Valerian: Benefits, Side-Effects, Supplements, Uses, And Capsules

Valerian is a perennial herb endemic to Asia, Europe, and North America. It grows up to five feet tall, and it sprouts small pink or white flowers when in bloom. Valerian is referred to as “all-heal” and “garden heliotrope.” The valerian root embodies the medicinal properties of the herb. It is mainly used to benefit sleep quality, decrease depressive symptoms, and reduce stress. 

In the early Greek and Roman times, Valerian was a popular choice in treating migraine, fatigue, insomnia, and abdominal cramps. At present day, it is popularized as an effective treatment for migraine and sleep problems like insomnia. It is also used by individuals with depressive and anxiety symptoms as well as premenstrual syndrome.

The National Institutes of Health Office of Dietary Supplements lists the most common side effects of Valerian as headaches, dizziness, itchiness, and gastrointestinal disturbances. Of more than 250 species of Valerian, the species Valeriana officinalis is the variety commonly used in health supplements. Manufacturing companies produce Valerian supplements in powder, tea, tablet, and capsule forms. The leading Valerian supplement producers are Vital Nutrients, Gaia Herbs, Herb Pharm, Nature’s Way, NOW, Wise Woman Herbals, and Planetary Herbals. 

What Are The Benefits Of Valerian?

Valerian is most commonly used to treat insomnia. Here is a list of its other possible benefits and the scientific evidence supporting them.

1. Treating Insomnia

Insomnia is a sleep disorder that affects ten to thirty percent of American adults. Individuals who have difficulty falling and going back to sleep, or suffer from interrupted rest, may benefit from Valerian. According to the American Sleep Foundation, twenty percent of American adults have turned to natural remedies for sleep problems. 

Valerian has been used to aid insomnia as a single drug or in combination with other herbs or medicines. Researchers, led by F. Donath, studied the efficiency of Valerian in affecting primary insomnia. The study subjects took two single-coated tablets, each containing 300 mg of dry radix valerianae extract in 5:1 drug/extract ratio (DER) an hour before bedtime. A single dose of Valerian showed no change in sleep pattern, while a multi-dose treatment of 14 days manifested a tendency for shorter subjective sleep latency. There was also a noted increase in the rate of time in bed and the percentage of REM. Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is the stage of the sleep cycle associated with dreaming. 

In another clinical study, a team headed by U. Koetter investigated the effect of Valerian when taken together with hops. The flower of hops plant is used to make medicine for anxiety and sleep disorders, and produce the bitter flavor in beer. The treatment group consumed a fixed extract combination Ze 91019 (120 mg hops extract and 500 mg Valerian extract in 45% methanol). The 4-week treatment showed reduced sleep latency compared to the placebo and Valerian alone. 

2. Treating Migraine

There is very limited research on the effects of Valerian in migraine (a severe form of headache characterized by throbbing pain or pulsing sensation usually in one side of the head). In a clinical trial conducted on a group suffering from tension-type headaches, the intervention group received Valerian root extract 530 mg twice a day after dinner. The parameters on the severity of headache, disability, and impact of headache on activities of daily living were measured via questionnaires pre and post-treatment. After a month of Valerian intervention, the participants reported a significant reduction in all three parameters relative to headache. This positive effect is attributed to the volatile oils, monoterpenes, valepotriates, and sesquiterpenes (valerenic acid) present in the Valerian extract. While some of these components act directly on the brain, valerenic acid suppresses the breakdown of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). Being the primary neurotransmitter that induces sedation and decreases daily stress, inhibition of GABA explains the effect of Valerian in tension headaches since stress is a primary risk factor.

3. Treating Fatigue

While some people use Valerian to treat various health conditions including fatigue, there is no scientific research showing support for this in humans. On the contrary, Valerian is often used to promote healthy sleep, not prevent it.

