Valeriana officinalis and Melissa officinalis in history
It is the roots (and rhizome) of the Valerian plant from which the extract is obtained. However, the sleep-inducing effect is not from any specific component or ‘active ingredient’, but instead the combination of all components within the extract.
Melissa officinalis or lemon balm as it is more commonly known is a perennial herb found in Southern Europe and North Africa. In about AD 50-80, the herb was mentioned to be useful in a number of different indications including stomach pain, constipation and joint pain. Today it is used for its calming effect.3