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Valerian is an herb. Medicine is made from the root.

Valerian is most commonly used for sleep disorders, especially the inability to sleep (insomnia). It is frequently

combined with hops, lemon balm, or other herbs that also cause drowsiness. Some people who are trying to withdraw from the use of “sleeping pills” use valerian to help them sleep after they have tapered the dose of the sleeping pill.

Valerian is also used for conditions connected to anxiety and psychological stress including nervous asthma,
hysterical states, excitability, fear of illness (hypochondria), headaches, migraine, and stomach upset.

Some people use valerian for depression, mild tremors, epilepsy, attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and
chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).

Valerian is used for muscle and joint pain. Some women use valerian for menstrual cramps and symptoms

associated with menopause, including hot flashes and anxiety.

Sometimes, valerian is added to bath water to help with restlessness and sleep disorders.
In manufacturing, the extracts and oil made from valerian are used as flavoring in foods and beverages.

Depression. Some early research suggests that taking valerian plus St. John’s wort improves symptoms of
depression. Taking higher doses of valerian with St. John’s wort improves depression symptoms faster than
low doses.
Restlessness. A specific combination product, providing valerian root extract 160 mg and lemon balm leaf
extract 80 mg, has been tried to reduce symptoms of serious
restlessness (dyssomnia) in children under the age of 12. Early results show it might be effective, but more
research is needed.
Menstrual disorders (dysmenorrhea). Early research suggests that taking valerian three times daily for two
menstrual cycles reduces pain and the need for other pain relievers during menstruation.
Stress. Early research suggests that taking 600 mg of valerian for 7 days reduces blood pressure, heart rate
and feelings of pressure when under stress. Other research found that taking 100 mg before speaking in front
of an audience reduces feelings of anxiety. Another study found that taking a combination product containing
valerian and lemon balm night lower anxiety caused by stress at low doses but increase anxiety when taken
in larger doses.
Mild tremors.
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).
Muscle and joint pain.
Stomach upset.
Menopausal symptoms including hot flashes and anxiety.

More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of valerian for these uses.
How does it work?
Valerian seems to act like a sedative on the brain and nervous system.
Are there safety concerns?
Valerian is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in medicinal amounts short-term. Clinical studies have
reported safe use of valerian for medicinal purposes in over 12,000 people in trials lasting up to 28 days. The safety
of long-term use is unknown. Some information suggests that valerian might also be safe when taken by children for
4-8 weeks.
Side effects. Valerian can cause some side effects such as headache, excitability, uneasiness, and even insomnia in some people. A few people feel sluggish in the morning after taking valerian, especially at higher doses. It’s best not to drive or operate dangerous machinery after taking valerian. The long-term safety of valerian is unknown. To avoid possible side effects when discontinuing valerian after long-term use, it's best to reduce the dose slowly over a week or two before stopping completely.
Special precautions & warnings:
Pregnancy or breast-feeding: There isn’t enough information about the safety of valerian during pregnancy or
breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Surgery: Valerian slows down the central nervous system. Anesthesia and other medications used during surgery
also affect the central nervous system. The combined effects might be harmful. Stop taking valerian at least two
weeks before a scheduled surgery.
Possible iteractions with medications
Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Valerian might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large
amounts of valerian along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness. However, some research has found that
combining valerian with alcohol does not increase sleepiness.

Be cautious with this combination:

Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Valerian might decrease how quickly the liver breaks
down some medications. Taking valerian along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can
increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking valerian, talk to your healthcare provider if
you are taking any medications that are changed by the liver.
Valerian might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Drugs that cause sleepiness and drowsiness are called sedatives.
Taking valerian along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.
Sedative medications (CNS depressants)
Valerian might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking
valerian along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Taking valerian along with sedative
medications used in surgery might cause prolonged sedation.

Interactions with herbs and supplements
Herbs and supplements with sedative (sleep-inducing) properties
Use of valerian with other herbs and supplements that act as sedatives might cause too much sleepiness in some
people. This combination might also increase the side effects of valerian.
Some of the herbs and supplements with sedative effects include calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican
dogwood, kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, sage, SAMe, St. John's wort, sassafras, skullcap, and others.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

For inability to sleep (insomnia):
400-900 mg valerian extract up to 2 hours before bedtime for as long as 28 days, or
Valerian extract 120 mg, with lemon balm extract 80 mg 3 times daily for up to 30 days, or
A combination product containing valerian extract 187 mg plus hops extract 41.9 mg per tablet, 2 tablets
at bedtime for 28 days.
Take valerian 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime.

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