27 mins read

Valerian is a natural supplement used in treatment for insomnia/sleep conditions, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), stress and anxiety conditions, depression, epilepsy, infantile convulsions, menopausal signs, menstrual cramps, restlessness, fatigue syndrome (CFS), and tremblings.

Valerian promotes falling asleep, however does not minimize night awakenings. Valerian does not relieve sleeping disorders as fast as benzodiazepines.

Valerian is available under the following different brand names: all heal, amantilla, baldrian, baldrianwurzel, garden heliotrope, herba benedicta, Valeriana edulis, Valeriana jatamansii, Valeriana officinalis, Valeriana sitchensis, Valeriana spp, and Valeriana wallichii. [1]


Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an herb belonging to Europe and parts of Asia. Valerian root has a long history of use as a sedative.

Valerian can grow to be just over 6 feet high and has a strong smell. It seems to act like a sedative in the brain and nervous system. Valerian has actually been utilized as a standard medication going back to ancient Greek and Roman times.

People typically utilize valerian for sleep conditions, specifically insomnia. Valerian is likewise utilized for stress and anxiety, stress, and many other conditions, but there is no good clinical proof to support most of these usages. [2]


Valerian has been used as a medical herb since a minimum of the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was in some cases positioned in the wedding clothes of the groom to fend off the “envy” of the elves. In the 16th century, Pilgram Marpeck recommended valerian tea for a sick lady.

John Gerard’s Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes, very first released in 1597, states that his contemporaries found valerian “outstanding for those burdened and for such as be bothered with croup and other like convulsions, and also for those that are bruised with falls.” He says that the dried root was valued as a medicine by the bad in the north of England and the south of Scotland, such that “no brothes, pottages or phisicalle meates are woorth [worth] anything if Setwall [valerian] were not at one end.”

The seventeenth century astrological botanist Nicholas Culpeper thought the plant was “under the influence of Mercury, and for that reason hath a warming professors.” He advised both herb and root, and said that “the root boiled with liquorice, raisons and aniseed is good for those bothered with cough. Also, it is of unique worth against the pester, the preparation thereof being intoxicated and the root smelled. The green herb being bruised and applied to the head taketh away discomfort and puncturing thereof.

Etymology and common names

The name of the herb is derived from the personal name Valeria and the Latin verb valere (to be strong, healthy). Other names used for this plant consist of garden valerian (to differentiate it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not associated with Heliotropium), setwall and all-heal (which is likewise utilized for plants in the genus Stachys). Red valerian, frequently grown in gardens, is also in some cases described as “valerian”, however is a various species (Centranthus ruber), from the very same family however not extremely closely associated. [3]

How Does Valerian Root Work?

Valerian root contains several chemical substances that might impact the human brain and body, however researchers have not entirely identified which substances affect us. Most likely, numerous components act together to offer impacts. Researchers have actually determined the following active substances in valerian root:

  • Iridoids, likewise called valepotriates
  • Necessary oils, including valerenic acid8 and valeric acid
  • Lignans
  • Flavonoids
  • GABA (at low levels)

Impacts on the Body

More research study is needed, however valerian root might impact the body in a range of methods. For instance, the iridoids found in valerian root may function as anti-inflammatories and inhibit the expression of particular genes. Studies of mice suggest that valerian root can ease pain in the body through flavonoids, which hinder the production of nitric oxide.

Effects on the Brain

When it concerns the brain, researchers have mainly studied how valerenic acid in valerian root affects GABA receptors, a kind of neurotransmitter in the brain. The impact on GABA receptors is at least partially how valerian root supplements alleviate stress and anxiety, though its effect might vary from person to person depending upon their sex and age. Valerian root also likely effects serotonin receptors, which are associated with state of mind and sleep.

Valerian root has actually also been found to minimize brain activity in the motor cortex9 in reaction to stimulation, in addition to change how brain waves10 in different parts of the brain work together in action to stress and stress and anxiety. [4]

Possible health advantages of valerian

Studies have revealed that taking valerian in supplement form might be useful for dealing with certain conditions, including anxiety and sleeping disorders.

Valerian root for stress and anxiety symptoms and stress

Research suggests valerian root may help reduce nervous feelings that take place in action to stressful situations.