4. Treating Stomach Cramps

To this date, there is no research conducted on the effects of standardized Valerian extract and stomach cramps. However, there is a preliminary study using crude extract of Valeriana wallichii rhizome on guinea pigs and rabbits. This specific Valerian species showed antispasmodic property through potassium channel activation. Still, more studies are needed to show effects on humans; there is a need as well of a standardized extract to be included in the research.

5. Use For Treating Anxiety

Valerian has been used to treat anxiety, but there is not sufficient scientific evidence that supports this benefit. The herb was tested in a group of 36 patients with generalized anxiety disorder in one pilot study, but there was no significant improvement reported by the control and treatment groups. In a separate study by Muller, a combination of Valerian and St. John’s wort (a wild flowering plant) showed strong evidence towards decreasing anxiety. The researchers suggested though, further studies, on a larger population, are needed to examine the effects of sole Valerian therapy in anxiety as compared to other drugs. 

6. Use For Treating Depression 

The National Institute of Mental Health reports that seven to eight percent of American young adults experienced at least one major episode of depression in their lives. The prevalence amongst the population makes depression an important mental issue. Many people experience this difficult period which can create long-term effects if not treated properly. 

As a natural remedy, Valerian showed a significant reduction in depression symptoms after two phases of treatment in a clinical study performed on hemodialysis patients aged 35 to 88. The patients were administered capsules containing 530 mg of Valeriana officinalis dried root one hour before bedtime for one month. This may be due to how this herb interferes with serotonin and GABA levels, the key chemical messengers closely associated with depression.

 

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7. Use For Treating Premenstrual Syndrome

Women of reproductive age (15 to 49 years old) often take Valerian root to alleviate premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This is a group of symptoms before menstruation that varies between each individual but may be accompanied by breast tenderness, fatigue, sleeplessness, changes in appetite, irritability, and mood changes.

A research study involving women aged 20 to 25, led by researcher Z. Moghadam investigated the effects of Valerian on PMS. The team arranged for the participants to take 530 mg Valerian capsules once each morning and evening after meals, preferably with a glass of water. The treatment covered a course of three menstrual cycles, specifically in the last seven days of each menstrual cycle. After the treatment, the Valerian group reported a significant reduction in the severity of physical and behavioral PMS symptoms. The results can be attributed to the valrnik acid in Valerian root, which has anti-spastic properties. It prevents uterine muscle contraction during menstrual periods by inhibiting prostaglandin release, leading to pain relief for women. The results of this study complement the positive effects of Valerian in insomnia and depression, which can also be symptoms of PMS.

8. Use For Treating Menopause Symptoms

Valerian has shown positive effects on hot flashes during menopause. Hot flashes are sudden bursts of heat, sweating, anxiety, and chills, which may be accompanied by reddened skin and increased heart rate. They are usually the first symptoms experienced by menopausal women. In an experiment done by Parvaneh Mirabi and Raraz Mojab, menopausal women took 255 mg Valerian capsules thrice a day for eight weeks. The frequency of hot flashes decreased on the 4th and 8th-week intervals during the treatment. The estrogen-like component of Valerian was believed to cause the reduction of menopause symptoms. 

In another clinical trial, headed by E. Jenabi, postmenopausal women aged 45 to 55 consumed a higher Valerian extract dose of 530 mg/capsule twice a day. After a one and two-month interval, the frequency of hot flashes decreased in the treatment group. The researchers suggested that Valerian can be an effective pharmacological alternative in reducing the severity of hot flashes in women experiencing menopause. 

9. Use For Treating Chronic Fatigue Syndromes

There is no research on Valerian and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome up to the date of writing.

10. Used To Treat Convulsions

Convulsions are uncontrolled body movements when muscles contract and relax quickly. Valerian is recognized as an essential herb in folk medicine for controlling convulsions. However, there are very few studies with electroencephalographic evidence relative to the use of Valerian against convulsions or similar issues.

