Side effects of valerian

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Teas That Help You Sleep

Below we review the best tea ingredients for sleep. You’ll find many bedtime teas actually contain multiple of these ingredients.

Chamomile tea

Chamomile is oft cited as the best tea for sleep. The perennially popular herbal tea has been used for centuries to stave off insomnia, stress, anxiety, and upset stomachs. Chamomile has positive effects on individuals with mild to moderate generalized anxiety disorder, and it also has antidepressant qualities. The tea works as a mild tranquilizer, relaxing the nerves and muscles.

Multiple small studies have found chamomile to provide various benefits, although the results are still inconclusive regarding sleep. One 2011 study split individuals with insomnia into two groups: one group took a placebo while the other took a chamomile extract twice a day for four weeks. While the chamomile had no effect on sleep onset, quality, or overall length, it did show some improvement in daytime functioning. However, a 2005 study of rats found chamomile extract helped them fall asleep much quicker.

Why do we believe chamomile helps induce sleep, despite not having any conclusive evidence? Like many of the teas on this list, chamomile has a calming effect that promotes relaxation. And we believe it helps us sleep – that may be the most important part of all.

Chamomile can induce an allergic reaction, and should be avoided by pregnant women or anyone about to have surgery due to its blood-thinning properties. For best results, steep this sweet and flowery tea for 10 minutes before drinking.

Valerian tea

While chamomile is the most popular tea for sleep, there’s a stronger option preferred by those who really need help falling asleep: valerian tea.

Unlike chamomile, studies have proven moderate improvement of insomnia symptoms in drinkers of valerian tea.

As a strong natural sedative, valerian root has been used since the second century to help people fall asleep faster, reduce symptoms of insomnia and anxiety, and increase overall sleep quality. It works so well, that some people use it instead of melatonin supplements. Plus, valerian tea helps sleep without causing many of the side effects associated with other common sleep medications.

However, valerian root can become addictive or interfere with other medications, so check with your doctor before taking it. Valerian also takes a few days to a few weeks for the effect to kick in. For best results, steep for at least 5 minutes before drinking.

Decaf green tea

Green tea is always a healthy option, and serves as a nice bedtime tea alternative for those who don’t like the taste of herbal teas.

The decaf version includes theanine, which reduces stress and improves sleep. A sponsored study of young men in their 20s found that those who took a pure L-theanine supplement before bed enjoyed better sleep efficiency, and a more energized mental state upon waking. However, a cup of tea doesn’t really have sufficient amounts of theanine to get you to fall asleep, so individuals really having trouble sleeping might want to get a pure L-theanine supplement instead.

Other benefits to green tea include potential weight loss, increased cognitive performance, deeper sleep, better digestion, and reduced cancer and diabetes risk.

Lavender tea

Lavender reduces stress and anxiety, which comprise many of the thoughts that keep insomniacs up at night. It may be the smell of lavender that promotes sleep, rather than ingesting it: a 2005 study found that smelling lavender oil before bed increased the time spent in deep sleep, and resulted in corresponding feelings of restoration and higher energy levels the following morning.

Lavender tea may have stronger effects for women. In one study of new postnatal mothers, the participants who drank one cup of lavender tea for two weeks had lower rates of depression and fatigue, an effect which went away when they stopped having the tea.

Lemon balm tea

As far back as the Middle Ages, insomniacs have been relying on this calming herb to reduce stress, anxiety, and indigestion. As a member of the mint family, lemon balm has a minty yet lemony taste. There are lemon balm teas available, or you can steep lemon balm leaves in a cup of hot water.

For best results reducing insomnia, lemon balm should be combined with other herbs. In one study, 81 percent of participants with mild sleep issues slept better with a combo of lemon balm and valerian than those who took a placebo. Lemon balm may interact with the GABA receptors in your brain, the activation of which reduces stress and helps induce sleep.

Passionflower tea

Passionflower tea is beloved by people with anxious and obsessive thoughts. The floral tea calms the mind as well as the stomach, since it also alleviates indigestion.

Passionflower relaxes the nervous system, and a 2011 study found that it at least improves sleep quality in the short-term.

More sleep tea ingredients

The herbs above are the most popular bedtime tea flavors. Many sleepytime teas also include one or more of the following ingredients to promote sleep:

  • St. John’s Wort tea: Commonly used to treat depression, St. John’s Wort can help insomniacs who also have comorbid depression. Like lemon balm, researchers believe it stimulates the GABA receptors, which kickstarts the sleep process.
  • Catnip tea: While it makes cats go crazy, catnip tea reduces insomnia for humans by inducing drowsiness. Tea-drinking cat lovers can bond over the shared interest with their feline companions.
  • Spearmint tea: This anti-inflammatory is often added to sleep teas purely for flavor purposes, but it also soothes indigestion and headache that may cause insomnia.
  • Magnolia bark tea: Magnolia bark has been used in Asia for centuries to calm anxiety and nerves. The active compound magnolol acts as a mild sedative.
  • Linden leaf or tilia tea: While typically used as a remedy for the common cold, the tilia flowers of the linden tree is calming herb is another mild sedative.
  • Hops tea: Besides making beer, the same female flowers have been used for reducing stress and creating relaxation, offering a bedtime alternative for beer drinkers.

Sleepytime tea is herbal tea prepared by Celestial Seasonings, containing chamomile, spearmint, lemongrass, tilia flowers, blackberry leaves, orange blossoms, hawthorn, and rosebuds.

Despite its natural origins, Sleepytime tea has side effects, which may come as a surprise to some.

But then, just because a product is naturally derived doesn’t mean it won’t have unexpected side effects in similar ways to over-the-counter and prescribed medicinal products made from chemicals.

Here’s an example. Chamomile is touted as an excellent herb for helping people sleep because it calms the nervous system, but what many don’t know is that chamomile can cause allergic reactions in those who suffer from a ragweed and/or daisy allergy.

These plants all belong to the same family, Asteraceae, and there is a risk of cross-reactivity.