A 2021 study in 39 individuals going through hemodialysis discovered that they had a substantial decreases in anxiety symptoms after taking 530 mg of valerian root 1 hour prior to bedtime for 1 month, compared to a placebo.

The treatment considerably enhanced sleep quality and depression also.

In addition to valerian root’s possible anti-anxiety results, limited proof recommends it may assist with persistent conditions identified by distressed behaviors, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

A high quality research study from 2011 looked at the results of valerian on OCD habits in 31 adults with OCD. Those who took 765 mg of valerian extract daily for 8 weeks revealed a reduction in compulsive and compulsive habits compared to those who took a placebo.

A 2014 research study in 169 elementary school kids with hyperactivity and concentration difficulties took a look at the effects of daily treatment with a mix of 640 mg of valerian extract and 320 mg of lemon balm extract.

After 7 weeks, the children who took the treatment revealed more than 50% improvement in measures of focus, hyperactivity, and impulsiveness.

While these findings are promising, human research studies examining the results of valerian supplements on anxiety, tension, and mental health conditions are limited. Thus, more research study is required.

Valerian root might assist you sleep much better

Among the most studied benefits of valerian is its capability to enhance sleep.

Research recommends that taking valerian root might lower the amount of time it requires to go to sleep, as well as enhance sleep quality and amount.

A 2020 evaluation that included 60 studies concluded that valerian could be a safe and reliable treatment to promote sleep and avoid involved disorders.

In the very same 2021 research study in 39 people undergoing hemodialysis discussed previously in this article, people had higher quality sleep when they took 530 mg of valerian root 1 hour before bedtime for 1 month, compared to a placebo.

In a 2017 research study that included 120 people with sleep disturbances, one group took 2 pills of a herbal supplement called Vagonotte 30 minutes before their arranged bedtime for 20 days.

They fell asleep faster, slept longer, and had less nighttime awakenings than the placebo group.

Vagonotte is a natural supplement that contains a mix of valerian, hop, and jujube.

A high quality study from 2011 took a look at the results of valerian extract in 100 postmenopausal females who were experiencing insomnia.

Those who got 530 mg of valerian extract twice a day for 4 weeks had significantly improved sleep quality compared with those who took a placebo.

Additionally, 30% of the ladies in the valerian group experienced sleep enhancements, compared with just 4% in the placebo group.

Nevertheless, not all research studies have actually found that valerian provides sleep advantages.

A 2011 study looked at 227 people who were going through cancer treatment. Those who took 450 mg of valerian 1 hour before bedtime for 8 weeks did not have any significant improvements in sleep, as measured by sleep quality indexes.

Yet the research study did discover that the valerian treatment led to enhancements in tiredness.

Although valerian might be useful for enhancing particular elements of sleep in some people, more research is needed before strong conclusions can be made.

Other prospective advantages of valerian root

There is less published research study on the effects of valerian on other conditions. However, some research studies recommend that valerian root might supply benefits for:

Menopausal symptoms. Valerian might help in reducing hot flashes in menopausal and postmenopausal people. In a 2018 research study, taking 1,060 mg of valerian per day for 2 months minimized hot flashes in postmenopausal women.

Menstrual issues. Individuals who experience premenstrual syndrome (PMS) or painful menstruation might gain from valerian. One study discovered that it enhanced physical, psychological, and behavioral signs of PMS.

Uneasy legs syndrome. In 2009, an 8-week study in people with uneasy legs syndrome discovered that taking 800 mg of valerian per day improved symptoms and decreased daytime sleepiness.

Keep in mind that research investigating the possible health advantages of valerian root is continuous and scientists are still discovering the methods valerian affects human health.

Research study suggests valerian root might assist improve sleep quality, lower stress and anxiety, enhance signs of OCD, and decrease hyper behavior in children. It might also use a few other advantages. However, more research is needed. [5]

Unverified claims

There may be advantages that have not yet been shown through research study.

Valerian might serve as a sedative. This soothes the nervous system and lowers tension and anxiousness. It may be utilized as a hypnotic. This induces a deep state of sleep. It may serve as an antispasmodic. This indicates it decreases muscle spasms or cramps in the muscles. It may be utilized as a hypotensive representative. This decreases high blood pressure. It’s used as a carminative. This is a natural solution. It has a great deal of unpredictable oils. It promotes the digestive system to work well.

