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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • (1R,3R,5R,7S,8S,9S)-3,8-epoxy-1-O-ethyl-5-hydroxyvalechlorine, (1S,3R,5R,7S,8S,9S)-3,8-epoxy-1-O-ethyl-5-hydroxyvalechlorine, (1S,3R,5R,7S,8S,9S)-3,8-epoxy-1,5-dihydroxyvalechlorine, 2S(-)-hesperidin, (5S,6S,8S,9R)-1,3-isovaleroxy-Δ4,11-1,3-diol, (5S,6S,8S,9R)-3-isovaleroxy-6-isovaleroyloxy-Δ4,¹¹-1,3-diol, (5S,6S,8S,9R)-6-isovaleroyloxy-Δ4,¹¹-1,3-diol, (5S,7S,8S,9S)-7-hydroxy-8-isovaleroyloxy-Δ4,¹¹-dihyronepetalactone, (5S,7S,8S,9S)-7-hydroxy-10-isovaleroyloxy-Δ4,¹¹-dihyronepetalactone, (5S,8S,9S)-10-isovaleroyloxy-Δ4,¹¹-dihyronepetalactone, 6-methylapigenin, 6'-O-acyl-beta-D-glucosyl-clionasterols, 14-methylpentadecanoyl, actinidine, all-heal, amantilla, Balderbrackenwurzel (German), Baldisedron®, Baldrian (German), Baldrian-Dispert, Baldrianwurzel (German), baldrinal, baldrion, Belgian valerian, blessed herb, capon's tail, chlorogenic acid, chlorovaltrates A-O, clionasterol-3-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, common valerian, English valerian, Euvegal® forte, flavonoids, fragrant valerian, garden heliotrope, garden valerian, German valerian, great wild valerian, Harmonicum Much®, heliptrope, herba benedicta, hexadecanoyl 8E, hexadecanoyl, 8E,11E-octadecadienoyl, homobaldrinal, Indian valerian, irioids, isovaleric acid, Jacob's ladder, Japanese valerian, jatadoids A-B, jatairidoids A-C, Katzenwurzel (German), kessanes, laege-baldrian (Danish), Li 156, lignans, Mexican valerian, monoterpenes, Nature Made®, Nature's Resource®, Nature's Way Valerian, Nervex®, Neurapas® balance, Neurol®, Orasedon®, Pacific valerian, phu, phu germanicum, phu parvum, pinnis dentatis, racine de valériane (French), radix valerian, red valerian, rupesin B, Sanox-N®, Seda-Kneipp, Sedamine, Sedonium®, sesquiterpenes, setewale capon's tail, setwall, setwell, tagara (Sanskrit), terpenoids (valepotriates), theriacaria, Ticalma®, vaimane, valariana, Valdispert, Valdispert forte, valepotriates, valeranone, valerenal, valeriana (Italian), Valeriana edulis, Valeriana edulis Nutt., Valeriana faurieri, Valeriana foliis pinnatis, Valeriana jatamansi, Valeriana jatamansi Jones, Valeriana officinalis L., Valeriana officinalis var. latifolia, Valeriana procera Kunth (Mexican valeriana), Valeriana radix, Valeriana sitchensis, Valeriana sitchensis Bong., Valeriana wallichii, Valeriana wallichii DC., Valerianaceae (family), Valerianae radix, Valerianaheel®, valériane (French), Valerina Forte®, Valerina Natt®, valerinic acid, Valmane®, valtrate, Valverde®, Valverde Sleeping Syrup, vandal root, Vermont valerian, volatile oils, volvaltrate B, wild valerian, Ze 185, Ze 91019, Ze 911.
  • Note: Valeriana procera Kunth (Mexican valerian) is sometimes used as a substitute for Valeriana officinalis L. Other valerian species used in commercial preparations include Valeriana jatamansi Jones, Valeriana edulis Nutt., and V. sitchensis Bong. Although the primary focus of this monograph is on Valeriana officinalis, information pertaining to other Valeriana species has been identified whenever possible.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Limited available evidence has suggested that valerian exerts some beneficial therapeutic effects in females with moderate-to-severe dysmenorrhea, particularly for the mitigation of pain symptoms and use of concomitant pain relievers (1).
  • Valerian is widely used to treat insomnia and anxiety. Preliminary data from several human trials suggest that valerian improves subjective measures of sleep quality and sleep latency. Better effects have been noted in poor sleepers. Early evidence suggests that ongoing use may be more effective than acute (single-dose) use, with progressive effects over several weeks. However, most available studies have been methodologically weak, and in most cases, results have lacked confirmation from objective sleep pattern data in a sleep laboratory or validated measurement scales.
  • Studies report that valerian is generally well tolerated for up to 4-6 weeks, but rarely may produce mild adverse effects (e.g., dizziness, hangover, or headache). Preliminary research suggests that valerian is nonsedating in recommended doses and has little effect on reaction time, concentration, or coordination compared to benzodiazepines. However, other studies report that valerian may impair vigilance or slow the processing of complex thoughts for a few hours after use.

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.