How long does Sleepytime tea take to work? This depends on the person, but the normal expected time would be within 15 to 30 minutes.

Does Sleepytime Tea Actually Help You Fall Asleep?

Does Sleepytime tea work? Well, yes and no, and the answer depends on the individual. Not every herb in the tea will make every person equally drowsy after drinking it, and it isn’t fair to expect as much.

How long does Sleepytime tea take to work? Again, this depends on the person, but the normal expected time would be within 15 to 30 minutes. Here’s a little more on some specific ingredients of Sleepytime tea:

  • The primary active ingredient in Sleepytime is chamomile. It’s been used to help calm the nervous system since antiquity.
  • Another ingredient is tilia flowers, which can have a tranquilizing effect on the nervous system.
  • The combination of chamomile and tilia flowers should induce calm and drowsiness, but try it for yourself and see. Perhaps you might take better to herbal concoction with valerian and passionflower in it, two other herbs with soporific effects.

Possible Side Effects of Sleepytime Tea

As with anything, there is a chance that a person could experience side effects from drinking this herbal tea. We’ve already mentioned the potential for cross-reactivity to chamomile in those with allergies to ragweed (even though this is rare). Below are a few other possible side effects.

1. A Reaction to Tilia Flowers

There is some speculation in the medical community that these flowers can cause cardiac damage when used frequently and long-term, though this is rare.

2. A Reaction to Blackberry Leaves

Blackberry leaves are high in tannins, which can cause an upset stomach or even vomiting. If you have a sensitive stomach, don’t take the tea on an empty belly but rather with a light snack.

3. A Drop in Blood Pressure and Blood Sugar Level

Mint may lower blood pressure and blood sugar level, so talk to your doctor before taking this tea if you’re a diabetic and/or have blood pressure concerns.

4. Sleepytime Tea and Pregnancy

When pregnant you have to be very careful about what you ingest, especially when it comes to herbs. It’s best to discuss with your doctor which herbs are safe to take during pregnancy, and see if the ones in this tea are OK at these doses.

Other Natural Ways that May Help You Fall Asleep Faster

  • If you’re having trouble sleeping, rather than lying there tossing and turning, you should get out of bed for 15 to 30 minutes and do something quietly. Then try to go back to sleep.
  • Take a warm bath. The heat will help relax you.
  • Drink a glass of warm milk.
  • Do some exercise earlier in the day as it will help you sleep better at night, but give your body time to wind down and don’t exercise too close to bedtime.
  • Meditate in the evening to help unwind.
  • Try some breathing techniques to help you sleep.

Other Possible Sleepytime Tea Side Effects

Some people have reported having Sleepytime tea nightmares, but there are many possible causes for nightmares, so it’s difficult to ascertain whether the nightmares came from the tea or something else.

Another, stronger, brand of bedtime tea produced by Celestial Seasonings is Sleepytime Extra Tea, and its side effects are no different from the regular Sleepytime tea, except for the addition of valerian, a powerful sedative.

Speak to your doctor before drinking this tea, especially if you are taking medications that might be contraindicated.

“What we know is that in our brain, the receptors for a variety of chemicals are slightly different in everyone,” Dr. Bollu explains. “Those detectors are super-sensitive in some people and not as sensitive in others.” He compares it to how people have varied responses to caffeine: Your friend may be able to drink coffee late at night and fall asleep no problem, but if you drink a latté after 4 p.m., you’re up all night.

“These herbal teas act in the brain just like that,” Dr. Bollu says.”One person might feel better with lavender tea, while another person may require chamomile and not respond to lavender.”

Jaclyn London, MS, RD, CDN, Nutrition Director at the Good Housekeeping Institute, agrees. “There are a few teensy studies, but it’s more about what you personally find relaxing,” she says. “The ones I love are cinnamon, ginger, and peppermint.”

In general, caffeine-free herbal tea is safe to drink regularly before bedtime — just take note of how you feel before you fall asleep and after you wake up, advises Victoria Sharma, M.D., a board-certified doctor in sleep medicine and neurology at Sharp Grossmont Hospital. “If you’re waking up and feeling groggy, I wouldn’t recommend it, but if you feel like it’s helping you sleep, then by all means sleepytime tea is completely fine,” Dr. Sharma says.

With that in mind, we polled sleepy tea fans for the brands that get them in the mood for ZZZs. Here’s what they said:

Understanding Valerian and Hops

How valerian and hops can help you de-stress, relax, and sleep better.

Whenever I ask my patients, audience members, peeps on social media, or people I just run into if they are taking supplements, they all say a resounding YES! When I ask which ones they take for sleep I get a million different responses. Often, they will ask me: “What do you think I should be taking?” In this article, I’ll discuss what is probably the most well researched herbal supplement for sleep: valerian. I’m going to talk about hops as well, because there are several studies that have looked at the effectiveness of valerian and hops in combination with each other.

Many people who seek natural remedies for sleep issues may be familiar with valerian, since it is an herb that’s been used for centuries as a remedy for anxiety and nervousness. Hops can also help with anxiety and sleep (YES, I am talking about the hops in beer!). These two herbs are especially effective when they’re used together. Let’s take a closer look at valerian and hops and explore how these herbs can enhance relaxation, calmness, and sleep, as well as other health conditions.

What are valerian and hops?
The valerian herb used for sleep and other medicinal purposes comes from the perennial plant, Valeriana officinalis. It’s actually the root of the valerian plant that is harvested for medicinal use. Native to parts of Asia and Europe, valerian has an ancient history as a medicine that stretches back more than 1,000 years. Historically, valerian has been used to treat difficulty sleeping as well as restlessness, nervousness, and anxiety.

Valerian has a very strong odor that many people (myself included) find unpleasant. Look for valerian in pill form or in a tincture, to avoid this stinky smell.

Valerian is often used in combination with other herbs that have calming effects. To help sleep problems, valerian is frequently paired with hops. Hops is the plant that is best known as an ingredient in beer. Like valerian, hops also been used for hundreds of years as an herbal medicine to treat sleep problems as well as anxiety, irritability, excitability, and restlessness.