In a research study done by Maria Eva Gonzalez-Trujano and her team, male Wistar rats were administered with a single dose of crude ethanol extract of Valerian edulis and its valepotriate fraction (100 mg/kg intraperitoneal) and pentylenetrazole (PTZ) 35 mg/kg, i.p. The study concluded that the anticonvulsant properties of Valerian can be attributed to the presence of valepotriates such as isodihydrovaltrate (18.99%), homovaltrate (13.51%), 10-acetoxy-valtrathydrin (4%), and valtrate (1.34%).

In a research study by A. Kapucu and colleagues, Valeriana officinalis extract and 7-Nitroindozole was said to improve seizure stages and frequency of seizures in Wistar rats. Still, more studies are needed to show the effects of Valerian in humans.

What Are The Risks and Side-Effects Of Valerian?

The majority of clinical studies show that Valerian is well-tolerated. Side effects are considered mild and may include the following:

  1. Dizziness
  2. Headache
  3. Daytime drowsiness
  4. Dry mouth
  5. Metallic taste in mouth
  6. Upset stomach
  7. Fatigue
  8. Vivid dreams

In a case report published in the World Journal of Critical Care Medicine, a 48-year old male took two types of beverages containing Valerian root. The patient presented generalized tonic-clonic seizures and low blood sodium levels. Upon further investigation, the doctors observed that the beverages had a minimal Valerian content. Given that Valerian overdose is clinically linked only to abdominal discomfort, they deduced that the hyponatremia (low sodium levels) could be attributed to the excess water from the beverage consumption rather than the adverse pharmacologic effects of Valerian.

In another case report of an 85-year old male, the patient showed signs of delirium such as confusion, agitation, and visual hallucinations. With a history of mild neurocognitive disorder, recurrent major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and chronic kidney disease, the patient discontinued his medications and turned to a homeopathic regimen of Valerian root extract. The patient took 200 mg capsules of Valerian three times a day. Several days before the incident, the patient discontinued his regimen. The symptoms experienced by the patient are attributed to his withdrawal from Valerian root.

Special attention should also be given to the effects of Valerian on the liver. A published case report, involving Valerian combined with other herbs (hops, asafetida, and gentian), showed acute hepatitis in a 57-year old woman. With no history of liver disease or chronic alcoholic intake, three weeks of consuming the botanical resulted in jaundice and elevated serum bilirubin and ALT levels. The liver biopsy showed chronic hepatitis and fibrosis. Post-study, the definite herbal cause was not determined but the researchers have raised the precaution of Valerian and its hepatologic effect.

Other instances requiring specific precautions include pregnancy and breastfeeding. There is no research-based evidence to support the safety of Valerian in expecting and breastfeeding mothers. Children also do not appear to benefit from the herb. For individuals with scheduled surgery, it is best to stop using Valerian. It slows down the central nervous system which could synergize with the effects of anesthesia and other medications used during the surgical procedures. 

To prevent the side effects and risks associated with Valerian, it is best to consult a physician, especially when taking other medications or suffering from medical conditions that may interact. The standard dosage of Valerian is 400-900 mg. This recommendation should be followed to help prevent side effects. To avoid withdrawal symptoms, taper down Valerian dosage over a period of one or two weeks. Since long-term use has not shown an indication of safety and efficacy, Valerian should not be taken for more than six weeks. 

How Does Valerian Work Within The Human Body?

Valerian contains several compounds that work in different aspects of the human body. Researchers have concluded that Valerian effects result from the synergy of its compounds. One mechanism of Valerian extract by its isovaleric acid and didravaltrate components causes the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) to be released from nerve endings in the brain, and then blocks reuptake of the acid to nerve cells. GABA is a chemical messenger that impedes certain brain signals, reducing central nervous system activity. Once GABA connects to a protein receptor, it produces a calming effect helping with stress, anxiety, and insomnia. Valerenic acid and valerenol also inhibit the enzymes that destroy GABA. They also increase the amount of GABA in the central nervous system. Moreover, Valerian, in itself, contains a sufficient amount of GABA to cause sedation.

