Valerian

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valacyclovir (VAL-uh-SY-kloh-veer) is a substance that is being studied in the prevention of fungal, bacterial, and viral infections in patients undergoing donor stem cell transplantation with cells that are infected with cytomegalovirus. Valerian is widely used in herbal medicine for insomnia, anxiety and digestive and urinary problems.

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Garden valarian

Other names

Common Names: valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope

Latin Names: Valeriana officinalis

Background

  • Valerian is a plant native to Europe and Asia; it also grows in North America.
  • Valerian has been used medicinally since the times of early Greece and Rome; Hippocrates wrote about its uses. Historically, valerian was used to treat nervousness, trembling, headaches, and heart palpitations.
  • Today, valerian is used as a dietary supplement for insomnia, anxiety, and other conditions such as depression and menopause symptoms.
  • The roots and rhizomes (underground stems) of valerian are used to make capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts, as well as teas. 

Liver safety of Valerian

Valerian has been linked to rare instances of clinically apparent liver injury.

Valerian root
Valerian root

History

Valerian (va ler' ee an) is the common name of the plant genus Valeriana, several species of which are used in herbal medicine, most typically Valeriana officinalis.  Valerian has been used for centuries in Europe, usually for digestive and urinary problems.  The name valerian derives from the Latin word valere, which means “to be in good health.”  Valerian is claimed to have sedative, hypnotic, anxiolytic, anticonvulsant, antispasmotic and antidepressant activities.  Presently, it is used most commonly as a sleeping aid and for therapy of stress. 

Mechanism of action of Valerian

The basis for its sedative effects is believed to be valepotriates (which are terpene alcohols) and volatile oils (including monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes).  Components of valerian are believed to interact with the gamma amino butyric acid (GABA) receptor in a manner similar to the benzodiazepines. 

Dosage and administration for Valerian

The typical dosage of valerian is 300 to 600 mg at bedtime for sleep or taken 3 times daily for stress.  Valerian is found in many relaxation drinks. 

Side effects of Valerian

Valerian has few side effects, which are mostly mild and transient and include sedation, dizziness and withdrawal symptoms on stopping.

Valerian roots
Valerian roots

Evidence

  • Knowledge about valerian is limited because there have been only a small number of high-quality studies in people.
  • The evidence on whether valerian is helpful for sleep problems is inconsistent.
  • There’s not enough evidence to allow any conclusions about whether valerian can relieve anxiety, depression, or menopausal symptoms.

Safety of valerian

  • Studies suggest that valerian is generally safe for use by most healthy adults for short periods of time.
  • No information is available about the long-term safety of valerian or its safety in children younger than age 3, pregnant women, or nursing mothers.
  • Few side effects have been reported in studies of valerian. Those that have occurred include headache, dizziness, itching, and digestive disturbances.
  • Because it is possible (though not proven) that valerian might have a sleep-inducing effect, it should not be taken along with alcohol or sedatives.


Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements

Comprehensive list of common dietary supplements with detailed product information including brand name, how it is supplied, net contents, product ID etc, sorted alphabetically.

List of dietary supplements sorted alphabetically

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Dietary supplements

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Herbal and dietary supplements

Chinese and Other Asian Herbal Medicines

Multi-Ingredient Nutritional Supplements

See also Nutritional supplements

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