Valerian

Last Updated: September 28 2022

Valeriana officinalis, also known as valerian, is an herbal tea and supplement. It is commonly used for its sedative and anxiety-reducing effects.

Valerian is most often used for

Summary

Valeriana officinalis is a plant, commonly referred to as valerian. Traditionally, valerian roots are brewed for tea or eaten for relaxation and sedation purposes. Though valerian is one of the more popular sedative teas, current evidence suggests it is not very effective.

Valerian's primary usage is to soothe anxiety or make it easier to go to sleep.

Though scientific measurements of sleep quality showed no difference between people that supplemented valerian and people that supplemented a placebo, many participants anecdotally reported that their sleep was better when supplementing valerian. Valerian may also aid with menustral pain, since it is a spasmolytic.

Valerian is thought to enhance the signalling of one of the main sedative neurotransmitters, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA).

It is possible that valerian has relaxing properties independent of any actual improvements in sleep quality. High doses of valerian have been noted to cause mild sedation. Further research is needed to confirm valerian's true effects on sleep.

What else is Valerian known as?
Note that Valerian is also known as:
  • Valerian
  • Valeriana Officinalis
Dosage information

A standard dose of valerian is 450mg. Daytime supplementation should consist of 2 to 3 doses of 300mg.

Valerian supplements consist of the root, which is standardized to contain 0.8-1% valerenic acid.

Valerian should be taken an hour before bed. If valerian is being supplemented during the daytime, it should be taken with meals.

Join our supplement information course

Become an Examine Insider for FREE and get a full five-day mini course on supplements. 100% backed by science, we take an independent and unbiased approach to figure out what works (and what's a waste of time and money).

    The only 100% independent company. While everyone sells supplements, we only analyze research.

    Examine Database
    What works and what doesn't?

    Unlock the full potential of Examine

    Get started

    Don't miss out on the latest research

    Become an Examine Insider for FREE to stay on top of the latest nutrition research, supplement myths, and more