How Do You Determine The Correct Valerian Dosage?

In determining the correct dosage for Valerian, we need to consider the age, gender, usage, and available research evidence. Valerian 600 mg should be taken one hour before bedtime for insomnia. 

A higher dose of Valerian 530 mg taken twice daily is effective in migraine and tension headaches in adults. For 18 to 25 years old, a Valerian dosage of 530 mg before bedtime is safe when it comes to psychological conditions, such as depression.

Women have specific usage for Valerian. For 20 to 25 years old, Valerian is best taken at 530 mg/capsule every morning and evening after meals. This dosage proves to decrease the physical and behavioral symptoms during menstruation. When it comes to reducing hot flashes, menopausal women will benefit from taking Valerian 255 mg/capsule thrice a day, while postmenopausal women aged 45-55 see results by taking 530 mg/capsule twice a day. 

What Are The Facts About Valerian?

Being the largest genus under the family Caprifoliaceae, Valerian is categorized as a subfamily of angiosperms (flowering plants used for medicinal and food purposes). It is commonly referred to as “nature’s Valium” since it is utilized in sleep problems, but Valium does not come from Valerian.

The tallest Valerian can stand at 5 feet (1.5 meters) when in full bloom. They are extremely cold-hardy, even in extreme winter climates. Valerian dieback to the ground in the cold season but regenerate in spring. In summer, the plant sprouts extremely fragrant vanilla-like flowers. Gardeners cut them to prevent the plant from reseeding and becoming invasive.

The roots are the primary raw ingredient for the delivery forms of Valerian. According to the American Botanical Council, the herb is used extensively in the United States as a dietary supplement in different forms as tincture, teas, capsules, and tablets.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Valerian?

The health benefits of Valerian are attributed to these compounds:

  • Alkaloids: actinidine, valerine, valerianine and chatinine
  • Free amino acids: gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), tyrosine, arginine, and glutamine
  • Volatile oils: isovaleric acid, camphene, and borneol
  • Iridoid esters (0.5-2.0%): valepotriates (isovaltrate and valtrate) 
  • Sesquiterpenes: valerenic acid, valerenal, and valeranone
  • Flavanones: linarin (0.002%, acacetin, 6-methylapigenin, and hesperidin (0.2%)
  • Polyphenolics: chlorogenic acid (1.157%)
  • Lignans: hydroxypinoresinol
  • Isovaleramide 

Valerian also contains these phytochemicals (bioactive health-protective compounds found in plants):

  • Beta-carotene
  • Limonene
  • Isoquercetin

What Are The Supplement Forms Of Valerian?

The health supplement industry processes the herb into several forms to produce specialized Valerian supplements for different methods of use.

1. Valerian Extract

Valerian extract can either be aqueous or aqueous-alcoholic with 70% ethanol. Traditionally, extracts are prepared by water extraction. The aqueous extract of Valerian possesses an organic active component spectrum compared to ethanol-processed extract. It has an herb-to-extract ratio of 4-7:1. The standardized formulation used by supplement manufacturers contains 0.8% of valerenic acid.

 

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2. Valerian Roots

This form of Valerian is the dried and cut roots of the plant. It has a shelf-life of two years when stored in airtight containers. It can be made into tea or powder for use. Because of its sedative property, it helps an individual relax and sleep.

3. Valerian Leaf

When cut and dried, the fronds of Valerian make an excellent ingredient for tea. In the past, they have been used as an ingredient for food.

Why Is Valerian Extract Useful?

Valerian extract is useful in treating insomnia, alleviating headaches, reducing anxiety and depression, relieving symptoms of PMS, and reducing hot flashes in menopause.

