Regular use of valerian root promotes deep relaxation and sleep.



Unlike many other natural herbal sleep aids, to gain the benefits of the effects of valerian root it is necessary to use it on a regular basis, with the full effects coming to fruition slowly and steadily over time. It should be used for about one month to produce results.

Regular use of valerian root promotes deep relaxation and sleep.

Studies suggest that valerian is by far the best natural solution for insomnia and general sleeplessness for most individuals.

Research by P.D. Leatherwood, Ph.D., and F. Chauffard, Ph.D., at Nestle Research Laboratories in Switzerland, determined that a 450 mg dose of valerian in an aqueous extract is the optimum dose as an insomnia treatment.

A higher dose typically results in grogginess without increasing effectiveness, and therefore care should be taken when administering valerian as a treatment for insomnia.

Furthermore, in 1982 Leatherwood and colleagues performed a double-blind crossover study of 128 subjects, which found valerian root to not only be effective as a sedative for insomnia, but also effective in improving the overall quality of sleep in test subjects.

The effects of valerian on the body are similar to that of benzodiazepine, an active ingredient in Valium, but without dulling effects or next-day lethargy (it has been suggested that Valium’s name was inspired by valerian, although the two are completely different chemically and should not be confused as being the same or even related).

Valerian is commonly prescribed as a calming sleep aid and widely recommended for treating anxiety-related sleep problems.

Unlike other commonly prescribed sleep medication, it is entirely nontoxic, does not impair the ability to drive or operate heavy machinery, nor does it exaggerate the effects of alcohol.

It has been documented that valerian can act as a delayed stimulant for some individuals depending on body chemistry.

In the case of certain metabolic conditions, the effect is one of initially calming them down only to cause a surge of energy several hours later - not an effect desired by those interested in using valerian as a nighttime sleeping remedy.

Some professional herbalists suggest taking fresh valerian root extract as opposed to extract from dried valerian, as it is less likely to cause such a reaction.

What is Valerian? In the wild, Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) is found in high pastures and dry heath land. It flowers in late spring.

The principle components used for medicinal purposes are the roots and rhizomes, which are typically harvested in September and then dried to produce the commonly available herbal product.

Valerian is also known by various folk names: All-Heal, Amantilla, Bloody Butcher, Capon's Trailer, Cat's Valerian, English Valerian, Fragrant Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Phu, Red Valerian, St. George's Herb, Sets Wale, Set Well, and Vandal Root.

Back to Aromatherapy