      References
      1.^Houghton PJThe scientific basis for the reputed activity of ValerianJ Pharm Pharmacol.(1999 May)
      2.^Salter S, Brownie STreating primary insomnia - the efficacy of valerian and hopsAust Fam Physician.(2010 Jun)
      3.^Mathela CS, Tiwari M, Sammal SS, Chanotiya CSValeriana wallichii DC, a new chemotype from northwestern HimalayaJ Essent Oil Res.(2005 Nov-Dec)
      5.^Donovan JL, DeVane CL, Chavin KD, Wang JS, Gibson BB, Gefroh HA, Markowitz JSMultiple night-time doses of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) had minimal effects on CYP3A4 activity and no effect on CYP2D6 activity in healthy volunteersDrug Metab Dispos.(2004 Dec)
      6.^Del Valle-Mojica LM, Ayala-Marín YM, Ortiz-Sanchez CM, Torres-Hernández BA, Abdalla-Mukhaimer S, Ortiz JGSelective Interactions of Valeriana officinalis Extracts and Valerenic Acid with {H}Glutamate Binding to Rat Synaptic MembranesEvid Based Complement Alternat Med.(2011)
      9.^Wang PC, Ran XH, Chen R, Li LC, Xiong SS, Liu YQ, Luo HR, Zhou J, Zhao YXVolvalerenone A, a new type of mononorsesquiterpenoid with an unprecedented 3,12-oxo bridge from Valeriana officinalisTetrahedron Lett.(2010)
      10.^Marder M, Viola H, Wasowski C, Fernández S, Medina JH, Paladini AC6-methylapigenin and hesperidin: new valeriana flavonoids with activity on the CNSPharmacol Biochem Behav.(2003 Jun)
      11.^Fernández S, Wasowski C, Paladini AC, Marder MSedative and sleep-enhancing properties of linarin, a flavonoid-isolated from Valeriana officinalisPharmacol Biochem Behav.(2004 Feb)
      13.^Taibi DM, Bourguignon C, Gill Taylor AA feasibility study of valerian extract for sleep disturbance in person with arthritisBiol Res Nurs.(2009 Apr)
      14.^Fernández-San-Martín MI, Masa-Font R, Palacios-Soler L, Sancho-Gómez P, Calbó-Caldentey C, Flores-Mateo GEffectiveness of Valerian on insomnia: a meta-analysis of randomized placebo-controlled trialsSleep Med.(2010 Jun)
      15.^Barton DL, Atherton PJ, Bauer BA, Moore DF Jr, Mattar BI, Lavasseur BI, Rowland KM Jr, Zon RT, Lelindqwister NA, Nagargoje GG, Morgenthaler TI, Sloan JA, Loprinzi CLThe use of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) in improving sleep in patients who are undergoing treatment for cancer: a phase III randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study (NCCTG Trial, N01C5)J Support Oncol.(2011 Jan-Feb)
      16.^Balderer G, Borbély AAEffect of valerian on human sleepPsychopharmacology (Berl).(1985)
      17.^Leathwood PD, Chauffard FAqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in manPlanta Med.(1985 Apr)
      19.^Müller CE, Schumacher B, Brattström A, Abourashed EA, Koetter UInteractions of valerian extracts and a fixed valerian-hop extract combination with adenosine receptorsLife Sci.(2002 Sep 6)
      23.^Hellum BH, Hu Z, Nilsen OGTrade herbal products and induction of CYP2C19 and CYP2E1 in cultured human hepatocytesBasic Clin Pharmacol Toxicol.(2009 Jul)
      24.^Gurley BJ, Gardner SF, Hubbard MA, Williams DK, Gentry WB, Khan IA, Shah AIn vivo effects of goldenseal, kava kava, black cohosh, and valerian on human cytochrome P450 1A2, 2D6, 2E1, and 3A4/5 phenotypesClin Pharmacol Ther.(2005 May)
      27.^Dietz BM, Mahady GB, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NRValerian extract and valerenic acid are partial agonists of the 5-HT5a receptor in vitroBrain Res Mol Brain Res.(2005 Aug 18)
      29.^Bergink V, van Megen HJ, Westenberg HGGlutamate and anxietyEur Neuropsychopharmacol.(2004 May)
      30.^Swanson CJ, Bures M, Johnson MP, Linden AM, Monn JA, Schoepp DDMetabotropic glutamate receptors as novel targets for anxiety and stress disordersNat Rev Drug Discov.(2005 Feb)
      31.^Yuan CS, Mehendale S, Xiao Y, Aung HH, Xie JT, Ang-Lee MKThe gamma-aminobutyric acidergic effects of valerian and valerenic acid on rat brainstem neuronal activityAnesth Analg.(2004 Feb)
      32.^Cavadas C, Araújo I, Cotrim MD, Amaral T, Cunha AP, Macedo T, Ribeiro CFIn vitro study on the interaction of Valeriana officinalis L. extracts and their amino acids on GABAA receptor in rat brainArzneimittelforschung.(1995 Jul)
      33.^Khom S, Baburin I, Timin E, Hohaus A, Trauner G, Kopp B, Hering SValerenic acid potentiates and inhibits GABA(A) receptors: molecular mechanism and subunit specificityNeuropharmacology.(2007 Jul)
      34.^Benke D, Barberis A, Kopp S, Altmann KH, Schubiger M, Vogt KE, Rudolph U, Möhler HGABA A receptors as in vivo substrate for the anxiolytic action of valerenic acid, a major constituent of valerian root extractsNeuropharmacology.(2009 Jan)
      35.^Trauner G, Khom S, Baburin I, Benedek B, Hering S, Kopp BModulation of GABAA receptors by valerian extracts is related to the content of valerenic acidPlanta Med.(2008 Jan)
