Valerian (Valeriana Officinalis)

Valerian Benefits

Valerian is well known for its sedative qualities and its ability to relax the central nervous system and the smooth muscle groups. It has been used as a sleeping aid for hundreds of years especially when there is excitation or difficulty in falling to sleep due to nervousness. Over 120 chemical components are found in valerian and although a very complex herb, it has not been found to have any negative side effects with moderate use.

It is calming without exerting too sedative an effect and is practically non-addictive. It is a valuable treatment for insomnia, the sedative effect due to the valepotriates and the isovaleric acid.

At least two double-blind studies have demonstrated that valerian extract can significantly reduce the amount of time it takes people to fall asleep without changing the normal stages of sleep.

Documented research has noted a mild hypnotic action in both normal sleepers and insomniacs, indicated by a beneficial effect on sleep latency, wake-time after sleep, frequency of waking, nocturnal motor activity, inner restlessness and tension and quality of sleep. Sleepiness and dream recall the morning after were unaffected. The valepotriates have a regulatory effect on the autonomic nervous system; research suggests that they have a calming effect on agitated people but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue.

Valerian is used in Europe as an antispasmodic, particularly for abdominal cramps due to nervousness and for uterine cramps and menstrual agitation. It helps relieve dysmenorrhoea and it can be of benefit in migraine and rheumatic pain. It may also be applied locally as a treatment for cramps and other muscle tensions.

Valerian is also used as a mild tranquilizer for people experiencing emotional stress, much as anti-anxiety drugs are prescribed and has been prescribed for exhaustion. Valerian has occasionally been tried as part of a program to take a patient off antidepressants or benzodiazepines, and is sometimes used as a muscle relaxant to treat pain.

Valerian does not impair driving ability and produces no morning hangover effect. It is a gentle relaxant and an effective sleep aid.

Millions of people have difficulty sleeping and the pharmaceutical industry has cashed in on the problem to the tune of billions of dollars. But herbal sleep aids can be as effective as the powerful prescription sedatives such as valium and other narcotic type drugs.

Valerian Herb Notes / Side Effects

Latin Name

Valeriana officinalis

Common Names

Amantilla, All-heal, Capon's tail, Common Valerian, European Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Garden Valerian, Kediotu, Phu, Seiyo-Kanoko-So, Setwall, Set Well, Valeriana, Valerian Root, Vandal Root


Antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, hypnotic, hypotensive, relaxant, sedative, stimulant, warming, powerfully nervine

Indicated for

Anxiety, confusion, cramp, depression with anxiety, dysmenorrhoea, encouraging sleep and improving sleep quality, hives, hypochondriasis, hysteria, improving circulation, insomnia and disturbed sleep patterns, intestinal colic, lack of concentration, menopausal dysfunction, retarded and scanty menstruation, migraines, nervous excitability, palpitations, PMS, rheumatic fever and pain, stress, tension, tranquiliser withdrawal.

A course of treatment should not exceed 3 months.

It should not be used by patients with liver problems.

It should not be taken in conjunction with sleep-inducing medication.

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Kimandcat_33 's avatar  Kimandcat_33 04/10/2010 00:43

The Smell is bad but well worth it this does relax you without being overpowering,Way better than muscle relaxants the drs. will give you,without all the side effects...

2 people liked this.
YGBG 's avatar  YGBG 13/12/2014 13:25

I am currently taking valerian tablets right now for extreme muscle discomfort caused by very physical dancing. I am constantly training, and cross training, so my muscles can get very knotted up and the end of the day. Because of this, I have trouble sleeping because of the extreme discomfort I can be in at times. But now that I take valerian at night, my muscles relax, and I fall into the mattress, and have a great nights sleep! I didn't want to take muscle relaxants because I do not believe in taking any weird pills that are not natural at all! So valerian is such a great natural option. Yay for success! I would recommend this to anyone!

Char 's avatar  Char 01/09/2014 05:27

I use valerian in the tincture form in order to control the degree of drowsiness it causes. 10 mg is too much for me to take, and that is why I like the drops. I have used it for years off and on, and appreciate the rest it gives me when I am over stressed. I do not have to use it all the time, and I am thankful for that.

Natalie93 's avatar  Natalie93 28/08/2014 22:40

Only makes it easier to sleep if you're tired but only makes u tired in large doses. It is very good to relieve stress, anxiety and depression also pain from muscle tension or slight straining.

Joe 's avatar  Joe 06/04/2014 14:06

I've tried most naturals,including hops,GABA,and Passionflower and none seemed to have worked that well. But I brought out the Valerian again and it seemed to do the trick this time around.

JayKay 's avatar  JayKay 13/09/2013 22:43

I have used valerian root for sleep for years now. My 12 yr old son also has success taking it. If taken in combination with other herbs, such as a supplement sold at Walgreens, it causes insomnia for me and several others I know. So just try the valerian root alone. Sweet dreams.

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