Valerian root is a herbal remedy claimed to make you high, reduce anxiety and insomnia cure. Find out how it works, dosage, more facts, health benefits and uses, side effects, reviews and where to buy.
What is Valerian Root?
Valerian is a perennial flowering plant; the root of the plant is dried and used as a herbal remedy. Valerian plant contains heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom during the summer season and can reach a height of 5 feet.
Valerian has been used in alternative medicine as a possibly effective aid in treating sleep problems and many other issues that you will learn shortly
It is scientifically known as valeriana officinalis. Other names by which it is known include;
- Garden Valerian
- Garden heliotrope
- Fragrant Valerian
- Belgium Valerian
- Common Valerian
Facts about Valerian
- Valerian can survive more than 2 years in the wild because it is a perennial plant
- In the early days, valerian was used as condiment for stews and soups in the past. Essential oils obtained from the leaves and root of valerian are still used for the flavoring of ice-cream and baked goods.
- During the 16th century, valerian flowers were used for the preparation of perfumes.
- Dry valerian roots contain foul smelling substances (odor resembles the smell of stale sweat). Dry root is used for the manufacture of products designed to lure coyotes and to repel deer.
- Valeriana officinalis produces substances that attract cats, rats and mice and hence can be used for the preparation of traps for mice.
- Why the name all-heal? Because this herb is best known for its healing properties. Ancient Greeks have been used it in treatment of nausea, flatulence, urinary tract disorders and insomnia. During the Middle Ages, valerian was used as diuretic and remedy for epilepsy and menstrual and abdominal pain.
- Valerian was popular and often used during the WWII in England to alleviate stress from the constant bombing from the air.
- Roots and rhizome of two-years-old valerian plant are used in treatment of insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, headache, fatigue, persistent cough and bronchial spasms today.
Available forms-Tea, Extract, Capsules/Tablets
Valerian root is available in various forms including;
The tinctures and extracts are either alcohol-based or glycerite-based preparations. The root can be dried and powdered to form tablets and capsules.
Valerian root has a strong, sharp smell that is best coated in capsules or combined with other herbs to improve the flavor. Passion flower, lemon balm, hops and kava may be added.
There is no difference between valerian tea and capsules, as long as, the ingredients and potency are the same per serving or dose. Follow the directions for each form and consult with your healthcare provider for advice before taking the herb.
Valerian Root High/Euphoric Effects
Currently there are many references on the internet, which are both formal and informal which mention about the use of valerian root as a means to promote a mental “high”.
Some reviews of valerian herb extracts suggest that it can cause euphoric moods when taken in large dosages. These references are related to the biochemistry of how valerian acts on gamma-amino-butyric acid (GABA) in the brain which is a pathway that is shared with alcohol and other numerous psychotropic drugs.
However, using valerian to get “high” is not recommended as the large dosages necessary may cause side effects as well as loss of motor control or inhibition control which has been proven to be life threatening, they can also produce some discomfort. The recommended safe use of valerian consists of taking it to promote relaxation and improves sleep.
The interest in valerian for getting “high” arises due to the fact that valerian acts on GABA in the brain and stimulates its release. This is said to be why taking valerian reduces tension and promotes relaxation, even causing light euphoria in some instances.
As a recreational drug, users believe that taking increased amounts of valerian will most likely produce increased effects. The theory has resulted in some people experimenting by taking high doses to achieve a desired result.
The values of such claims are however not only extremely limited, but highly questionable in nature. Throughout history the relaxing effects of valerian root have only been noted as having subtle, calming, relaxing quality. Valerian has never been described or recorded in any way as having ability to alter mood to extremes.
Benefits-Valerian Root for Anxiety, Sleep and Dogs
Valerian root for anxiety
Scientists have found that valerian root increases the amount of a chemical called gamma amino butyric acid in the brain. GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and calms anxiety. Drugs such as alprazolam (xanax) and diazepam (valium) also work by increasing the amount of GABA in the brain. The valerenic and valerenol acids contained in valerian root extract act as anti-anxiety agents.
It is pretty amazing that an herbal remedy like valerian root can have the same anti-anxiety effects of prescription drugs without all the serious side effects of psychotropic drugs.
