Valerian – Benefits, Preparation, Dosage, Truths


Dietary supplements of Valerian: why take a valerian cure?

Already prescribed by doctors in ancient Greece to treat insomnia, valerian is known to improve nervous restlessness, anxiety and sleep disturbances. Depending on the pain to be relieved, the recommended dose of valerian varies, which is why it is necessary to consult your doctor before starting a course of valerian food supplements. Due to its sedative effect, it is advisable not to drive a vehicle or handle dangerous tools within hours of taking valerian. Its consumption is not indicated for children, pregnant or lactating women. Also, at high doses, it is likely to cause drowsiness.

Valerian dosage


Sleeping troubles

  • Dried root: infuse 2 g to 3 g, for 5 to 10 min, in 150 ml of boiling water. Take 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.
  • Tincture (1: 5): take 4 ml to 6 ml 30 to 60 minutes before going to bed.
  • Standardized extract (0.8% valerinic or valeric acid, 1-1.5% valtrates): take 400 mg to 600 mg 30 to 60 minutes before bedtime.

Nervous restlessness, anxiety

  • Dried root: infuse 2 g to 3 g, for 5 to 10 min, in 150 ml of boiling water. Take up to 5 times a day.
  • Tincture (1: 5): take 1 ml to 3 ml, up to 5 times a day.
  • Standardized extract (0.8% valerinic or valeric acid, 1-1.5% valtrates): take 250 mg to 400 mg 3 times a day.

Notes. Some sources mention that it is sometimes necessary to take the plant for 2 to 4 weeks before feeling the full benefits, especially in cases of chronic insomnia.

Contrary to what often happens with sleeping tablets synthetic, taking valerian at bedtime and at recommended doses usually does not feel ” day after eve ” at Rise.


  • Calming bath: Infuse 100 g of dried roots in 2 liters of boiling water and add to the hot water of the bathtub.

History of valerian

Doctors of ancient Greece, Hippocrates, Dioscorides and Galen, prescribed the valerian to treat insomnia. In ancient Greek, the name of the plant was ” Phu », An allusion to the unpleasant odor which emanates from the dried roots and the withered flowers. The ancient Romans used it to fight the palpitations and the arrhythmia. In the Middle Ages, the famous German abbess and herbalist Hildegarde de Bingen recommended valerian as a tranquilizer and a sleeping pill.

From the end of the XVIe century, Europeans began to use it to treat epilepsy. For their part, the Amerindians calmed the epileptic convulsions by taking root powder from valerian and also used it to heal wounds. During the First World War, Europeans took large amounts of valerian to calm the nervousness caused by the bombing. Nowadays, the reputation of valerian has not weakened and it is still widely used. In the United States, for example, a 2002 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of 31,000 people found that 5.9% of respondents had used valerian and that 30% of them had done it to fight the insomnia.

Valerian research

  • Sleeping troubles. To date, clinical research has failed to demonstrate the effectiveness of valerian for treating insomnia. The results obtained are contradictory and inconclusive overall. In the best of cases, people who have taken valerian extracts experience an improvement in their sleep and a decrease in the tired. However, this perception is not validated by any objective criteria such as falling asleep, sleep duration or number of alarm clocks during the night. This makes some researchers say that valerian would not be more effective than a placebo.
  • The only thing the researchers agree on is harmlessness of the plant and the need for better controlled studies. Indeed, the disparity of protocols (dosage of extracts, duration of treatment) could alone explain the variability of the results obtained. Added to this is the heterogeneity of the extracts used. You should know that the root of valerian contains more than 150 chemical compounds the proportions of which vary according to the growing and harvesting conditions and according to the manufacturing processes. Finally, the analysis of the results is complicated by the very nature of insomnia, a sleep disorder multifactorial, difficult to assess and in the treatment of which the placebo effect plays a significant role.

Valerian is rarely used alone. Traditionally, it is often associated with other plants with properties soothing, such as lemon balm or hops. A few tests with this type of preparation have given positive results.

Recently, a clinical trial in around 40 people reported a beneficial effect of valerian (800 mg per day for 8 weeks) in victims of restless legs syndrome. Researchers observed a reduction in symptoms, a improved sleep and a decrease in the drowsiness during the day.
  • Anxiety and nervous agitation. Animal studies suggest that the valerian may act on certain chemical messengers in the brain to reduce stress and anxiety. Some clinical trials have been conducted with people suffering from stress or generalized anxiety disorder, but the results are insufficient and do not allow, for the moment, to validate these effects on humans.
  • Commission E, ESCOP and the World Health Organization recognize the use of valerian to treat nervous restlessness and the anxiety as well as sleeping troubles who as a result.



  • Avoid driving a vehicle or handling dangerous tools within hours of taking valerian, due to its sedative effect.


  • The safety of valerian has not been established without any doubt in children, pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Side effects

  • Almost nonexistent at the recommended doses, the few side effects associated with taking valerian are generally limited to mild and transient gastrointestinal discomfort.
  • Taken in high doses, valerian can cause drowsiness.


With plants or supplements

  • The effects of valerian could be added to those of other sedative plants such as hops, chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, etc.

With medication

  • The effects of valerian could be added to those of benzodiazepines, barbiturates and all hypnotics, sedatives and painkillers.
  • Clinical data on healthy subjects indicate that valerian has little effect on the enzymes involved in drug metabolism, which implies a lack of interaction.

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