How do valerian and hops work?
Valerian primarily functions as an anxiolytic. Anxiolytics relieve anxiety and have calming, sedative effects. How does valerian lower anxiety and promote relaxation? One way, it appears, is by increasing levels of GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA is a chemical that our brains make naturally. GABA is what’s known as an “inhibitory neurotransmitter”—it quiets the activity of the neurons of the central nervous system, which helps lower anxiety and boost feelings of relaxation and calm. GABA is an important neurochemical for sleep. Healthy levels of GABA promote and protect sound and restful sleep, and help ensure we spend the right amount of time in slow-wave sleep and REM sleep, the two deepest and most mentally and physically restorative sleep stages.

Hops also works to enhance GABA levels in the brain. Research also indicates that the sedative effects of hops may come from its ability to lower body temperature. Lowering body temperature helps to bring about drowsiness and is an important part of the body’s sleep process.

Scientists continue to study how valerian and hops function in the body, helping us to learn about other ways these herbs may help sleep, mood, and other conditions.

Benefits of valerian and hops

For sleep and sleep problems
Valerian is among the best-studied herbs for sleep and sleep problems. At least a dozen or more scientific studies have found valerian—used on its own or with hops—helps to improve sleep. Research shows that valerian can help people fall asleep more quickly, improve the quality of sleep, and increase amounts of nightly sleep. Valerian can also help ease the symptoms of insomnia, which are:
• Difficulty falling asleep
• Trouble staying asleep
• Waking very early
• Waking feeling unrefreshed

Valerian may help improve sleep in women undergoing menopause. It also can help improve symptoms of restless leg syndrome, and reduce the sleep difficulties associated with RLS.

Like valerian, hops has a long history of being used to help improve sleep. Scientific research shows that hops, with its natural sedative effects, can increase sleep time. Hops also helps to lower body temperature—falling core body temperature is one important physiological step toward sleep. Hops has also been shown to reinforce the body’s daily bio rhythms of rest and activity. Hops appears to work most effectively for sleep when it is used in conjunction with valerian.
To reduce stress and lower anxiety
Scientific study has demonstrated that both valerian and hops can help alleviate restlessness and anxiety. Research shows valerian can be effective in helping to reduce stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate. Studies also show hops can be effective in reducing stress and anxiety.

Hops, high cholesterol and high blood sugar
Hops contains flavonoids which have potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties. A flavonoid in hops has also been found to help reduce weight gain, lower elevated cholesterol and reduce high blood sugar. These conditions all contribute to what’s known as metabolic syndrome, which significantly increases a person’s risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Hops and cancer
Hops flavonoids also have anti-cancer properties. Recent research shows that hops may provide promising preventive therapy for some cancers. Studies have found that hops may spur the ability to protect against some forms of cancer, including breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers.

Other uses for valerian and hops
With their calming, sedative, healing properties and low risks for side effects, valerian and hops are being studied and used to help other conditions, beyond sleep and stress or anxiety. Preliminary research shows valerian may be useful for:
• Menstrual symptoms
• Menopausal symptoms other than sleep problems
• Muscle and joint pain
• Headache
• Stomach pain or upset
• Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
• Epilepsy

Preliminary research shows hops may be useful for:
• Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
• Indigestion and intestinal cramping
• Pain and inflammation, for arthritis and other conditions
• Menopausal symptoms

Valerian and hops: what to know
Always consult your doctor before you begin taking a supplement or make any changes to your existing medication and supplement routine. This is not medical advice, but it is information you can use as a conversation-starter with your physician at your next appointment.

Valerian and hops dosing
The following doses are based on amounts that have been investigated in scientific studies. In general, it is recommended that users begin with the smallest suggested dose, and gradually increase until it has an effect.

For sleep, restlessness and anxiety:
Valerian on its own: 400-900mg
Valerian in combination with hops: 187-250mg valerian, 42-60mg hops. Talk with your doctor about the right combination for your individual needs.
Hops on its own: 300-500mg (Keep in mind, research suggests that hops may be more effective when used in combination with valerian.)

Possible side effects of valerian and hops

Side effects: valerian
Valerian is generally well tolerated by healthy adults. There are side effects that can occur when taking valerian, including:
• Headache
• Excitability
• Restlessness or uneasiness
• Insomnia
• Morning drowsiness, particularly if taking a higher dose
• Vivid dreams

Because of its sedating effects, it is recommended that people not drive or operate dangerous machinery after taking valerian.

People with the following conditions should consult with a physician before using a valerian supplement:

• Pregnancy or breast feeding
• Surgery patients (Valerian can interact with anesthesia and other medications used in surgery. It is recommended that people stop taking valerian a minimum of two weeks before scheduled surgery.)

Side effects: hops
Hops is generally well tolerated by healthy adults.

People with the following conditions should consult with a physician before using a hops supplement:
• Pregnancy and breast feeding
• Depression (Hops may exacerbate depression. It’s recommended that people with depression not use hops.)
• Hormone-sensitive conditions, including hormone-sensitive cancers
• Surgery patients (Hops can interact with anesthesia and other medications used in surgery. It is recommended that people stop taking hops a minimum of two weeks before scheduled surgery.)

Valerian and hops interactions
The following medications and other supplements may interact with valerian. Effects may include increasing or decreasing sleepiness and drowsiness, interfering with the effectiveness of the medications or supplements, and interfering with the condition that is being treated by the medication or supplement. These are lists of commonly used medications and supplements that have scientifically identified interactions with valerian and hops. People who take these or any other medications and supplements should consult with a physician before beginning to use valerian and hops as supplements.

Both valerian and hops interact with alcohol. Alcohol can bring about drowsiness. Excessive sleepiness may occur when alcohol is used in combination with valerian or hops.

