Valerian

Valeriana officinalis

The part used in herbal medicine is valerian root and it is taken as a tea, a tincture or a fluid extract.

Key symptoms valerian is used to treat include

  • Anxiety; panic attacks 
  • Insomnia; sleep disorders 
  • Nervous restlessness 
  • Wedding nerves; exam nerves 
  • Fearfulness; of flying; stage fright; mild phobias 
  • Muscular relaxant for tension; cramps; spasms; period pain.

Valerian benefits

Valerian root is used to aid sleep and to relieve the symptoms of mild anxiety. Anxiety is when you are feeling anxious, nervous or worried, or if you are having panic attacks. Everyone experiences feelings of anxiety at some point in their life and Valerian can help them to cope.
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Valerian dosage

DIRECTIONS Adults & the elderly: To relieve the symptoms of mild anxiety: Take one 5ml teaspoonful in water or fruit juice when necessary, up to three times a day. To aid sleep: Take one 5ml teaspoonful in water or fruit juice half to one hour before bedtime, with an earlier dose during the evening if necessary. Take continuously for 2-4 weeks for full effect. 

Valerian safety

The MHRA advises that Valerian should not be used in people under 18 as this might prevent a diagnosis of a more serious depression.

The safety of valerian has not been established in children and should therefore not be taken by children unless under the direction of a medical herbalist.

Do not use valerian if you are allergic to it or any of the other ingredients in the product you are taking.

Do not use valerian if you have liver disease or epilepsy.

The safety of valerian has not been established in pregnant or breastfeeding women and should therefore not be taken in pregnancy and while breastfeeding unless under the direction of a medical herbalist.

Contact a doctor or healthcare practitioner if symptoms do not improve after 4 weeks of using valerian. This is recommended to ensure that the patient is not suffering from Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), clinical depression or another mental health problem.

Valerian side effects

Valerian may cause drowsiness in some people. Alcohol should also be avoided as the effects of valerian can be increased by alcohol.  

Valerian interactions

Do not take Valerian if you are already taking a medicine for sleep or anxiety are taking medicines known to interact with alcohol e.g. metronidazole.

© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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