Supplements Details

Valerian

What other names is Valerian known by?

All-Heal, Amantilla, Baldrian, Baldrianwurzel, Belgium Valerian, Common Valerian, Fragrant Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Garden Valerian, Grande Valériane, Guérit Tout, Herbe à la Femme Meurtrie, Herbe aux Chats, Herbe aux Coupures, Herbe de Notre-Dame, Herbe de Saint-Georges, Herbe du Loup, Indian Valerian, Mexican Valerian, Pacific Valerian, Rhizome de Valériane, Tagar, Tagar-Ganthoda, Tagara, Valeriana, Valeriana angustifolia, Valeriana edulis, Valeriana jatamansii, Valeriana officinalis, Valeriana Pseudofficinalis, Valeriana Rhizome, Valeriana sitchensis, Valeriana wallichii, Valerianae Radix, Valeriane, Valériane, Valériane à Petites Feuilles, Valériane Africaine, Valériane Celtique, Valériane Commune, Valériane de Belgique, Valériane des Collines, Valériane Dioïque, Valériane du Jardin, Valériane Indienne, Valériane Mexicaine, Valériane Officinale, Valériane Sauvage.

What is Valerian?

Valerian is an herb. Medicine is made from the root.

Is Valerian effective?

There is some scientific evidence that valerian can help people who have trouble sleeping. It seems to help people fall asleep faster and get a better night's rest. Valerian might work about as well as some low-dose sleeping pills, but it may take up to a month of nightly use before sleeping improves.

There is also some evidence that valerian can improve mood and the ability to concentrate.

There isn't enough information to know whether or not valerian is effective for the other conditions people use it for, including: depression, convulsions, mild tremors, epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), muscle and joint pain, headache, stomach upset, menstrual pains, menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and anxiety, and many others. Do not use valerian for these conditions until more is known.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Insomnia.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Depression, anxiety, restlessness, convulsions, mild tremors, epilepsy, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), muscle and joint pain, headache, stomach upset, menstrual pains, menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and anxiety, and other conditions.

How does Valerian work?

Valerian seems to act like a sedative on the brain and nervous system.

Are there safety concerns?

Valerian is safe for most people when used short-term. It can cause some side effects such as headache, excitability, uneasiness, and even insomnia in some people. A few people feel sluggish in the morning after taking valerian, especially at higher doses. The long-term safety of valerian is unknown. To avoid possible side effects when discontinuing valerian after long-term use, it's best to reduce the dose slowly over a week or two before stopping completely.

Some information suggests that valerian might be safe when taken by children for 4-8 weeks.

Do not take valerian if:

  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You are scheduled for surgery in the next two weeks. Valerian might cause excessive sedation if combined with medications used during and after surgery.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Alcohol
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Valerian might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of valerian along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.



Alprazolam (Xanax)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Valerian can decrease how quickly the liver breaks down alprazolam (Xanax). Taking valerian with alprazolam (Xanax) might increase the effects and side effects of alprazolam (Xanax) such as drowsiness.



Sedative medications (Benzodiazepines)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Valerian might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives. Taking valerian along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some of these sedative medications include alprazolam (Xanax), clonazepam (Klonopin), diazepam (Valium), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Versed), temazepam (Restoril), triazolam (Halcion), and others.



Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Interaction Rating: Major Do not take this combination.

Valerian might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking valerian along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Taking valerian along with sedative medications used in surgery might cause prolonged sedation.

Some sedative medications include pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), thiopental (Pentothal), fentanyl (Duragesic, Sublimaze), morphine, propofol (Diprivan), and others.



Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 3A4 (CYP3A4) substrates)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Valerian might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking valerian along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking valerian, talk to your healthcare provider if you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications changed by the liver include lovastatin (Mevacor), ketoconazole (Nizoral), itraconazole (Sporanox), fexofenadine (Allegra), triazolam (Halcion), and many others.

Dosing considerations for Valerian.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

BY MOUTH:

  • For inability to sleep (insomnia):
    • 400-900 mg valerian extract up to 2 hours before bedtime for as long as 28 days, or
    • Valerian extract 120 mg, with lemon balm extract 80 mg 3 times daily for up to 30 days, or
    • A combination product containing valerian extract 187 mg plus hops extract 41.9 mg per tablet, 2 tablets at bedtime for 28 days.

Take valerian 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.

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