Valerian root for sleep
Studies show that valerian reduces the time you take to fall asleep and improves quality of sleep, so if you can’t sleep, it may be just an effective remedy that you are looking for. Unlike many prescription sleeping pills, valerian has fewer side effects and it is less likely to result in morning drowsiness.
In one double-blind study conducted by the Foellinge Health Center in Sweden, the effects of valerian on poor sleep were significant. Of the study participants, 44 percent reported perfect sleep while 89% reported improved sleep when taking valerian root. In addition, no side effects were reported for this group.
Valerian root is often combined with other sedating herbs, such as hops (Humulus lupulus) and lemon balm (Melissa officianalis), to treat insomnia. In one study of children with minor sleep problems published in phytomedicine, 81% of those who took an herbal combination of valerian and lemon balm reported sleeping much better than those who took a placebo.
Valerian extract causes sedation by increasing your brain’s GABA level. GABA is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, and when it is consumed in large enough amounts it can cause a sedative effect. Results from a vitro study suggested that valerian extract may cause GABA from being taken back into nerve cells. In addition, valerians valerenic acid inhibits an enzyme that destroys GABA, another way that valerian can improve your GABA levels and promote night’s rest.
Valerian root for dogs and other pets
Valerian root is a popular sedative and anti-anxiety herb for both humans and pets. According to Tilford, animal Herbalist, valerian can be soothing to many dogs especially those with nervous stomachs but it is not suitable for every dog.
Since valerian is considered a hot, warming herb, it is not recommended for dogs that run hot (for instance, itchy dogs hot to the touch with bright-red tongues).
If your dog is undergoing a stressful event or trip, start administering five drops, three to four times a day, of valerian root in tincture form three days before the event [Herbs for pets, Second Edition, by Gregory L. Tilford & Mary L. Wulff]
Other Valerian Root Uses & Benefits
Lowers blood pressure
As discussed earlier valerian root can be effective in calming your mind and body, and therefore it can also help in lowering blood pressure, in other words it can help in improving your heart health. The same active components that make valerian root so effective for stress and anxiety management can also help the body to regulate its blood pressure properly.
High blood pressure is something you can definitely want to avoid since it increases the chances of stroke and heart attack which can be life-threatening. Valerian root supplements can help naturally reduce blood pressure and keep it at a healthy level, which has a positive effect on your heart health.
Helps to treat digestive problems
Although there is little evidence regarding using valerian root to treat digestive problems, traditionally, it has been used to cure stomach disorders. Valerian root has been used by some people as an antispasmodic for cramping caused by menstrual cramps and nerves. In addition, it also helps to treat intestinal cramps, bloating, diarrhea and colic. It can also be used to help in rheumatic pain but there is still no evidence except for the anecdotal.
Improves your heart health
Valerian root aids in maintaining your heart health. It can strengthen your blood vessels and improve it elasticity. Valerian root can also normalize the blood pressure. Considered that one of the major causes of death in the United Kingdom is cardiovascular diseases, this herb can be an effective remedy for many people.
It is a home remedy for palpitations
When you feel anxious and quick heartbeats, you should try valerian root because it may make you calmer and restore your heartbeat. In addition, it also helps in promoting your sleep. You can use valerian tea or take valerian supplements after consulting your doctor. However, pregnant women should avoid using this method.
Treats shin splints
When you use valerian root, it helps in making your muscles to be relaxed. Hence, you will feel less pain fast in your shins. Moreover, valerian root is also a tranquilizer. It makes you feel less affected by pain and calmer. For better results, you should have valerian root regularly.
Helps to treat helpless leg syndrome
People with restless leg syndrome often have difficulties with getting restful sleep and experiencing daytime fatigue. Valerian root can help to relax the leg muscles and aids you in falling asleep faster.
Relaxation is crucial with restless leg syndrome and valerian root is effective for this condition. You should take about 250 to 900 mg of valerian root and you should remember to consult your physician before you use the herb.
Helps to treat vertigo
Valerian root may help to treat vertigo attacks by dealing with anxiety and insomnia. Furthermore, valerian root helps to relieve vertigo attacks quickly.