Valerian Supplement

The Valerian supplements sold in the US market come in different forms for delivery:

1. Valerian Powder

The powder form of Valerian is derived from the pulverized roots and leaves of the plant. This is an organic and chemically-unprocessed Valerian supplement; it contains no additives. It is easily dissolved in beverages, such as water, coffee, tea, and smoothies. The companies producing Valerian powder are Mood & Mind, White Label Premium Herbs and Spices, and Naturevibe Botanicals.

2. Valerian Pills (Capsules and Tablets)

This Valerian supplement form may be composed solely of standardized Valerian extract or combined with other herbal extracts. Pills are encased in gelatin or capsules made from vegetable products. Gelatin is an animal protein acquired from collagen. Supplement manufacturers prefer gelatin capsules since gelatin easily dissolves at body temperature. Vegetable capsules are made as an alternative to gelatin and do not contain animal products to serve vegetarian or vegan consumers. The soft gels make them easier to swallow while still delivering the herbal extract safely encased inside.

Valerian capsules ensure that a precise dosage is delivered upon consumption. The herbal content and formulation are also printed on the packaging. Some brands that produce Valerian in capsules are Vital Nutrients, Gaia Herbs, NOW, and Planetary Herbals.

Similar to capsules, Valerian tablets also deliver a definite formulation of the herb. Tablets can also be made containing only Valerian but most often include a combination of other herbal extracts and compounds. One distinctive difference is that tablets may still taste like Valerian which is not the case with capsules.

The companies that manufacture Valerian supplements in tablet forms are Metagenics, Nature’s Way, and Mediherb.

3. Valerian Tea

The chopped and dried Valerian leaves and roots comprise the Valerian tea. The supplement form can be packed in tea bags to be soaked in hot water. It can also be made of loose organic Valerian leaves and roots and brought to a boil to form the tea. According to the American Academy of Family Physicians, the best time for drinking Valerian tea in treating insomnia is 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime.

Some companies producing Valerian tea are Peruvian Naturals, Buddha Teas, Pukka, Traditional Medicinals, Numi, and Celebration Herbals.

4. Valerian Tincture

A more concentrated form of the liquid Valerian supplement is the tincture. The supplement form is from the roots of Valerian that supports a long-lasting shelf-life. It is easily digested and quickly absorbed by the body; there is no need to break down the plant cellulose for the medicinal properties of the herbs. Valerian tincture is produced by using an alcohol base to extract the compounds from the herb, forming a concentrated liquid for consumption. Wise Woman Herbals, Herb Pharm and Gaia Herbs manufacture Valerian tinctures. 

What Is The Etymology Of Valerian?

The name Valerian was derived from the Roman District of Valeria, and is associated with the Latin word, valere, meaning “healthy, valuable.” It is also from the Old French word valeriane meaning “wild valerian.” Moreover, the word is of Latin origin, the feminine singular adjective, Valerianus.

The herb is also called “garden heliotrope”, “setwall”, and “all-heal.” It is referred to as garden valerian to differentiate it from the other plants in its genus.

What Place Does Valerian Have In Society And Culture?

Symbolically, the flowers of Valerian mean strength, readiness, or awareness. The flowers are commonly used in bouquets; the white ones denote loyalty and friendship, and the pink ones signify appreciation.

Aside from its medicinal uses, Valerian also played a role in ancient civilizations. It was of high value to the Egyptians because their favorite animal (cats) loved the herb. During Medieval times, Swedish groomsmen tucked Valerian on their privy parts before matrimony as it was believed to “ward off the envy of elves.” In modern days, Valerian serves as the sleeping aid of choice for most individuals suffering from insomnia. It is categorized as invasive (noxious weed and rapidly growing) and prohibited (banned for sale and distribution due to invasiveness) in the states of Connecticut based on the New England Distribution and Conservation Status.

What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Valerian?

Historians recorded Valerian as everyday food in Great Britain in the Middle Ages. Nowadays, the herb is still used in several food recipes, but the list might be limited. While its flowers produce a vanilla-like scent, the roots of Valerian yield a foul odor resembling unwashed feet or stale sweat. The following are food preparations using Valerian as an ingredient.

