Valerian is probably the most known of all calming herbs. It contains many active molecules including valepotriates, sesquiterpenes and a volatile oil containing bornyl derivatives. GABA and some GABA receptor lignans have also been identified.
Many studies reached the conclusion that the whole Valerian extract is more effective than any of its individual parts.
Valerian is probably the best-known of all calming herbs. It has been used since time immemorial for all kinds of nervous conditions. According to some authors, its name comes from the Latin « valere » which means « to feel good, to be healthy.
During the Middle Ages and the Antiquity, Valerian was considered as a panacea. It was used to treat anxiety, nervousness, insomnia, hysteria, depression, headaches, cramps, asthma, coughs, etc. During the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, Valerian was even considered as a perfume! More recently, only its sedative and antispasmodic uses are accepted.
Most people suffer, at one time or another, of nervous problems and/or insomnia. To the stress of modern life, add the reduction of sleeping time (an average of one hour less per night than our ancestors of a hundred years ago) and insomnia and nervous problems reach epidemic heights. Sleeping pills and tranquilizers are widespread but their effects on vigilance and mental acuity discourage their use (and for a very good reason).
Adults and children over 12:
For anxiety and tension: 10 drops 3 times daily.
30 - 50 drops at bedtime.
Children 6 - 12:
For anxiety and tension: 5 drops 3 times daily.
15 - 25 drops at bedtime.
Tincture of organically grown fresh Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) roots, extracted in alcohol. (56% V/V).
Valerian is probably the most known of all calming herbs. It contains many active molecules including valepotriates, sesquiterpenes and a volatile oil containing bornyl derivatives. GABA and some GABA receptor lignans have also been identified.(2) Many studies reached the conclusion that the whole Valerian extract is more effective than any of its individual parts.
Known as a sedative and hypnotic, Valerian is effective against occasional insomnia and anxiety. It is also used for its antispasmodic(1) effect and as supportive therapy for depression.
Valerian’s active ingredients are still the object of debates. In vivo, valepotriates reduce benzodiazepine weaning, link with GABA receptors, etc. Yet, valepotriates are very unstable and degrade under heat and in acid (like the stomach) or alkaline environments. It is however possible that they might act as pro-medications: their degradation products, baldrinal and homobaldrinal, might have some therapeutic effects.(3)
Sesquiterpenes like valerinic acid and kessylglycol have demonstrated a sedative in vivo activity. Moreover, they increase GABA levels, a neurotransmitter with a calming effect on the nervous system.
Whatever its active ingredients, Valerian’s effects on nervousness, anxiety, insomnia and as an antispasmodic have now been proven.
The German Commission E acknowledges its benefits in cases of: restlessness, sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions
A randomized placebo-controlled study conducted on 16 patients yielded significant results on sleep patterns (measured by EEG) as well as on sleep perception by the patients themselves.
A study on 75 patients compared Valerian with a minor prescription tranquilizer, oxazepam (Serax®). Both products were found as effective but, contrary to oxazepam, almost no side effects were reported with Valerian.
Another study conducted on 23 insomniac patients noted that, after a 2 week treatment, 15 patients evaluated the quality of their sleep at 4 or 5 on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being the best score).
Consult a healthcare practitioner if sleeplessness persists continuously for more than 3 weeks (chronic insomnia) or if symptoms persist or worsen. Not recommended to use with alcohol, other drugs or natural health products with sedative properties. Exercise caution if operating heavy machinery or driving a motor vehicle within 2 hours of consumption.
Consult a healthcare practitioner prior to use if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Avoid taking in case of known allergy to any of the ingredients in the product.
Do not use of security cap is broken. Keep out of reach of children.
1 - Dionne JY. Valerian in Herbs: Everyday Reference for Health Professionals. Chandler F et al 2000. CPhA et CMA Ottawa, Ont, Can
2 - Ortiz JG, Nieves-Natal J, Chavez P. Effects of Valeriana officinalis extracts on [3H]flunitrazepam binding, synaptosomal [3H]GABA uptake, and hippocampal [3H]GABA release. Neurochem Res 1999 Nov;24(11):1373-8.
3 - Houghton PJ. The scientific basis for the reputed activity of Valerian. J Pharm Pharmacol 1999 May;51(5):505-12
4 - Donath F, Quispe S, Diefenbach K et al. Critical evaluation of the effect of Valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality. Pharmacopsychiatry 2000 Mar;33(2):47-53
5 - Dorn M. [Efficacy and tolerability of Baldrian versus oxazepam in non-organic and non-psychiatric insomniacs: a randomised, double-blind, clinical, comparative study]. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd 2000 Apr;7(2):79-84
6 - Dominguez RA, Bravo-Valverde RL, Kaplowitz BR, Cott JM. Valerian as a hypnotic for Hispanic patients. Cultur Divers Ethni Minor Psychol 2000 Feb;6(1):84-92
7 - Kuhlmann J, Berger W, Podzuweit H, Schmidt U. The influence of Valerian treatment on "reaction time, alertness and concentration" in volunteers. Pharmacopsychiatry 1999 Nov;32(6):235-41.
8 - Von der Hude W et al. Bacterial mutagenicity of the tranquilizing constituents of Valerianaceae roots. Mutat Res 1986;169(1-2):23-7.
9 - Tufik S, Fujita K, Seabra Md, Lobo LL. Effects of a prolonged administration of valepotriates in rats on the mothers and their offspring. J Ethnopharmacol 1994 Jan;41(1-2):39-44
10 - Natural Medicines Comprehensive DataBase 2001. Pharmacist's Letter 3120 W. March Lane, PO Box 8190, Stockton, CA 95208
11 - The Complete German Commission E Monographs, Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Blumenthal M et al 1998. American Botanical Council, 6200 Manor Rd, Austin, Texas