Prevents hand tremors
Valerian root can cause your nerves to calm, relax and have sound sleeps. In preventing hand tremors you are required to grind the valerian root well and then mix it with water. Wait for about 5 minutes and consume it. Valerian root is effective in managing hand tremors. You can also use lavender or chamomile teas as a remedy for hand tremors.
Helps to treat menopausal symptoms
Valerian root can be effective in treating menopausal symptoms this is according to a study at the School of Pharmacy, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences. In this study, 68 menopausal women took valerian capsules having 225mg of this root 3 times per day within 8 weeks.
The results showed a significant reduction in the condition of hot flashes after 8 weeks. Based on these things, you may try to take 255mg of its capsules 3 times daily to help to reduce the number and severity of hot flashes related to menopause.
Improves stress management
When you reduce anxiety and improving the length and quality of your sleep, valerian root can significantly help with your daily stress management. Chronic stress can make you feel anxious, but anxiety can also make you feel more stressed out.
By improving GABA levels, valerian makes it easier for both your mind and body to relax. Since relaxation is the antithesis of stress, valerian root is an excellent natural way to help keep your stress down and your quality of life up. Valerian root has further been shown to suppress both physical and psychological stress, according to research in BMC complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Helps to alleviate knee pain
Try to use valerian root to relax your knee pain. This herb has been used for centuries and supported human beings in reducing anxiety, stress, tension, irritability, and insomnia. You can therefore use valerian root to relieve knee pain.
Helps to ease migraine and headaches
Valerian root can be used to reduce migraine and headaches related to anxiety and stress due to its soothing and calming effect. You should simply drink 1 cup of this tea. To make this tea, you add 1 valerian tea bag to 1 cup of boiling water and then steep it for 7 minutes.
Eases menstrual cramps and premenstrual syndrome
The relaxing nature of valerian root can make it a smart choice for natural relief of menstrual cramps. It can reduce the severity and discomfort of menstrual cramps, which is a common problem for women who suffer monthly from PMS. Valerian root sedative and antispasmodic, which means it suppresses muscle spasms and acts as a natural muscle relaxer.
Valerian root can effectively calm the severe uterine muscle contractions that cause the terrible pain many women experience during menstruation, as a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study from Islamic Azad University in Iran showed. You should start drinking 1 cup of valerian tea once or twice a day before your periods and this will depend on the level of your cramps.
Helps to treat lower back pain
Valerian root is beneficial to your health because it helps to treat lower back pain. To relieve lower back pain perfectly, you should try to drink 1 cup of valerian tea per day.
Helps to treat Sciatica
Sciatica is pain related to a muscle spasm. Valerian root is an effective remedy in reducing pain because it helps you to reduce pain and keep your muscles relaxed. Valerian root also contains volatile oil that helps to relax your muscles and reduce the tension. In addition, it is an excellent remedy for patients with sleep deprivation.
If you have this condition, you can drink valerian tea to deal alleviate the condition. To make this tea, add one tablespoon of dried valerian root to 1 cup of boiling water. Then, cover it and steep it for 10 minutes. Have several cups of this tea per week for several weeks. Alternatively, you can take its supplement after consulting your doctor.
Valerian root helps in the treatment of ADHD
Valerian works together with your brain to decelerate triggers that may cause hyperactivity and aid in individual concentration. Adults can consume about 300 to 1000mg but for children you should first consult a physician before you give them to consume.
Helps to reduce epilepsy
Valerian root helps to decrease the frequency of seizures occurring in epileptic patients because it contains sedative effects on your nervous system. Using it as an antiepileptic treatment has been supported in several animal studies.
Helps in improvement of memory
The dried valerian root tincture can improve the memory performance and some problem-solving skills in children and adults. According to a research in aged mice, the valerenic acid present in this herb has powerful effects on your memory function.
Helps in treating hyperthyroidism
Sleeplessness is a condition that is common for many patients with hyperthyroidism. When the thyroid gland is overactive, it is not strange that you will suffer from insomnia as a normal result. Not only does this cause the weakness of your health but it also lessens the strength in your daily activities.