Valerian may be utilized to reduce tension, anxiety, stress, over-excitability, and hysterical feelings. It’s used to deal with insomnia, menstrual pain, digestive tract colic, rheumatic pain, and migraine discomfort. [6]

What side effects may I see from receiving this medicine?

Negative effects that you need to report to your medical professional or health care expert as soon as possible:

  • allergies like skin rash, itching or hives, swelling of the face, lips, or tongue
  • breathing problems
  • changes in emotions or moods, like depressed state of mind
  • confused, forgetful
  • dark urine
  • fast, irregular heart beat
  • problems with balance, talking, strolling
  • abnormally weak or worn out
  • yellowing of the eyes, skin

Side effects that generally do not require medical attention (report to your doctor or healthcare expert if they continue or are annoying:

  1. indigestion
  2. dizziness
  3. exhaustion

This list may not explain all possible adverse effects. Call your physician for medical suggestions about negative effects. [7]


The FDA (or other controling companies) do not monitor herbs and supplements for quality or pureness. So, it is very important to select products from reliable sources. While further studies are needed to examine any prospective long-lasting adverse effects, there have been extremely few reports of major negative events in connection to valerian.

According to the National Institutes of Health, the side effects most commonly reported by people associated with valerian clinical trials are:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • irritation
  • gastrointestinal disruptions

Nevertheless, these adverse effects can not be directly credited to valerian, as some of the people who were taking placebo supplements also reported negative effects.

Despite valerian’s observed gentleness, ladies who are pregnant or breast-feeding are advised to prevent it since no studies have been performed on the possible risks of valerian to a fetus or an infant.

Children under 3 years old should not be provided valerian either as its results on early development have not been evaluated.

Finally, an individual needs to speak with a doctor before utilizing valerian if they are already taking:

  • benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium, or Ativan
  • main nerve system depressants, such as phenobarbital or morphine
  • other sleep-aiding dietary supplements, such as kava or melatonin

The sedative and depressant homes of these drugs and supplements may integrate with those of valerian, leading to grogginess or more severe adverse effects.

Even if one is not taking any other medications, it is constantly a good idea to speak to a physician prior to taking any supplements, including valerian.

The medical professional will supply insight into whether valerian is an excellent choice, and may likewise recommend brand names and does they think to be most safe and effective. [8]

Associated Dangers

Unlike prescription sleep medications, valerian root is not believed to bring a threat of dependency. In some cases, it is even utilized to help insomniacs with benzodiazepine withdrawal.

Nevertheless, the supplement must just be used under the supervision of a certified healthcare expert, and care needs to be utilized if you are taking the supplement for an extended amount of time.

Do not run heavy or hazardous equipment until you understand how the supplement impacts you.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not regulate the production of herbs and supplements. Many herbs and supplements are not thoroughly evaluated, and there is no warranty about the ingredients or safety of the products.4 It might be smart to consult with your medical professional before taking valerian root for social stress and anxiety disorder. [9]

Possible Interactions

If you are presently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not utilize valerian without talking with your health care provider.

Medications broken down by the liver

Valerian might decrease how quickly particular drugs are broken down by the liver. Numerous medications depend on the liver to break them down, so it’s possible that in some cases, too much of these drugs could build up in the body. To be safe, ask your doctor prior to taking valerian if you are likewise taking any other medications.


Valerian can increase the effect of drugs, including:

  • Anticonvulsants, such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines, such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
  • Drugs to deal with insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants, such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Alcohol
  • The very same is true of other herbs with a sedating effect, such as chamomile, lemon balm, and catnip.

Other drugs

Because valerian is broken down by specific liver enzymes, it might engage with other drugs that are broken down by the exact same enzymes. These might consist of many different medications, including but not restricted to the following:

  • Antihistamines
  • Statins, considered high cholesterol
  • Some antifungal drugs


Valerian might increase the impacts of anesthesia. If you are having surgery, it is very important to tell your medical professionals, specifically your cosmetic surgeon and anesthesiologist, that you are taking valerian. The medical professionals might suggest you gradually lower the dosage of valerian before surgical treatment. Or, they may enable you to utilize valerian up to the time of surgical treatment, making any required adjustments to the anesthesia. [10]

Area Of Adaptation

Valerian is belonging to most of Europe and part of northern Asia, with a complex of subspecies dispersed throughout temperate to subpolar Eurasia. It is cultivated in England, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, eastern Europe, and Japan. It has actually ended up being naturalized in the North West and North East U.S. and is reported to happen in Manitoba as an escapee from cultivation. Valerian grows well in hot or cold, wet or dry climates, however chooses rich heavy loam with lots of moisture.