Interactions with medications: valerian
• Anti-anxiety medicines
• Sedatives
• Medications altered or broken down by the liver
Interactions with other supplements: valerian
Valerian used in combination with other herbs that function as sedatives may lead to excessive sleepiness, and may also increase side effects of valerian. Some of these herbs include:
• Calamus
• California poppy
• Catnip
• Hops
• Jamaican dogwood
• Kava
• L-tryptophan
• Melatonin
• Sage
• SAMe
• St. John’s wort
• Sassafras
• Skullcap

Interactions with medications: hops
• Estrogens
• Sedatives
• Medications broken down or altered by the liver

Interactions with other supplements: hops
Hops used in combination with other herbs that function as sedatives may lead to excessive sleepiness, and may also increase side effects of hops. Some of these herbs include:
• 5-HTP
• Calamus
• California poppy
• Catnip
• Jamaican dogwood
• Kava
• St. John’s wort
• Skullcap
• Valerian
• Yerba mansa

How valerian and hops can work with your chronotype

All four chronotypes—Lions, Bears, Wolves, and Dolphins—may benefit from using valerian on its own or with hops to relax and feel less anxious and to sleep better. Dolphins, in particular, may find these herbs useful. Dolphins are high-energy types, and their energy tends to be high at night. Dolphins often also have a tough time keeping anxiety levels in check. Insomnia is commonplace for Dolphins—it’s a sleep problem that often goes hand in hand with this chronotype. The anti-anxiety and sedative effects of valerian—and its frequent partner, hops—may be especially helpful to this wired-at-night, restless-sleeping chronotype.

Whether you’re a tightly-wound Dolphin or another chronotype that sometimes struggles with sleep problems, especially in conjunction with stress or anxiety, valerian and hops may offer help and relief. These herbs may have been in use for centuries, but we’re still learning about just how effective and potent they may be in improving sleep and health.

Sweet Dreams,

Michael J. Breus, PhD
The Sleep Doctor™

Reference list:

Miranda, CL et al. (1999). Antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects of prenylated flavonoids from hops (Humulus lupulus) in human cancer cell lines. Food and chemical toxicology: an international journal published for the British International Research Association, 37(4): 271-85. Retrieved from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10418944

Sleep and Stress. National Sleep Foundation. Retrieved from: https://sleep.org/articles/sleep-and-stress/

Valeriana officinalis. Retrieved from: https://examine.com/supplements/valeriana-officinalis/

Whether you’re experiencing jet lag, shifting schedules at work, or adjusting to a new life routine, temporary use of over-the-counter sleep aids may be helpful in allowing you to get the sleep you need. There are many to choose from, and they do different things to your body to cause you to sleep. Keep an eye out for these three ingredients that are most commonly found in OTC sleep aids.

Melatonin

Your body naturally produces melatonin, a hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle; many over-the-counter sleep aids feature a synthetic version as the main ingredient. You can find melatonin supplements in drug stores and pharmacies in dosages ranging from one to 10 milligrams.

Melatonin is most often used for temporary sleep issues that affect your body’s internal clock, such as recovering from jet lag or switching shift work schedules. For best results, experts suggest taking sleep aids that contain the supplement 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed; melatonin will induce drowsiness so you fall asleep faster.

Valerian Root

Like melatonin, valerian root is a natural sleep aid ingredient. Some research suggests that valerian root can help relax the body, reduce anxiety, and regulate your sleep cycle. The supplement may reduce the time it takes to fall asleep by 15 to 20 minutes while also improving sleep quality.

Experts recommend taking 400 to 900 milligrams up to two hours before bed to improve sleep quality. Supplements that include valerian root may have milder results than other over-the-counter sleep aids but are also more likely to be free of side effects.

Diphenhydramine

Diphenhydramine (or DPH) is the main active ingredient in many allergy medicines. As a sedative antihistamine, the main purpose of DPH is to fight allergies, but as a side effect it can also induce sleep. DPH is found in OTC products such as Benadryl, Aleve PM, and ZzzQuil. Because these sleep aids may cause daytime drowsiness, block mental alertness, and cause blurred vision, it’s important to take them only when you plan to sleep at least eight hours; you should also avoid driving a car or operating heavy machinery while taking them.

Remember, over-the-counter sleep aids are meant for temporary use. If you’re still having sleep issues after two weeks of using one of these products, talk to your health care provider about how you can get the shut-eye you need.

Generic Name: valerian (vah LEH ree un)
Brand Name: Valerian Root

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Sep 30, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

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What is valerian?

Valerian is a flowering plant, the root of which is dried and used as an herbal remedy.

Valerian has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating sleep problems (insomnia).

Other uses not proven with research have included treating anxiety, stress, depression, attention deficit disorder, chronic fatigue syndrome, tremors, epilepsy, menopause symptoms, and other conditions.

It is not certain whether valerian is effective in treating any medical condition. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Valerian should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.

Valerian is often sold as an herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Valerian may also be used for purposes not listed in this product guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on the product label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use valerian if you are allergic to it.

Before using valerian, talk to your healthcare provider. You may not be able to use valerian if you have certain medical conditions.

It is not known whether valerian will harm an unborn baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are pregnant.

It is not known whether valerian passes into breast milk or if it could harm a nursing baby. Do not use this product without medical advice if you are breast-feeding a baby.

Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without medical advice.

How should I take valerian?

When considering the use of herbal supplements, seek the advice of your doctor. You may also consider consulting a practitioner who is trained in the use of herbal/health supplements.

If you choose to use valerian, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other healthcare provider. Do not use more of this product than is recommended on the label.

Do not crush, chew, break, or open a valerian capsule. Swallow it whole.

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

Call your doctor if the condition you are treating with valerian does not improve, or if it gets worse while using this product.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Since valerian is used when needed, you are not likely to miss a dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking valerian?

Valerian may impair your thinking or reactions. Be careful if you drive or do anything that requires you to be alert.

Avoid using valerian with other herbal/health supplements that can cause drowsiness. This includes 5-HTP (5-hydroxytryptophan), California poppy, catnip, chamomile, gotu kola, Jamaican dogwood, kava, melatonin, St. John’s wort, skullcap (or scullcap), yerba mansa, and others.

