no sufficient human study reports on the usage of tagar in managing ADHD.1 Therefore, people should first consult with their doctors and only use it if suggested.

Also Read: Helpful Breast Breastfeeding Tips For New Mothers

References: 

1. Lanje CN, Patil SR, Wankhade A. Medicinal Natural Drug of Valerian (Valerina Officinalis): An- Over Review. Am J PharmTech Res [Internet]. 2020 Feb 7;10(1):148–72. Available from: http://ajptr.com/assets/upload/publish_article/AJPTR_1010131.pdf 

2. Khin MM, ThidarSeint, Than NN. Some Bioactivities Screening and Extraction of Essential Oil from Some Bioactivities Screening and Extraction of Essential Oil from Valerianaofficinalis L . ( Kantbalu ). 3rd Myanmar Korea Conf Res J. 2020;3(5). Available at: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/343055428_Some_Bioactivities_Screening_and_Extraction_of_Essential_Oil_from_ValerianaofficinalisL_Kantbalu 

3. Murti K, Kaushik M, Sangwan Y, Kaushik A. Pharmacological Properties of Valeriana Officinalis-a Review. PharmacologyonlineSilaeIt [Internet]. 2011;3:641–6. Available from: http://pharmacologyonline.silae.it/files/newsletter/2011/vol3/059.murti.pdf 

4. Valerian [Internet]. Mount Sinai. 2022. Available from: https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/valerian 

5. Valerian [Internet]. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health. 2020. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/valerian 

6. Ulbricht C, Chao W, Costa D, Rusie-Seamon E, Weissner W, Woods J. Clinical Evidence of Herb-Drug Interactions: A Systematic Review by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Curr Drug Metab [Internet]. 2008 Dec 1;9(10):1063–120. Available from: http://www.eurekaselect.com/openurl/content.php?genre=article&issn=1389-2002&volume=9&issue=10&spage=1063

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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