  1. Valerian Salad
  2. Valerian and Basil Soup
  3. Poached Salmon with Valerian and Radish
  4. Valerian Hot Chocolate
  5. Valerian Mint Cordial
  6. Valerian Pesto

What Are The Valerian Parts?

The parts of Valerian that can be used as ingredients for its health benefits are as follows:

  1. Roots: This Valerian part is the most common part used in supplements. They are dried to make tinctures or tea. They also serve as the raw material for Valerian extract.
  1. Rhizomes: These plant structures are the stems of Valerian which stretch underground. They are yellow-to-brown tubules covered with roots that store food for the plant. They are also used in manufacturing Valerian supplements.
  1. Stolons: These are the stems seen above ground that grow horizontally. Used as one of the main ingredients in Valerian extract, they sprout new roots along their length to create a new plant. 
  1. Leaves: Valerian grows pinnate leaves with seven to ten pairs of lance-shaped leaflets. The leaves are arranged in a rosette and are covered with prickles. The essential oil extracted from the leaves is still used as a flavoring agent for ice cream and baked goods.
  1. Flowers: The white to pink Valerian flowers are shaped like trumpets and arranged in multi-branched clusters (cymes) on the top of each flowering stalk. They bloom from June to August. These flowers were used in perfume preparations in the 16th century. They can be concocted into tea but are to be used in moderation. 
  1. Fruits: The Valerian fruits are edible and they look like small dry capsules with a feathery hair structure (pappus) facilitating wind dispersal for pollination.

What Is The History Of Valerian?

The origin of Valerian can be traced back to Europe and Asia, and the first recorded medicinal usage of Valerian dates back to the first century AD. From around 23 AD to 79 AD, Pliney recommended Valerian for pain relief. The curative use of Valerian was added as a diuretic and sleep aid by Dioscorides, a Greek physician and pharmacologist, from 40 AD to 90 AD. Later at 129 AD – 200 AD, Galen, another Greek physician, surgeon, and philosopher, recognized the use of the herb as a decongestant. He prescribed the herb to the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius as an insomnia medication. 

In the 4th and 5th centuries, Valerian had already gained prominence to the followers of Hippocrates, the father of medicine. Hippocrates published his findings of the therapeutic power of Valerian, while Geoffrey Chaucer, an English poet and author, included and wrote about Valerian in The Canterbury Tales. 

In the 12th century, Hildegard of Binger, a German abbess, used the plant as a tranquilizer. It was also around this era that the infamous Pied Piper lore happened. It was believed that the character used Valerian to entice the infesting rats and drive them away from the village. During World War II, Valerian rose to popularity in England. The soldiers alleviated their stress from the constant air raids by consuming the herb.

The 16th through the 17th century saw the emerging and increasing benefits of Valerian in medicine and household alike. John Gerard, a famous English herbalist and author of The Herball, or generall historie of plantes, lauded and touted the herb as a potent aid for bruises, chest congestion, and convulsions. The English astrological botanist Nicholas Culpeper, on the other hand, asserted the efficacy of Valerian not just against the plague but also for coughs and wounds. 

The Eclectics (individuals who combine botanical herbs and physical therapy in the practice of medicine) of the 19th century paved the way in using Valerian for its calming effect and for epilepsy. In 1820 – 1942, the herb was officially a part of the United States Pharmacopeia, and it was included in the National Formulary until 1950. 

What Are The Other Plants That Are Called Valerian From Time To Time?

Other plants are called Valerian mainly because of the similarity in the shape and color of their flowers. Valerian sprouts a pink and sometimes white flower. A few of these plants are as follows:

  1. Red Valerian (Centranthus ruber): This plant frequently grows in gardens, and it has a very similar but brighter pink flower to that of the Valerian.
  1. Giant Hogweed (Heracleum mantegazzianum): This plant also produces a similar white flower but it has uneven lobed leaves, while Valerian has toothed, lance-shaped leaflets that are pinnately compound (the leaflets sprout at several locations on each side of the herb’s central stalk).
  1. Poison Hemlock (Conium maculatum): Considered a poisonous plant growing throughout the United States, the white flowers of this plant are somewhat identical to the Valerian flowers. 