Valerian root helps to increase the level of gamma-amino butyric acid in the body which is a neurotransmitter or a healthy chemical used by your nervous sysyte3m in order to direct messages to the brain, thereby calming down the nerves.
Valerian Root Dosage-Sleep, Anxiety, Dogs
What is the right valerian root dosage? How much valerian root extract should one take? What is the right valerian root dosage for sleep, anxiety and depression? How many mg of pills and tablets should one take, or add in valerian root tea? Here’s a determination of the correct dosage of valerian root extract.
Valerian root is used for different purposes. It is a potent herb that dates some centuries back, having been used by our ancestors as an herbal medication for different ailments such as social anxiety, depression, lack of sleep (insomnia) etc
Valeriana officinalis, a flowering plant that originates from some sections of Asia and native Europe, is commonly used in three different forms. Today, you will find valerian root doses in the form of tincture, capsules or pills and dried roots.
Valerian root dosage will depend on each of these forms, and the reason for taking it. What are you trying to treat? That is the question that you should ask yourself when finding the right dose of valerian extract.
Dosage for Anxiety Treatment
What is the right valerian root dosage for anxiety? People suffering from anxiety may show symptoms of restlessness, lack of sleep at some point during the night, sweat, nausea etc. if you suffer from social anxiety, sometimes called social phobia, you may exhibit symptoms such as dizziness, hot flashes and sweating, a racing heart, stomach butterflies, blushing or a red face etc. When this is the case, valerian root has been used as a home remedy for anxiety.
But just what amount or how much valerian root extract should you take to treat anxiety? Different sources may give different dose recommendations for valerian to treat anxiety. However, note the following:
- The valerian root dosage for anxiety is normally decided by considering the patient’s condition.
- There is not such standard measure or what may be termed as the right dose to take to treat or relieve anxiety.
- If you are consuming tablets, capsules or pills of valerian extract, your daily dosage is likely to be between 300 mg and 500 mg according to some sources.
Valerian root tea dosage is also good for treating insomnia and anxiety, but you might take just a cup or two a day for anxiety. In brief, the whole question of the right dose of valerian root does not have a straight answer. If you suffer from anxiety and are looking for a treatment, try small doses as you increase until you find the right dose for your condition.
Dosage Sleep or Insomnia
What is the right valerian root dosage for insomnia? Does valerian help sleep disorders? Suffering from insomnia can cause poor productivity during the day. People who do not get enough continuous sleep during the night might suffer from bouts of lack of concentration, fatigue and tiredness during the day. With the right valerian root dosage for sleep, you can have enough sleep and improve your health.
and help patients sleep soundly. If you suffer from symptoms such as the following, you may take a good dose of valerian root to help cure them and get quality sleep.
- Staying awake for long bouts during the night, despite lying on the bed
- Feeling tired even after some sleep
- Inability to concentrate and function properly during the day
- Difficulty going back to sleep when you wake up during the night
- Intermittent sleep pattern
With any of these symptoms, you are definitely suffering from insomnia. The right dosage of valerian root, you can alleviate these symptoms. According to LiveStrong, “People who struggle with insomnia can take between 400 milligrams and 900 milligrams valerian root extract daily.” However, it is advised that you do not consume this herbal medication for 28 back to back days.
Valerian Root Pills Dosage – Extract Capsules & Tablets
Most people prefer going for a valerian root capsules dosage. The reason for this is that the capsules, pills or tablets are fast acting and produce the best results for anxiety, depression and other ailments that the root is used to treat.
So, what is the right dosage when you are taking pills, tablets and capsules? There is not so much uniformity on the right dosage when taking capsules, pills and tablets of valerian root. Since they act fast and more effectively, most people rely on experimenting to find the right valerian root extract dosage.
For adults, taking slightly above 500 mg is fine. However, start with small amounts slightly below 300 mg as you find the right valerian root pills dosage for your specific problem of insomnia, anxiety or depression.
Dosage for Dogs
How much valerian root should I give my dog? What is the right valerian root dosage for dogs and pets with anxiety?
It is a fact that the right dosage for dogs may take the pattern of that of human beings in the correct ratios. The right dosage for young pets and adult pets is not the same.
