This fact sheet provides basic information
about the herb plant or part of a plant used
for its flavor, scent, or potential therapeutic
properties. Includes flowers, leaves, bark, fruit,
seeds, stems, and roots. valerian--common
names, uses, potential side effects, and resources
for more information. Valerian is a plant native
to Europe and Asia; it is also found in North America.
Common Names--valerian, all-heal, garden heliotrope
Latin Names--Valeriana officinalis
What It Is Used For
- Valerian has long been used for sleep disorders and anxiety.
- Valerian has also been used for other conditions, such as headaches, depression, irregular heartbeat, and trembling.
How It Is Used
The roots and rhizomes (underground stems) of valerian are typically used to make supplements, including capsules, tablets, and liquid extracts, as well as teas.
What the Science Says
- Research suggests that valerian may be helpful for insomnia, but there is not enough evidence from well-designed studies to confirm this.
- There is not enough scientific evidence to determine whether valerian works for anxiety or for other conditions, such as depression and headaches.
- NCCAM is funding a study to look at the effects of valerian on sleep in healthy older adults and in people with Parkinson's disease.
Side Effects and Cautions
- Studies suggest that valerian is generally safe to use for short periods of time (for example, 4 to 6 weeks).
- No information is available about the long-term safety of valerian.
- Valerian can cause mild side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, upset stomach, and tiredness the morning after its use.
- Tell your health care providers about any herb or dietary supplementA product that contains vitamins, minerals, herbs or other botanicals, amino acids, enzymes, and/or other ingredients intended to supplement the diet. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has special labeling requirements for dietary supplements and treats them as foods, not drugs. you are using, including valerian. This helps to ensure safe and coordinated care.
Office of Dietary Supplements and National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Questions and Answers About Valerian for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders. Office of Dietary Supplements Web site. Accessed May 3, 2006.
Valerian. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed May 3, 2006.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.). Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed May 3, 2006.
Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis). In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:394-400.
Awang DVC, Leung AY. Valerian. In: Coates P, Blackman M, Cragg G, et al., eds. Encyclopedia of Dietary Supplements. New York, NY: Marcel Dekker; 2005:687-700.
For More Information
Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226
TTY (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers): 1-866-464-3615
CAM on PubMed
Web site: nccam.nih.gov/camonpubmed/
NIH Office of Dietary Supplements
Web site: ods.od.nih.gov
NIH National Library of Medicine's MedlinePlus
Valerian Listing: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-valerian.html
This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.
NCCAM has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your primary health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCAM.