Valerian: Everything You Need to Know About It

Valerian, scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis, is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and parts of Asia. Its fragrant pink or white flowers and sweet, earthy scent have earned it a place in gardens around the world. However, it’s the root of Valerian that has been cherished for its remarkable medicinal properties.

Historical Roots

Valerian’s use in traditional medicine dates back to ancient Greece and Rome. It was highly regarded for its calming effects and was often prescribed as a remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and nervousness. The name “Valerian” itself is derived from the Latin word “valere,” meaning “to be strong or healthy,” highlighting its association with well-being.

Cultural Significance

Valerian has a unique cultural significance in various regions. In medieval Europe, it was considered a protective herb against malevolent forces and was often placed under pillows to ward off nightmares. In the Far East, particularly in China, Valerian was used to balance the body’s energy and promote harmony.

Spiritual and Ceremonial Significance

Throughout history, Valerian has held a place of reverence in spiritual and ceremonial practices. Here are some of the ways in which this herb has been spiritually significant:

Dream Enhancement: Valerian’s association with vivid dreams and its calming effects have led to its use in dream enhancement rituals. Some individuals believe that consuming Valerian before sleep can lead to more profound and meaningful dreams.

Protection and Purification: In some cultures, Valerian was believed to possess protective qualities. It was used in rituals to cleanse and purify spaces, offering a sense of security and well-being.

 Meditation and Mindfulness: Valerian’s calming properties made it a valuable aid for meditation and mindfulness practices. It was often burned as incense or infused into teas to create a tranquil atmosphere conducive to inner reflection.

Relaxation and Stress Relief: Valerian’s ability to induce relaxation and alleviate stress made it a preferred herb in ceremonies designed to promote emotional well-being and inner peace.

While Valerian’s spiritual significance may vary from culture to culture, its universal appeal lies in its ability to promote a sense of tranquility and serenity. It continues to be a valuable tool for those seeking a deeper connection with their inner selves and the world around them.

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Valerian Main Benefits

Valerian’s fame as a medicinal herb is well-deserved, and its range of therapeutic benefits spans various aspects of health and well-being. Let’s explore the multitude of ways in which Valerian can be a potent natural remedy.

Sleep Aid: Valerian is perhaps best known for its sleep-inducing properties. It has been used for centuries to address sleep disorders, particularly insomnia. The herb can help improve sleep quality, reduce the time it takes to fall asleep and decrease nighttime awakenings.

Anxiety and Stress Reduction: Valerian’s calming effects extend beyond sleep. It is a valuable ally for those dealing with anxiety and stress. By promoting relaxation and reducing nervous tension, it can offer relief from the daily pressures of modern life.

Mood Enhancement: Valerian is known to have a positive impact on mood. It may help alleviate symptoms of mild depression and promote a more optimistic outlook on life.

Muscle Relaxation: The muscle-relaxant properties of Valerian make it useful for easing muscle tension, cramps, and discomfort. This can be particularly beneficial for individuals with physical stress or muscle-related issues.

Menstrual Discomfort: For women experiencing menstrual cramps and discomfort, Valerian can provide relief. It helps relax the uterine muscles and reduce pain.

Digestive Calm: Valerian has been used to soothe digestive issues, including indigestion and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It can help ease digestive spasms and discomfort.

Attention and Focus: In some cases, Valerian’s calming effects may enhance concentration and mental focus. It can be a valuable tool for individuals seeking to improve attention without the side effects of stimulants.

Migraine Relief: Some people find relief from migraines and tension headaches with Valerian due to its muscle-relaxant and calming properties.

Blood Pressure Regulation: Valerian may have a modest impact on blood pressure by promoting relaxation and reducing stress. It can be a complementary approach for those with mild hypertension.

Anti-Inflammatory Potential: Emerging research suggests that Valerian may possess anti-inflammatory properties, although further studies are needed to fully understand this aspect of its therapeutic potential.

It’s important to note that individual responses to Valerian may vary. While many people experience significant benefits, others may have a more subtle response. The effectiveness of Valerian can also be influenced by factors such as dosage, the form in which it is consumed, and the individual’s unique physiology.

valerian benefits

Complementing Herbs

Valerian, with its calming and soothing properties, pairs exceptionally well with several other herbs, catering to a range of health needs. Let’s explore the herbs that complement Valerian’s therapeutic potential:

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata): Passionflower is renowned for its calming and anxiety-reducing effects. When combined with Valerian, it can enhance the herb’s ability to alleviate stress and promote relaxation. This blend is especially valuable for those dealing with anxiety disorders.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis): Lemon Balm is a gentle herb with mood-enhancing and relaxing properties. Pairing it with Valerian can create a well-rounded formula for addressing insomnia, anxiety, and mood imbalances. This combination is ideal for promoting a sense of calm and emotional well-being.

Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla): Chamomile is celebrated for its soothing qualities and its ability to ease digestive discomfort. When used alongside Valerian, it can provide comprehensive support for relaxation and digestive well-being. This blend is valuable for those with gastrointestinal issues aggravated by stress.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Lavender is widely recognized for its calming aroma and its potential to reduce anxiety and stress. Combining it with Valerian can create a harmonious blend that promotes relaxation, better sleep, and emotional balance. This combination is ideal for individuals seeking a holistic approach to well-being.

Skullcap (Scutellaria lateriflora): Skullcap is an herb known for its tranquilizing properties and its ability to ease nervous tension. When paired with Valerian, it can enhance the herb’s effectiveness in addressing anxiety, insomnia, and muscle-related tension. This blend is valuable for those seeking comprehensive relaxation.

Hops (Humulus lupulus): Hops is commonly used to improve sleep quality and reduce restlessness. Combining it with Valerian can create a robust formula for addressing sleep disorders and restlessness. This combination is valuable for individuals dealing with insomnia.

Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera): Ashwagandha is an adaptogenic herb known for its stress-reducing and mood-balancing properties. When used alongside Valerian, it can create a holistic approach to emotional well-being. This blend is valuable for individuals dealing with chronic stress and mood imbalances.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum): St. John’s Wort is recognized for its potential to alleviate mild to moderate depression. Combining it with Valerian can enhance the herb’s mood-balancing effects, creating a comprehensive approach to emotional well-being. This blend is valuable for individuals seeking natural alternatives for mood support.

Creating Herbal Blends:

When creating herbal blends with Valerian, it’s essential to consider your specific health goals and tailor the combination to your needs. Here are some tips:

  • Consultation: If you’re new to herbal medicine or have specific health concerns, consult with a qualified herbalist or healthcare professional for guidance on creating the right blend.
  • Dosage: Pay attention to the recommended dosages for each herb in your blend to ensure that you’re using the correct proportions for your desired effects.
  • Quality Matters: Choose high-quality herbs from reputable sources to ensure safety and effectiveness.
  • Monitoring: Keep track of your health and any changes you experience while using herbal blends. Adjust your blend as needed to suit your evolving needs.

By exploring the synergy between different herbs and customizing your herbal regimen to your unique health goals, you can maximize the potential benefits of herbal combinations.

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Side Effects, Precautions & Drug Interaction

Valerian, with its multitude of therapeutic benefits, is generally considered safe for most individuals when used as directed. However, like any herbal remedy, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects, precautions, and interactions with medications. This knowledge will help you use Valerian safely to support your well-being.

Side Effects and Precautions

  • Drowsiness: Valerian’s calming effect can cause drowsiness, especially when taken in larger doses. It’s advisable not to operate heavy machinery or engage in activities requiring mental alertness after consuming Valerian.
  • Gastrointestinal Distress: In some cases, Valerian may cause mild gastrointestinal discomfort, including stomach upset or nausea. Reducing the dosage or discontinuing use can alleviate these symptoms.
  • Dry Mouth: Valerian may lead to a dry mouth or a metallic taste in some individuals. Staying well-hydrated can help mitigate this side effect.
  • Paradoxical Reactions: Rarely, Valerian can have paradoxical effects, causing restlessness and heightened anxiety instead of relaxation. If this occurs, discontinue use.
  • Allergic Reactions: While uncommon, some people may be allergic to Valerian. If you experience symptoms such as itching, swelling, or hives, discontinue use and seek medical attention.
  • Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Valerian’s safety during pregnancy and breastfeeding has not been conclusively established. It’s advisable for pregnant or nursing women to consult with a healthcare provider before using Valerian supplements.
  • Children: Valerian is generally not recommended for children under 3 years old. For older children, consult with a healthcare provider before use.
  • Liver Concerns: Although rare, there have been isolated reports of liver-related issues associated with Valerian use. If you have liver problems, consult with a healthcare provider before using Valerian.

Drug Interactions

Valerian can interact with certain medications, affecting their efficacy or potentially causing adverse effects. Be cautious when using Valerian alongside the following medications:

  • Sedatives and Sleep Medications: Valerian may potentiate the effects of sedative medications, potentially leading to excessive drowsiness. Avoid combining Valerian with prescription sleep aids or sedatives without consulting a healthcare provider.
  • Alcohol: Combining Valerian with alcohol can enhance sedation. It’s advisable to avoid alcohol when using Valerian.
  • Anxiety Medications: Valerian may interact with medications prescribed for anxiety, potentially increasing their effects. Consult with a healthcare provider if you’re taking such medications.
  • Antidepressants: Valerian’s mood-enhancing properties may interact with antidepressant medications. Discuss the use of Valerian with your healthcare provider if you’re on antidepressants.
  • Anticonvulsants: Valerian may potentially interact with anticonvulsant medications. If you’re using anticonvulsants, consult with a healthcare provider before incorporating Valerian into your regimen.
  • Antihistamines: Valerian’s sedative effects can be enhanced when combined with antihistamines. Avoid combining Valerian with antihistamines without consulting a healthcare provider.
  • Blood Pressure Medications: Valerian may influence blood pressure. If you’re taking medications for hypertension, consult with a healthcare provider to monitor your blood pressure and adjust your medication as necessary.
  • Mental Health Medications: Valerian’s potential effects on mood and anxiety may interact with certain mental health medications. Consult with a healthcare provider if you’re on such medications.

It’s important to note that while these interactions are possible, they may not occur for everyone. If you have specific health concerns, consult with a qualified healthcare provider before using Valerian supplements. They can provide personalized guidance and help you make the most of Valerian’s remarkable health benefits while minimizing potential risks.

Valerian Dosage and Available Forms

Valerian offers a range of dosage options and forms for consumption, allowing you to choose the most suitable approach based on your health needs and lifestyle. Here’s a comprehensive guide to understanding Valerian dosage and its various forms:

Valerian Dosage

The appropriate dosage of Valerian can vary depending on several factors, including the individual, the intended use, and the form in which it is taken. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Dried Valerian Root: If using dried Valerian root to make tea, the typical dosage is 2-3 grams of dried root steeped in hot water, consumed up to three times per day. Start with a lower dose and adjust based on your response.
  • Valerian Capsules or Tablets: Valerian supplements are available in the form of capsules or tablets. Follow the recommended dosage on the product label. Typically, this can range from 300-600 milligrams taken one to three times per day. The dosage may vary based on the concentration of Valerian extract.
  • Valerian Tinctures: Tinctures are concentrated liquid extracts of Valerian. Dosages can vary, so it’s essential to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations. Tinctures are often diluted in water or juice before consumption.
  • Valerian Liquid Extract: Liquid extracts of Valerian are also available. Follow the dosing instructions provided on the product label. This form allows for easy adjustment of the dosage based on your needs.
  • Valerian Tea: Valerian tea can be found in tea bags. Follow the brewing instructions on the tea packaging. Typically, a cup of Valerian tea can be consumed up to three times per day, based on the desired effect.

Individual Response

Keep in mind that Valerian’s effectiveness can vary from person to person. Some individuals may experience significant benefits with lower dosages, while others may require higher amounts to achieve the desired results. It’s essential to pay attention to your body’s response and adjust the dosage accordingly.