Since valerian root is a safe and one of the effective herbs used to treat dog anxiety, you should ensure that you give the right dose to your pet to avoid side effects that may be undesirable. “Dosages of 3mg can be used for dogs up to 50lbs: [Schnauzerama.org].
The same website advises the following: “Valerian can be dosed at 4mg/lb for use with anxiety problems in the powder form, or 1/4 human dose for small dogs, 1/2 dose for medium, and full dose for large dogs when using the liquid tincture.” Always follow the label instructions when treating your dog.
If you are not sure, your vet should be able to guide you on the right dosage of valerian for dogs with separation anxiety.
Maximum Valerian Root High Dose in Mg
Most medicine doses are given in Mg or milligrams. The right valerian root dose in mg depends on the purpose of using it, and several other factors such as weight in dogs, age in human beings and so on.
Therefore, it is important to see your doctor or read the prescription label to determine the valerian root high dosage in mg. Generally, a higher dose would be approximately 900 mg, which is then considered harmful and dangerous.
It might trigger some side effects that may need serious medical attention. Though it is a home remedy for sleeping disorders and anxiety, ensure you are on the right valerian root dosage.
Valerian Root Reviews-Sleep, Anxiety, Dogs
According to many opinions, it is strong enough to help you relax and at the same time mild enough to keep you feeling invigorated the following day.
Most user comments and reviews of valerian root tea, extracts, pills and other supplements say that it works well to treat the various ailments when used in as intended – in the right dosage. There are three different ways of applying this home remedy for insomnia, anxiety and depression. These are:
- Pills or tablets or capsules of valerian
- Valerian root tea
So, which one of these is the best method to take the herbal remedy? According to many user comments and reviews, different methods are best for different purposes. For instance, valerian root tea is reviewed as a good remedy for mild anxiety, tiredness and lack of sleep. Below is a collection of some of the best valerian root reviews to help you understand what to expect when you take its tea, capsules or pills.
Valerian Root for Anxiety Reviews
Social anxiety can be embarrassing. Valerian root for anxiety reviews show that most people who suffer from the problem of nervousness and anxiety get to calm down fast and easily when they take the right dose of the herbal remedy.
This herb has a relaxing effect on the nervous system. Therefore, when you take it, it will calm you down and promote relaxation. This remedy is good for people who lead a hectic lifestyle that makes them anxious most of the time, or those young adults who have a problem of social anxiety. So, what do reviews of valerian uses for anxiety say?
- “It takes time to build in your system. Once it is a regular part of your day your anxiety is calmed.” [drugstore.com]
- “This works very well, helps with anxiety the following day also. I would recommend using on an “as needed” basis because I starting building a tolerance after a while.” [Amazon.co.uk]
Valerian Root for Sleep Reviews
One of the primary uses of this medicinal herb is to help sleeping disorders. If you have a problem sleeping at night, valerian root for sleep reviews will help you find a possible home remedy that will sedate you to sleep soundly.
- Did You Know: About 65 million people in the United States alone suffer from insomnia every year!
Valerian has compounds that are sedative in nature. It is therefore recommended for people with insomnia or mild sleep disorders. The root can relax muscles and the whole body, helping you sleep soundly and effectively.
Most valerian root for sleep profiles recommend using this as a home remedy for insomnia and other symptoms of sleep disorders. One remarkable comment by Sylvia Anderson of Insider Health goes:
- “Valerian Root does not have the troublesome side effects that accompany the majority of over-the-counter and prescription sleep aids.”
Valerian Root for Dogs Reviews
Valerian root is normally recommended as an herbal remedy for dogs, cats, horses, and other pets. Being a relaxant, you expect it to help your dog and other pets to relax especially if they are suffering from anxiety, such as pet separation anxiety.
Dorwest Scullcap & Valerian Tablets for Dogs and Cats are some of the commercial pills containing this herbal treatment that you can give your dogs and other pets to help them calm down, especially if they are suffering from excitability.
Some people who have used Sundown Valerian Root 530 mg commented on Amazon saying that they can also use them for their pets – dogs specifically.