Avoid drinking alcohol. It can increase drowsiness caused by valerian.

Valerian side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Although not all side effects are known, valerian is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time (4 to 8 weeks).

Stop using valerian and call your doctor at once if you have:

Common side effects may include:

  • headache;

  • upset stomach;

  • thinking problems;

  • dry mouth;

  • feeling excited or uneasy;

  • strange dreams; or

  • daytime drowsiness.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect valerian?

Taking this medicine with other drugs that make you sleepy can worsen this effect. Ask your doctor before taking valerian with a sleeping pill, narcotic pain medicine, muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety, depression, or seizures.

Do not take valerian without medical advice if you are using a medication to treat any of the following conditions:

  • any type of infection (including HIV, malaria, or tuberculosis);

  • anxiety or depression;

  • asthma or allergies;

  • cancer;

  • erectile dysfunction;

  • heartburn or gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD);

  • high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or a heart condition;

  • migraine headaches;

  • psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, or other autoimmune disorders;

  • a psychiatric disorder; or

  • seizures.

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with valerian, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this product guide.

Further information

  • Consult with a licensed healthcare professional before using any herbal/health supplement. Whether you are treated by a medical doctor or a practitioner trained in the use of natural medicines/supplements, make sure all your healthcare providers know about all of your medical conditions and treatments.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 3.02.

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GENERIC NAME: VALERIAN (Valeriana officinalis) – ORAL

Medication Uses | How To Use | Side Effects | Precautions | Drug Interactions | Overdose | Notes | Missed Dose | Storage

USES: Valerian root has been used for sleep problems (insomnia).Some herbal/dietary supplement products have been found to contain possibly harmful impurities/additives. Check with your pharmacist for more details about the brand you use.The FDA has not reviewed this product for safety or effectiveness. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.

HOW TO USE: Take this product by mouth, usually 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime or as directed. Follow all directions on the product package. If you are uncertain about any of the information, consult your doctor or pharmacist.This herbal product should not be used for more than 4 weeks. To reduce the chance of possible side effects when stopping extended use of valerian, do not suddenly stop taking it. Your dose may need to be gradually decreased over 1 to 2 weeks before stopping completely. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details.If your condition persists or worsens, or if you think you may have a serious medical problem, seek immediate medical attention.

SIDE EFFECTS: Headache, restlessness, upset stomach, or drowsiness/tiredness after waking up may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, contact your doctor or pharmacist promptly.Tell your doctor immediately if any of these rare but very serious side effects occur: persistent nausea/vomiting, stomach/abdominal pain, yellowing eyes/skin, dark urine, extreme tiredness.A very serious allergic reaction to this product is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms of a serious allergic reaction: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.In the US -Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

PRECAUTIONS: Before taking valerian, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.If you have any of the following health problems, consult your doctor or pharmacist before using this product: liver problems.Liquid forms of this product may contain sugar and/or alcohol. Caution is advised if you have diabetes, alcohol dependence, or liver disease. Ask your doctor or pharmacist about using this product safely.This product may make you drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do any activity that requires alertness until you are sure you can perform such activities safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages.This product is not recommended for use during pregnancy. Consult your doctor before using this product.It is unknown if this product passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Sleeping Pills and Natural Sleep Aids

All you need to know about prescription and over-the-counter sleep medications—as well as effective insomnia treatments that don’t come in pill form.

It’s the middle of the night, and you’re staring at the ceiling, thinking about work, or bills, or the kids. When sleep just won’t come, it’s tempting to turn to a sleeping pill or sleep aid for relief. And you may get it in the moment. But if you regularly have trouble sleeping, that’s a red flag that something’s wrong. It could be something as simple as too much caffeine or viewing TV, your phone, or other screens late at night. Or it may be a symptom of an underlying medical or psychological problem. But whatever it is, it won’t be cured with sleeping pills. At best, sleeping pills are a temporary band aid. At worst, they’re an addictive crutch that can make insomnia worse in the long run.

That doesn’t mean that you should never use medication, but it’s important to weigh the benefits against the risks. In general, sleeping pills and sleep aids are most effective when used sparingly for short-term situations, such as traveling across time zones or recovering from a medical procedure. If you choose to take sleeping pills over the long term, it is best to use them only on an infrequent, “as needed,” basis to avoid dependence and tolerance.

Risks and side effects of sleeping pills

All prescription sleeping pills have side effects, which vary depending on the specific drug, the dosage, and how long the drug lasts in your system. Common side effects include prolonged drowsiness the next day, headache, muscle aches, constipation, dry mouth, trouble concentrating, dizziness, unsteadiness, and rebound insomnia.

Other risks of sleeping pills include:

Drug tolerance. You may, over a period of time, build up a tolerance to sleep aids, and you will have to take more and more for them to work, which in turn can lead to more side effects.

Drug dependence. You may come to rely on sleeping pills to sleep, and will be unable to sleep or have even worse sleep without them. Prescription pills, in particular, can be very addictive, making it difficult to stop taking them.

Withdrawal symptoms. If you stop the medication abruptly, you may have withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, and shaking.

Drug interactions. Sleeping pills can interact with other medications. This can worsen side effects and sometimes be dangerous, especially with prescription painkillers and other sedatives.

Rebound insomnia. If you need to stop taking sleeping pills, sometimes the insomnia can become even worse than before.

Masking an underlying problem. There may be an underlying medical or mental disorder, or even a sleep disorder, causing your insomnia that can’t be treated with sleeping pills.

Some serious risks of sleeping pills

Sedative-hypnotic medications (benzodiazepines and non-benzodiazepines) can cause severe allergic reaction, facial swelling, memory lapses, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts or actions, and complex sleep-related behaviors like sleep-walking, sleep-driving (driving while not fully awake, with no memory of the event) and sleep-eating (eating in the middle of the night with no recollection, often resulting in weight-gain). If you experience any unusual sleep-related behavior, consult your doctor immediately.