Sleep Support

For those using Valerian as a sleep aid, it’s generally recommended to take it 30 minutes to two hours before bedtime. Start with a lower dosage, and if necessary, gradually increase it until you achieve the desired sleep-promoting effects.

Valerian Forms

Valerian is available in various forms, making it versatile for different preferences and lifestyles:

  • Dried Valerian Root: The dried root can be used to make Valerian tea. It’s an excellent option if you enjoy the process of brewing herbal teas.
  • Capsules and Tablets: Valerian supplements in capsule or tablet form offer convenience and consistent dosing. These are an excellent choice for those seeking precise dosages.
  • Tinctures: Valerian tinctures are liquid extracts that offer flexibility in dosing. They can be added to water or other beverages for consumption.
  • Liquid Extracts: Liquid extracts of Valerian provide another option for easy consumption and dosage adjustment.
  • Valerian Tea Bags: Valerian tea bags offer a simple way to enjoy the herb’s benefits in the form of a soothing beverage.

Quality Matters

To ensure safety and effectiveness, choose high-quality Valerian products from reputable sources. Check the product label for information on the concentration of Valerian extract and follow the recommended dosage provided.

Consult with a Healthcare Provider

If you have specific health concerns, are taking medications, or are pregnant or nursing, it’s advisable to consult with a qualified healthcare provider or herbalist before using Valerian supplements. They can provide personalized guidance on the dosage and form that best suits your needs.

By understanding the various forms and dosages of Valerian, you can make informed decisions about how to incorporate this remarkable herb into your daily health regimen. Whether as a soothing tea, a convenient capsule, or a customized tincture, Valerian offers a range of options to support your well-being.

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Valerian, often referred to as “Nature’s Valium,” has a rich history of use in traditional medicine for its remarkable soothing properties. This versatile herb has been cherished for its ability to promote relaxation, alleviate stress, and improve sleep quality. As we conclude our exploration of Valerian, let’s recap the key takeaways and the potential of this herb as a natural remedy for enhanced well-being.

Key Takeaways:

  • Valerian Origins: Valerian, scientifically known as Valeriana officinalis, has been used for centuries in traditional medicine, dating back to ancient Greece and Rome. Its name reflects its association with well-being.
  • Spiritual and Ceremonial Significance: Valerian has held a place of reverence in various cultures for its calming and mood-enhancing effects. It has been used in dream enhancement, protection rituals, and meditation practices.
  • Medicinal Benefits: Valerian offers a wide range of medicinal benefits, including improving sleep quality, reducing anxiety and stress, enhancing mood, and easing muscle tension and menstrual discomfort.
  • Herbs That Work Well with Valerian: Valerian combines synergistically with herbs like passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, and lavender, creating potent blends for relaxation and well-being.
  • Side Effects and Precautions: While generally safe, Valerian can cause drowsiness, mild gastrointestinal discomfort, and dry mouth in some individuals. It’s essential to be aware of potential interactions with medications and take precautions accordingly.
  • Valerian Dosage and Forms: Valerian is available in various forms, including dried root, capsules, tinctures, liquid extracts, and tea bags. Dosage can vary based on the form and individual response.

The Potential of Valerian:

Valerian is a versatile herbal remedy that offers a gentle and natural approach to promoting relaxation and overall health. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful night’s sleep, relief from anxiety and stress, or a mood boost, Valerian can be a valuable addition to your wellness regimen. Its compatibility with other herbs allows you to customize your approach to meet your specific health goals.

Remember that individual responses to Valerian can vary, so it’s important to monitor your body’s reactions and adjust your dosage as needed. If you have specific health concerns, consult with a qualified healthcare provider or herbalist for personalized guidance.

Questions About Valerian

Unlocking Valerian’s Secrets: A Comprehensive 50 Q&A Guide

Article Sources

At AncientHerbsWisdom, our content relies on reputable sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to substantiate the information presented in our articles. Our primary objective is to ensure our content is thoroughly fact-checked, maintaining a commitment to accuracy, reliability, and trustworthiness.

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