- “The hidden benefits is that I use it for my dogs!” [Amazon Review]
- “…calm and relax dogs and cats suffering from excitability, apprehension, hyperactivity and phobias, such as those from fireworks, thunderstorms or gunfire.” [Dorwest.com]
Therefore, if you have dogs suffering from epilepsy, travel anxiety, nervousness and extreme anxiety, these valerian root for dogs reviews should help you try it as a remedy for calming your pet.
Brands, Tea, Extract Reviews
Radiance Valerian Root Reviews
Radiance valerian root is one of the brands of the herb, also called Calming Valerian Complex because it contains other ingredients such as vitamin C for detox. It also contains Vegetable Cellulose according to its profile and many radiance valerian root reviews.
At CVS, radiance valerian calming complex costs about $5. I found only one review on CVS, which is not from a so-happy customer who complains in his title, “this product does not do nothing.”
Valerian Root Tea Reviews
Valerian root tea has anxiolytic and sedative effects. According to Wikipedia it was used as early as the sixteenth century where “the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed valerian tea for a sick woman.” Then, the medicinal properties of the root extract had been discovered although there were no capsules or tablets developed.
Alvita Organic Valerian Root Tea is one of the commonly used brands of valerian tea bags. There are many customer recommendations for this brand of tea and its recipe.
- A customer on eVitamins recommends the tea in her review, saying, “I purchased the tea and have been using it for almost a month now. I love the tea and enjoy my nightly cup. It does help me to relax and that is a plus in my book!”
- “Valerian Root Tea is a great anxiety and stress relieving tea. I have two boxes ready for any panic attack I might get. The taste for this tea might have to be acquired, but the benefits are well worth it.” [SallyRose – eVitamins]
Across the web, valerian root tea is very popular, and its reviews and recommendations are overwhelming. However, it is important to note that a few negative reviews of the tea may indicate side effects especially when a user consumed the tea for prolonged periods, or took too much of the tea in one session. See our article on possible side effects for taking too much valerian root tea.
Valerian Root Extract Reviews
Is valerian root liquid extract more effective? What do valerian root extract reviews say? Extracts are simply more refined and more concentrated forms of the herb compared to when you take it raw or unprocessed.
So, which one is effective? According to reviews, it is easy to determine the amount of the valerian root you will be taking when you go for extracts. In a nutshell, the advantage of the extract is that you will be able to control your valerian root dosage easily compared to when you make raw valerian root tea without any measure or dosage. It is easier to prevent an overdose, which may come with undesirable side effects.
Valerian Root Side Effects & Interactions
It is not certain whether valerian is effective in treating most of the above conditions. Medicinal use of this product has not been approved by the FDA. Valerian should not be used in place of medication prescribed for you by your doctor.
Valerian is often sold as a herbal supplement. There are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for many herbal compounds and some marketed supplements have been found to be contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.
Side Effects/Dangers & Safety
You should get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of allergic reaction: hives; difficulty in breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat. Although not all side effects are known, valerian is thought to be possibly safe when taken for a short period of time which is 4 to 8 weeks.
You should stop using valerian and call your doctor at once if you have the following:
- Liver problems-nausea, upper stomach pain, itching, tired feeling, loss of appetite, dark urine, clay colored stools, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes).
Other common side effects may include:
- Upset stomach
- Thinking problems
- Dry mouth
- Feeling excited or uneasy
- Strange dreams
- Daytime drowsiness
Valerian might have additive therapeutic and adverse effects if taken with sedatives, other medications, or certain herbs and dietary supplements with sedative properties These include the following:
Benzodiazepines such as Xanax®, Valium®, Ativan®, and Halcion®.
Barbiturates or central nervous system (CNS) depressants such as phenobarbital (Luminal®), morphine, and propofol (Diprivan®).
Dietary supplements such as St. John’s wort, kava, and melatonin.
Individuals taking these medications or supplements should discuss the use of valerian with their healthcare providers.
Although valerian has not been reported to influence laboratory tests, this has not been rigorously studied
Where to Buy Valerian Root
You can get root in local drug store near you. You can also decide to grow it then use either the flowers or roots. Follow this guide: How to grow valerian plant
You can also purchase valerian roots in bulk or get capsules, pills or tincture online. Some of the most common online stores from which you get it include;