Valerian Root: Herbal Sedative for Sleep & Anxiety

Valerian Root is one of the most popularly used herbal supplements, most noted for inducing mild tranquilizing effects, it is commonly used as a sleep aid and to promote relaxation and stress relief.

Type: Herbal Supplement
Used For: Mood Enhancement, Stress Relief, Anxiety, Relaxation, Alertness, Focus, Depression, Insomnia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Migraines, Premenstrual Cramps
Typical Dosage: 300 mg-900 mg per day
Some Possible Drug Interactions: Xanax, Alcohol, CNS DepressantsBenzodiazepines, Cytochrome P450 3A4 substrates
Supplement Interactions: May interact with supplements that have sedative properties

What is Valerian Root?


Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis is a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia and used as a medicinal herb. The root is either made into juice or powder.

It has been around since the second century A.D and was used to alleviate anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. It became very popular and commonly used in Europe since the 17th century.

Valerian Root Benefits & UsesToday, Germany’s Commission E has approved Valerian as an effective mild sedative and in the USA it’s listed as GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) by the FDA.

This herbal sedative has a large amount of positive reviews online on the use and benefits, helping users sleep by providing a sense of calm relaxation and making them less anxious.

The effects of it may vary depending on the person. Our systems don’t all react the same way and in the case of Valerian this stands true.

In history, evidence believed, that the root of this plant aided in many ailments including stomach aches, PMS, hot flashes, insomnia and mild anxiety.

Some research suggests that it may take a few weeks to work effectively. Also combining it with other herbs that promote drowsiness including lemon balm or hops may enable it to work faster.

Valerian is widely used as an alternative to sleeping medications and is considered generally safe. Also, there is no evidence thus far that it causes dependency.

Valerian Root Side Effects


Most reported side effects have been based more on personal experience rather than research. Commonly, this has been due to taking large dosages. Some reported side effects have been;

  • drowsiness
  • stomach aches
  • sluggishness
  • agitation

Commonly, studies suggest there have been no serious side effects related to Valerian root when used over a 28 day period. Long-term use is still unknown.

It is not recommended for pregnant or breast feeding women or if taking other medications that induce drowsiness.

There have been other reported concerns regarding day after “hangovers” when taking large doses the prior day. There have been no reported allergic reactions, at least from our research thus far.

Like all supplements, if you have any concerns or questions, please speak to your doctor first.

Valerian Root Dosage


There is a wide range of Valerian products available in different forms. It is suggested to look for the highest concentration of the natural root extract of this plant as it contains the majority of the active ingredients.

It is also thought that the liquid or dry leaf forms of Valerian can be eventually toxic when not used for an extensive period of time.

When starting on any new Nootropic, it is always recommended to take the lowest dose possible to be able to gauge your body’s effect and see what works best for  you.

The most optimal time to take it is about an hour or two before going to bed.

The dosages can vary but it is suggested to be between 400mg to 900mg in regards to powder form or capsules to help you sleep.

During the day, if you are taking this supplement to reduce mild anxiety, the recommended dosage is 400mg once or twice daily.

Take precaution when using this during the day if you are taking other supplements as it may cause extreme drowsiness.

Also, if you want to stop taking Valerian, it is suggested to lower your dosage gradually as opposed to stopping it completely.

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