      38.^Chambers J, Ames RS, Bergsma D, Muir A, Fitzgerald LR, Hervieu G, Dytko GM, Foley JJ, Martin J, Liu WS, Park J, Ellis C, Ganguly S, Konchar S, Cluderay J, Leslie R, Wilson S, Sarau HMMelanin-concentrating hormone is the cognate ligand for the orphan G-protein-coupled receptor SLC-1Nature.(1999 Jul 15)
      39.^Vissiennon Z, Sichardt K, Koetter U, Brattström A, Nieber KValerian extract Ze 911 inhibits postsynaptic potentials by activation of adenosine A1 receptors in rat cortical neuronsPlanta Med.(2006 Jun)
      40.^Rezvani ME, Roohbakhsh A, Allahtavakoli M, Shamsizadeh AAnticonvulsant effect of aqueous extract of Valeriana officinalis in amygdala-kindled rats: possible involvement of adenosineJ Ethnopharmacol.(2010 Feb 3)
      41.^Rezvani ME, Mirnajafi-Zadeh J, Fathollahi Y, Palizvan MRAnticonvulsant effect of A1 but not A2A adenosine receptors of piriform cortex in amygdala-kindled ratsCan J Physiol Pharmacol.(2007 Jun)
      42.^Hosseinmardi N, Mirnajafi-Zadeh J, Fathollahi Y, Shahabi PThe role of adenosine A1 and A2A receptors of entorhinal cortex on piriform cortex kindled seizures in ratsPharmacol Res.(2007 Aug)
      43.^Miyasaka LS, Atallah AN, Soares BGValerian for anxiety disordersCochrane Database Syst Rev.(2006 Oct 18)
      46.^Jacobs BP, Bent S, Tice JA, Blackwell T, Cummings SRAn internet-based randomized, placebo-controlled trial of kava and valerian for anxiety and insomniaMedicine (Baltimore).(2005 Jul)
      48.^Leathwood PD, Chauffard F, Heck E, Munoz-Box RAqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) improves sleep quality in manPharmacol Biochem Behav.(1982 Jul)
      49.^Leathwood PD, Chauffard FQuantifying the effects of mild sedativesJ Psychiatr Res.(1982-1983)
      50.^Schulz H, Stolz C, Müller JThe effect of valerian extract on sleep polygraphy in poor sleepers: a pilot studyPharmacopsychiatry.(1994 Jul)
      51.^Donath F, Quispe S, Diefenbach K, Maurer A, Fietze I, Roots ICritical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep qualityPharmacopsychiatry.(2000 Mar)
      53.^Poyares DR, Guilleminault C, Ohayon MM, Tufik SCan valerian improve the sleep of insomniacs after benzodiazepine withdrawalProg Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry.(2002 Apr)
      55.^Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling WValerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysisAm J Med.(2006 Dec)
      56.^Taibi DM, Landis CA, Petry H, Vitiello MVA systematic review of valerian as a sleep aid: safe but not effectiveSleep Med Rev.(2007 Jun)
      58.^Sarris J, Byrne GJA systematic review of insomnia and complementary medicineClin Rev.(2011 Apr)
      59.^Roth T, Roehrs TEfficacy and Safety of Sleep-Promoting AgentsSleep Med Clin.(2008 Jun)
      63.^Savard J, Morin CMInsomnia in the context of cancer: a review of a neglected problemJ Clin Oncol.(2001 Feb 1)
      64.^Palesh OG, Roscoe JA, Mustian KM, Roth T, Savard J, Ancoli-Israel S, Heckler C, Purnell JQ, Janelsins MC, Morrow GRPrevalence, demographics, and psychological associations of sleep disruption in patients with cancer: University of Rochester Cancer Center-Community Clinical Oncology ProgramJ Clin Oncol.(2010 Jan 10)
      65.^Davidson JR, MacLean AW, Brundage MD, Schulze KSleep disturbance in cancer patientsSoc Sci Med.(2002 May)
      66.^Miller AH, Ancoli-Israel S, Bower JE, Capuron L, Irwin MRNeuroendocrine-immune mechanisms of behavioral comorbidities in patients with cancerJ Clin Oncol.(2008 Feb 20)
      67.^Singh A, Kiran D, Singh H, Nel B, Singh P, Tiwari PPrevalence and severity of dysmenorrhea: a problem related to menstruation, among first and second year female medical studentsIndian J Physiol Pharmacol.(2008 Oct-Dec)
      68.^Unsal A1, Ayranci U, Tozun M, Arslan G, Calik EPrevalence of dysmenorrhea and its effect on quality of life among a group of female university studentsUps J Med Sci.(2010 May)
      69.^Tavallaee M, Joffres MR, Corber SJ, Bayanzadeh M, Rad MMThe prevalence of menstrual pain and associated risk factors among Iranian womenJ Obstet Gynaecol Res.(2011 May)
      70.^Gilani AH, Khan AU, Jabeen Q, Subhan F, Ghafar RAntispasmodic and blood pressure lowering effects of Valeriana wallichii are mediated through K+ channel activationJ Ethnopharmacol.(2005 Sep 14)
      71.^Mirabi P, Dolatian M, Mojab F, Majd HAEffects of valerian on the severity and systemic manifestations of dysmenorrheaInt J Gynaecol Obstet.(2011 Dec)
      72.^Mirabi P, Mojab FThe effects of valerian root on hot flashes in menopausal womenIran J Pharm Res.(2013 Winter)
      74.^Taavoni S, Nazem Ekbatani N, Haghani HValerian/lemon balm use for sleep disorders during menopauseComplement Ther Clin Pract.(2013 Nov)
      75.^Bhatt C, Kanaki N, Nayak R, Shah GSynergistic potentiation of anti-anxiety activity of valerian and alprazolam by liquoriceIndian J Pharmacol.(2013 Mar-Apr)
      76.^Cuellar NG, Ratcliffe SJDoes valerian improve sleepiness and symptom severity in people with restless legs syndromeAltern Ther Health Med.(2009 Mar-Apr)