 

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What Are The Most Common Questions For Valerian Usage?

With its prominence in treating sleep disorders and its availability as an herbal supplement, common questions about Valerian usage focus on its safety, frequency and time of usage, source, and latest trends in research. Below are the common questions concerning the usefulness of Valerian.

Are Valerian Supplements Approved By The Authorities?

No. The Food and Drug Administration regulates health supplements like Valerian as dietary supplements, not as drugs. That means that these supplements don’t need prior approval from the FDA to be sold on the market. However, once they are on the market, the FDA starts exercising its safety monitoring function. It reviews supplement labels and promotional materials as its resources allow and monitors whether there are safety complaints about the product. The supplement manufacturer itself is required to report any of these complaints to the FDA within 15 days upon receipt of the same. While extensive pre-marketing approval is not a requisite in manufacturing supplements in the United States, Valerian is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA also lists Valerian as a food supplement with no contraindications for usage.

Is Valerian An Antipsychotic?

No. While Valerian has been used to alleviate anxiety and reduce depressive episodes, there is no scientific evidence supporting its effect in managing hallucinations, delusions, paranoia, or other psychotic symptoms.

Can You Take Valerian At Night?

Yes. Valerian can be taken at night. Since it is primarily utilized as a sleeping aid, drinking it an hour before bedtime ensures proper peak time and efficacy.

Can You Take Valerian After Meal?

Yes, it is best to take Valerian after meals. One of its possible side effects is an upset stomach; taking it with food helps avoid this.

Can You Take Valerian Every Day?

Yes. Valerian is safe to take every day. A crucial aspect is to follow the recommended dose relative to the desired health benefit of the herbal plant. Research studies on Valerian centered on a two-month-long usage of the herb. Beyond that, it is best to consult a medical practitioner, particularly if you have concomitant medical conditions.

Can A Child Take Valerian?

No, there is no scientific evidence of Valerian use-cases and safety in children.

Can Your Pet Consume Valerian?

Valerian compounds are used in attracting and trapping mice, rats, and cats. Wistar rats are commonly used in research on Valerian, and horses have benefited against colic and nervousness. However, there are no supporting studies on the safety of Valerian consumption in other domestic pets.

Which Plant Produces Valerian?

The Valerian officinalis plant produces the Valerian extract popularly used today as a sleep aid. 

The different parts of the plant, its leaves, roots, and rhizomes, are the main ingredients in the various supplement forms available in the market.

What Are The Current Top Scientific Research Topics For Valerian?

According to the Pubmed website, the recent and top scientific topics searched for about Valerian and its effects on health are as follows:

  1. Sleep
  2. Anxiety
  3. Insomnia

What Is The Best Form Of Valerian Supplement For Sleep?

Valerian pills (capsules and tablets) are the best form of Valerian supplement for sleep. They contain the standardized formulation of the herb that helps to ensure proper dosing and efficacy of the supplement. Tinctures would be more effective if faster-acting Valerian is required or preferred. 

Can You Take Valerian And Melatonin Together?

Yes. Both Valerian and melatonin have therapeutic properties to aid in sleep problems. Valerian increases the GABA in the brain, causing a calming effect, and melatonin helps in timing the circadian rhythm and sleep. When taken together, there is a higher chance of a stronger reaction, and they might increase the side effects, like drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, and difficulty in concentration. So, if used together the dose should be adjusted accordingly. In the research study by Jean Dumur and the team, both Valerian and melatonin, when taken separately, have been deemed the preferable choice compared to other sleep-inducing commercial drugs like benzodiazepines, especially for the elderly.

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