Over-the-counter (OTC) sleep aids and sleeping pills

Standard over-the-counter sleeping pills rely on antihistamines as their primary active ingredient to promote drowsiness.

Common over-the-counter sleep medications include:

  • Diphenhydramine (found in brand names like Nytol, Sominex, Sleepinal, Compoz)
  • Doxylamine (brand names such as Unisom, Nighttime Sleep Aid)

Some other OTC sleep aids combine antihistamines with the pain reliever Acetaminophen (found in brand names like Tylenol PM and Aspirin-Free Anacin PM). Others, such as NyQuil, combine antihistamines with alcohol.

The problem with antihistamines is that their sedating properties often last well into the next day, leading to a next-day hangover effect. When used long-term, they can also cause forgetfulness and headaches. Because of these issues, sleep experts advise against their regular use.

Common side effects of antihistamine sleeping pills:

  • Moderate to severe drowsiness the next day
  • Dizziness and forgetfulness
  • Clumsiness, feeling off balance
  • Constipation and urinary retention
  • Blurred vision
  • Dry mouth and throat
  • Nausea

Prescription sleep medications

There are several different types of prescription sleeping pills, classified as sedative hypnotics. In general, these medications act by working on receptors in the brain to slow down the nervous system. Some medications are used more for inducing sleep, while others are used for staying asleep. Some last longer than others in your system (a longer half-life), and some have a higher risk of becoming habit forming.

Benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic sleeping pills

Benzodiazepines are the oldest class of sleep medications still commonly in use. Benzodiazepines as a group are thought to have a higher risk of dependence than other insomnia sedative hypnotics and are classified as controlled substances. Primarily used to treat anxiety disorders, benzodiazepines that have been approved to treat insomnia include estazolam (brand name ProSom), flurazepam (Dalmane), quazepam (Doral), temazepam (Restoril), and triazolam (Halcion).

Drawbacks to benzodiazepine sleeping pills:

You can become both physically and psychologically dependent on benzodiazepines. When you’re on the pills for a period of time, you may believe that you can’t sleep without them, and once you stop taking them, you may actually experience physical withdrawal symptoms like anxiety and rebound insomnia.

Sleeping pills can lose their effectiveness if used on a nightly basis, because the brain receptors become less sensitive to their effects. In as little as three to four weeks, benzodiazepines can become no more effective than a sugar pill.

The overall quality of your sleep can be reduced, with less restorative deep sleep and REM sleep.

You may experience next day cognitive slowing and drowsiness (the hangover effect), which may be even worse than the sluggishness you feel from actual sleep deprivation.

Insomnia returns once you stop, even if the medication is effective while taking it. As with the use of all sleeping pills, rather than dealing with your insomnia, you’re merely postponing the problem.

There may be a link to dementia. While it’s currently under investigation, there is concern that using benzodiazepines may contribute to the development of dementia.

Non-benzodiazepine sedative hypnotic sleeping pills

Some newer medications don’t have the same chemical structure as a benzodiazepine, but act on the same area in the brain. They are thought to have fewer side effects, and less risk of dependency, but are still considered controlled substances. They include zalepon (Sonata), zolpidem (Ambien), and eszopiclone (Lunesta), which have been tested for longer-term use, up to six months.

Drawbacks to non-benzodiazepine sleeping pills:

Generally, non-benzodiazepines have fewer drawbacks than benzodiazepines, but that doesn’t make them suitable for everyone. Some may find this type of sleep medication ineffective at helping them sleep, while the long-term effects remain unknown. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently directed the manufacturers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the standard dosage due to the serious risk of morning grogginess while driving, especially in women patients. Other side effects include:

  • Drug tolerance
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Headaches, dizziness, nausea, difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • In some cases, dangerous sleep-related behaviors such as sleep-walking, sleep-driving, and sleep-eating
  • New or worsening depression; suicidal thoughts or actions

Melatonin receptor agonist hypnotic sleeping pills

Ramelteon (Rozerem) is the newest type of sleep medication and works by mimicking the sleep regulation hormone melatonin. It has little risk of physical dependency but still has side effects. It is used for sleep onset problems and is not effective for problems regarding staying asleep.

Ramelteon’s most common side effect is dizziness. It may also worsen symptoms of depression and should not be used by those with severe liver damage.

Antidepressants used as sleeping pills

The FDA has not approved antidepressants for the treatment of insomnia, nor has their use been proven effective in treating sleeplessness. However, some antidepressants are prescribed off-label due to their sedating effects. As with all depression medication, there is a small but significant risk of suicidal thoughts or worsening of depression, particularly in children and adolescents.

Herbal and dietary sleep supplements that may help

Go the drugstore and you’ll see dozens of so-called “natural” sleep supplements. The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements for safety, quality, effectiveness, or even truth in labeling, so it’s up to you to do your due diligence. Although the evidence is mixed, the following supplements have the most research backing them up as insomnia treatments.

Valerian. Valerian is a sedating herb that has been used since the second century A.D. to treat insomnia and anxiety. It is believed to work by increasing brain levels of the calming chemical GABA. Although the use of valerian for insomnia hasn’t been extensively studied, the research shows promise and it is generally considered to be safe and non-habit forming. It works best when taken daily for two or more weeks.

Melatonin. Melatonin is a naturally occurring hormone that increases at night. It is triggered by darkness and its levels remain elevated throughout the night until suppressed by the light of morning. Although melatonin does not appear to be particularly effective for treating most sleep disorders, it can help sleep problems caused by jet lag and shift work. Simple exposure to light at the right time, however, might be just as effective. If you take melatonin, be aware that it can interfere with certain blood pressure and diabetes medications. It’s best to stick with low doses—1 to 3 milligrams for most people—to minimize side effects and next-day drowsiness.