Website Choice And Seeding

The shoots occur from a short root (horizontal underground stem) (2 – 4 cm long and 1 – 2 cm broad, which likewise generates roots 2 – 15 cm long and 1 – 2 mm wide, which are wrinkled lengthwise) and sometimes the plant spreads from horizontal runners (stolons). The roots and fibrous rhizomes have a really strong odour and bitter taste. The stems are hollow and grooved, basic to slightly branched above. The leaves are opposite, deeply divided, with 7 – 10 sets of toothed brochures, becoming progressively smaller sized towards the top of the plant. The flowers, which bloom from June to August, are white or pale pink and fragrant, with irregular tubular corollas typically stimulated at the base, and three stamens. The inflorescence consists of terminal flat-topped clusters (a corymb). The tiny fruits have a crown of feathery fluff (pappus). Valerian is an extremely variable species which has at least 3 subspecies and numerous intermediate populations. At least 2 other types of valerian, V. jatamansi Jones (Indian valerian) and V. edulis Nutt. ex Torr. & & Gray subsp. procera F.G. Meyer (Mexican valerian) are also sold for medical functions. In Manitoba there is likewise a native types, V. dioica L., which is used medicinally by our Very first Nations individuals.

Valerian grows on a vast array of soils, however moist, abundant loam with pH 6.0 to 7.0 is finest. It is noted as being sturdy to zone 4, however has been cultivated experimentally here in Manitoba in zone 3 areas. (Consult your Ag Representative to figure out which zone you are in). It likes complete sun or partial shade. Direct seeding is done in mid-August, with germination of around 80% in about 5 weeks. Seeds can also be started in the greenhouse and transplanted after the last frost. Seeds germinate in about 20 days if begun in flats. Light is needed for germination, and seeds should be planted no much deeper than 1/2 inch. (1 cm). Keep seeds continuously moist (30 – 60% soil moisture material). Stratification does not improve germination. Seeds lose their practicality after two years. Root cuttings are likewise possible, however they go through lots of illness. [11]

Dosage and Preparation

There is no set dosage for valerian root or valerian root extracts. A lot of valerian capsules and tablets are created in dosages ranging from 300 to 600 milligrams and are considered safe within this range.9

The results of valerian root are said to be visible within one to 2 hours. It is typically best to take a dose 30 minutes or 2 hours prior to bedtime.

To make valerian tea, add 2 to 3 grams of dried valerian root (roughly 1 to 2 teaspoons) to one cup of hot water and enable to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Valerian tinctures and extracts can differ in concentration; as a basic guideline, never go beyond the suggested dose on the item label.

Valerian vital oil is primarily used for aromatherapy and is not planned for internal usage. Even food-grade vital oils utilized for flavoring should never be taken by mouth. [12]

How should I take valerian?

When thinking about making use of natural supplements, seek the recommendations of your medical professional. You might likewise think about speaking with a specialist who is trained in using herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use valerian, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your physician, pharmacist, or other doctor. Do not utilize more of this item than is advised on the label.

Do not squash, chew, break, or open a valerian pill. Swallow it entire.

If you require surgery, stop taking valerian at least 2 weeks ahead of time.

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with valerian does not enhance, or if it becomes worse while utilizing this product.

Shop at space temperature level away from moisture and heat. [13]


Still, some people have actually reported several small negative effects, such as brilliant dreams, heart palpitations, dry mouth, indigestion, headaches, and psychological fogginess.

If you’re experiencing any side effects that you believe could be related to valerian root, think about reducing your dosage.

Furthermore, if you’re uncertain about how to use this herb, talk to your healthcare provider for more assistance.


Our Score
Previous Story

Galangal Root

Next Story


Latest from Blog