Chamomile. Many people drink chamomile tea for its gentle sedative properties, although it may cause allergic reactions in those with plant or pollen allergies. To get the full sleep-promoting benefit, bring water to a boil, then add 2-3 tea bags (or the equivalent of loose-leaf tea), cover with a lid, and brew for 10 minutes.

Tryptophan. Tryptophan is a basic amino acid used in the formation of the chemical messenger serotonin, a substance in the brain that helps tell your body to sleep. L-tryptophan is a common byproduct of tryptophan, which the body can change into serotonin. Some studies have shown that L-tryptophan can help people fall asleep faster. Results, however, have been inconsistent.

Kava. Kava has been shown to improve sleep in people with stress-related insomnia. However, kava can cause liver damage, so it isn’t recommended unless taken under close medical supervision.

Other herbs that have been found to have a calming or sedating effect include lemon balm, passionflower, and lavender. Many natural sleep supplements, such as MidNite and Luna, use a combination of these ingredients to promote sleep.

Natural doesn’t mean safe

While some remedies, such as lemon balm or chamomile tea are generally harmless, others can have more serious side effects and interfere with or reduce the effectiveness of prescribed medications. Valerian, for example, can interfere with antihistamines and statins. Do your research before trying a new herbal remedy and talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have any pre-existing conditions or prescriptions that you take.

Tips for safer use of sleeping pills

If you decide to try sleeping pills or sleep aids, keep the following safety guidelines in mind.

Never mix sleeping pills with alcohol or other sedative drugs. Alcohol not only disrupts sleep quality, but it increases the sedative effects of sleeping pills. The combination can be quite dangerous—even deadly.

Only take a sleeping pill when you will have enough time for at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Otherwise you may feel very drowsy the next day.

Don’t take a second dose in the middle of the night. It can be dangerous to double up on your dosage, and with less time for the medication to clear your system it may be difficult to get up the next morning and shake off grogginess.

Start with the lowest recommended dose. See how the medication affects you and the types of side effects you experience.

Avoid frequent use. To avoid dependency and minimize adverse effects, try to save sleeping pills for emergencies, rather than nightly use.

Never drive a car or operate machinery after taking a sleeping pill. This tip is especially important when you start using a new sleep aid, as you may not know how it will affect you.

Carefully read the package insert that comes with your medication. Pay careful attention to the potential side effects and drug interactions. Many common medications, including antidepressants and antibiotics, can cause dangerous interactions with both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills. For many sleeping pills, certain foods such as grapefruit and grapefruit juice must also be avoided.

Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about:

  • Other medications and supplements you are taking. Many common medications, including antidepressants and antibiotics, can cause dangerous interactions with both prescription and over-the-counter sleeping pills. Herbal and dietary supplements and non-prescription medications such as pain relievers and allergy medicines may also interfere.
  • Other medical conditions you have. Some sleep medications can have serious side effects for people with medical problems such as high blood pressure, liver problems, glaucoma, depression, and breathing difficulties.
  • Specific instructions for increasing, decreasing and/or terminating use. It’s important to follow usage directions closely. Increasing your dose may pose risks, but decreasing your use can also cause problems if done too quickly. In some cases, stopping medication abruptly can cause uncomfortable side effects and even rebound insomnia.

For better sleep, opt for healthy habits, not pills

Research has shown that changing your lifestyle and sleep habits is the best way to combat insomnia. Even if you decide to use sleeping pills or medications in the short term, experts recommend making changes to your lifestyle and bedtime behavior as a long-term remedy to sleep problems. Behavioral and environmental changes can have more of a positive impact on sleep than medication, without the risk of side effects or dependence.

Relaxation techniques as an alternative to sleeping pills

Relaxation techniques that can relieve stress and help you sleep include simple meditation practices, progressive muscle relaxation, yoga, tai chi, and the use of deep breathing. With a little practice, these skills can help you unwind at bedtime and improve your sleep more effectively than a sleeping pill or sleep aid. Try:

A relaxing bedtime routine. Turn off screens at least one hour before bed and focus on quiet, soothing activities, such as reading, gentle yoga, or listening to soft music instead. Keep the lights low to naturally boost melatonin.

Abdominal breathing. Most of us don’t breathe as deeply as we should. When we breathe deeply and fully, involving not only the chest, but also the belly, lower back, and ribcage, it can actually help the part of our nervous system that controls relaxation. Close your eyes and try taking deep, slow breaths, making each breath even deeper than the last. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth. Make each exhale a little longer than each inhale.

Progressive muscle relaxation is easier than it sounds. Lie down or make yourself comfortable. Starting with your feet, tense the muscles as tightly as you can. Hold for a count of 10, and then relax. Continue to do this for every muscle group in your body, working your way up to the top of your head.

Exercise is a powerful sleep aid

Studies have shown that exercise during the day can improve sleep at night. When we exercise, we experience a significant rise in body temperature, followed a few hours later by a significant drop. This drop in body temperature makes it easier for us to fall and stay asleep. The best time to exercise is late afternoon or early evening, rather than just before bed. Aim for at least 30 minutes four times a week. Aerobic exercises are the best to combat insomnia as they increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the blood.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) beats sleeping pills

Many people complain that frustrating, negative thoughts and worries prevent them from sleeping at night.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems by modifying negative thoughts, emotions, and patterns of behavior. A study at Harvard Medical School even found that CBT was more effective at treating chronic insomnia than prescription sleep medication—but without the risks or side effects. CBT can help to relax your mind, change your outlook, improve your daytime habits, and set you up for a good night’s sleep.

Valerian Root (valerian) Drug Interactions

A total of 229 drugs are known to interact with Valerian Root (valerian).

  • 2 major drug interactions
  • 227 moderate drug interactions

Show all medications in the database that may interact with Valerian Root (valerian).

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View interaction reports for Valerian Root (valerian) and the medicines listed below.

  • Adderall (amphetamine / dextroamphetamine)
  • Ambien (zolpidem)
  • Benadryl (diphenhydramine)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • CoQ10 (ubiquinone)
  • Effexor (venlafaxine)
  • Fish Oil (omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids)
  • gabapentin
  • gabapentin
  • hops
  • ibuprofen
  • ibuprofen
  • Klonopin (clonazepam)
  • l-theanine
  • lemon balm
  • levothyroxine
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • lisinopril
  • magnesium oxide
  • melatonin
  • melatonin
  • omeprazole
  • passion flower
  • passion flower
  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine)
  • Sleep (diphenhydramine)
  • tramadol
  • trazodone
  • turmeric
  • Tylenol (acetaminophen)
  • Vitamin B12 (cyanocobalamin)
  • Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
  • Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol)
  • Xanax (alprazolam)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)

Valerian Root (valerian) alcohol/food interactions

There is 1 alcohol/food interaction with Valerian Root (valerian)

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Drug Interaction Classification

These classifications are only a guideline. The relevance of a particular drug interaction to a specific individual is difficult to determine. Always consult your healthcare provider before starting or stopping any medication.

Major

Highly clinically significant. Avoid combinations; the risk of the interaction outweighs the benefit.

Moderate

Moderately clinically significant. Usually avoid combinations; use it only under special circumstances.

Minor

Minimally clinically significant. Minimize risk; assess risk and consider an alternative drug, take steps to circumvent the interaction risk and/or institute a monitoring plan.

Unknown

No interaction information available.

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Medical Disclaimer

Interactions

Possible Interactions with: Valerian

Also listed as: Valerian; Valeriana officinalis

Table of Contents > Herb Interactions > Possible Interactions with: Valerian

If you are currently being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use valerian without talking to your health-care provider.

Sedatives — Valerian can increase the effect of drugs that have a sedating effect, including

  • Anticonvulsants such as phenytoin (Dilantin) and valproic acid (Depakote)
  • Barbiturates
  • Benzodiazepines such as alprazolam (Xanax) and diazepam (Valium)
  • Drugs to treat insomnia, such as zolpidem (Ambien), zaleplon (Sonata), eszopiclone (Lunesta), and ramelteon (Rozerem)
  • Tricyclic antidepressants such as amitriptyline (Elavil)
  • Alcohol

The 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 certain liver enzymes, it may interact with other drugs that are broken down by the same enzymes. Those drugs may include:

  • Antihistamines
  • Statins (drugs taken to lower cholesterol)
  • Some antifungal drugs

Anesthesia — Valerian may increase the effects of anesthesia and, thus, it is important to discuss the use of valerian with your doctors (particularly the surgeon and anesthesiologist) well in advance of your planned operation. The doctors may advise you on how to taper use of valerian prior to the surgery. Or, they may allow you to use valerian up to the time of surgery, making any necessary adjustments to the anesthesia.

Review Date: 5/6/2007
Reviewed By: Steven D. Ehrlich, N.M.D., private practice specializing in complementary and alternative medicine, Phoenix, AZ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., a business unit of Ebix, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Valerian: benefits, dosage, side-effects

Find out all about valerian, including what it does, the benefits to taking it and how much you might need

Written by Beth Gibbons on December 13, 2018
Reviewed by Fiona Hunter on January 6, 2019

Overview

What is valerian and what does it do?

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a herb that’s renowned for its calming, sedative effects. Traditionally, the root of the valerian plant has been used for centuries to ease:1

  • insomnia
  • anxiety
  • headaches
  • stress

Nowadays, it’s used for:2

  • sleep problems
  • mild anxiety

You can use valerian orally as a capsule, as a powder, tea, tincture, tablets, or in a bath.

Benefits of valerian

What does valerian do in the body?

Valerian relaxes the brain isn’t yet understood, but one theory is that compounds in the plant stimulate a chemical messenger in the brain called gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which works to calm the nervous system.3 This is the same pathway used by common anti-anxiety drugs and sedatives to help relax the brain, too.4

Based on its traditional, long-standing use, the EU’s Herbal Medicines Committee has approved valerian for both mild anxiety and sleep disorders.5

There are few high-quality studies looking into the effects of valerian. However, a 2006 review by the University of California reported that valerian can help improve the quality of sleep, although the researchers concluded that more studies are needed.6

Scientists think valerian works better over a period of time, so you may need to take it for two to four weeks before you see an effect.7

Dosage

How much valerian is safe to take?

Valerian root is considered safe to take at the recommended doses, so read the label carefully.

As a general rule, your dose depends on the reason you’re taking the herb:8

  • sleep – 400-600mg 30 minutes to an hour before bed, with an earlier dose if necessary. It can also be sipped as a tea.
  • mild stress or anxiety – 400-600mg, up to three times a day

If your symptoms worsen get worse after two weeks, speak to your doctor.

Valerian should not be given to:9,10

  • pregnant or breast-feeding women – it has not been proved safe
  • anyone under the age of 18
  • anyone allergic to valerian
  • anyone drinking alcohol or taking sedatives – valerian also has a sedative effect
  • anyone already taking medication for sleep or anxiety
  • steer clear of using a valerian bath product if you have an open wound, fever, skin problems, or serious heart and circulation issues, too.11

Side-effects

What are the side-effects of taking valerian?

While it’s considered safe, there are some common side-effects from taking valerian:

  • daytime drowsiness – it’s important to avoid driving or operating machinery after taking valerian
  • nausea
  • abdominal cramps12

Shop Herbal Remedies

Advice is for information only and should not replace medical care. Please check with your GP before trying any remedies.

Sources
1. Jacquelyn Cafasso. Healthline. Valerian Root Dosage for Anxiety and Sleep.
2. European Medicines Agency. Valerianae radix.
3. Shi Y, et al. Herbal Insomnia Medications that Target GABAergic Systems: A Review of the Psychopharmacological Evidence.
4. Healthline. What Does Gamma Aminobutyric Acid (GABA) Do?
5. As Source 2
6. Bent S, et al. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
7. European Medicines Agency. European Union herbal monograph on Valeriana officinalis L.radix.
8. As above
9. As Source 7
10. As Source 1
11. As Source 7
12. As Source 7

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