Valerian Herb: definition, benefit, usage, side effects

The scientific name of valerian is Valeriana officinalis. It is a herb which has been used since ancient times. Valerian has gained popularity in modern wellness practices due to its widely used medicinal properties. Whether you’re looking for better sleep, stress relief, or a natural remedy, it offers a promising solution.
Valerian Herb: definition, benefit, usage, side effects
Table of Contents

The Origins and History of Valerian

Valerian has been used for centuries for its remarkable properties. Here let us take a look at its origin and historical importance-

1. Ancient Roots

  • It was used in ancient times in Greece and Rome where it was known for its calming and sedative effects.
  • The famous Greek physician, Hippocrates, reported that it could be used as a treatment for digestive disorders and insomnia.
  • The Roman physician Galen also documented its use for various ailments.

2. Traditional Medicine

  • Valerian was widely added to many traditional medical systems such as Ayurveda and Traditional Chinese Medicine.
  • In Ayurveda, it was used to treat conditions related to the nervous system.
  • Traditional Chinese medicine uses it to relieve anxiety, restlessness, and menstrual discomfort, among many other health concerns.

3. Symbolic Significance

  • Valerian has had symbolic importance in history. It has been associated with qualities like peace, relaxation, and peace of mind. In ancient times, it was considered sacred and said to have protective properties.

Read Also: Licorice

Health Benefits of Valerian

Valerian offers many health benefits that can improve overall health. Let us know about some of its positive effects-

A. Improved Sleep Quality

  • Natural sedative: It acts as a natural sleep aid promoting relaxation and reducing the time it takes to fall asleep. It also enhances the quality of sleep without causing morning discomfort.
  • Relief from insomnia: Research shows that it may reduce symptoms of insomnia, a common sleep disorder. It helps regulate sleep patterns thereby increasing sleep duration and quality.

B. Anxiety and Stress Reduction

  • Calming effect: It has anxiolytic properties, which means it helps reduce anxiety and stress levels. It works with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain, which helps calm the nervous system.
  • Nervous System Support: It supports the nervous system, which reduces restlessness, irritability, and stress. It also promotes a feeling of peace and overall well-being.

C. Muscle Relaxation

  • Muscle relaxant properties: It has muscle relaxant properties that can help reduce muscle tension and spasms. This may be especially beneficial for people who experience muscle discomfort or cramps.
  • Natural Alternative: Valerian can become a natural alternative to traditional muscle relaxant medications, which may have unwanted side effects or risks of dependence. Therefore, be sure to consult a doctor before using it.
Valerian Herb: definition, benefit, usage, side effects
Valerian Root

Uses of Valerian

Valerian is available in many forms and can be consumed in many ways. Here’s how you can incorporate it into your health routine (be sure to consult your doctor before use):

i. Herbal Tea Infusion

  1. To make a soothing herbal tea, soak the dried root in hot water for 5-10 minutes.
  2. Drink this tea about 30 minutes before sleeping for restful sleep. One can adjust its soaking time depending on personal preference and desired strength.

ii. Valerian Tincture

  1. Tinctures are concentrated extracts of valerian. It should be used only according to the dosage recommended on the product label, as this can vary depending on the concentration.
  2. Use the tincture by mixing it with water or juice or take it as directed. Always start with a low dose and increase the dose gradually only if necessary.

iii. Capsules and Tablets

  1. It is also available in capsule or tablet form, making it easy to use.
  2. Follow the instructions on the packaging or consult a doctor for proper dosage.

Precautions and Potential Side Effects

Valerian is generally considered safe for most people but it is important to be aware of some precautions and potential side effects. Some of its precautions and possible side effects are as follows:
  • Mild side effects: Valerian may cause side effects in some individuals but these side effects may be mild such as drowsiness, dizziness, and stomach upset. These effects are usually temporary and subside with continued use.
  • Interactions with medications: Consult a doctor before using if you are taking other medications, especially sedatives or anti-anxiety medications. Because it can interact with some medications, potentially increasing their effects.
  • Avoid excessive consumption: Excessive use of valerian can cause many problems such as headaches, agitation, and vivid dreams. To avoid this, follow the recommended dosage and avoid taking more than the recommended dosage.


In Conclusion, valerian, with its ancient roots and remarkable properties, offers a variety of health benefits. It improves sleep quality and reduces anxiety and muscle tension, making it a popular choice for people seeking natural health solutions. By incorporating valerian into your daily routine in the proper form and dosage, you can experience peace, relaxation, and mental peace. Therefore, be sure to consult a doctor to make sure it is suitable for your specific needs and circumstances.

Remember, before starting any new wellness regimen, it’s always best to consult with a healthcare professional to ensure it is suitable for your specific needs and circumstances.

Frequently Asked Question
No, it’s not necessary. Although valerian root can sometimes be helpful for sleep problems, it is not recommended to take it every night.
  • Efficacy: Evidence suggests that it may be effective only for short-term use (about 4-8 weeks) due to potential tolerance.
  • Side effects: Using it for a long time can lead to many side effects like headache, dizziness, and daytime drowsiness.
There is no restriction on it in most countries including India. However, some nations, such as Germany, limit the sale of valerian to specific forms such as concentrated tinctures to control its dosage and potential abuse.
Generally, it is not allowed to be used in daily use. As mentioned, potential tolerance build-up and side effects raise concerns. Consult a doctor before its regular and long-term consumption.
Some evidence suggests that it may help manage anxiety, Especially mild forms. However, this research is not conclusive and cannot be completely relied upon for managing Anxiety. Therefore, if such a situation occurs, discuss other treatment options with your doctor.
Valerian is one option, but not necessarily the most effective. Effectiveness depends on individual factors and can vary. Let’s consider some other options:
  • Melatonin: This is a natural hormone that regulates the sleep-wake cycle.
  • Chamomile: This is a calming herb, often consumed as a tea.
  • Lavender: Its aroma promotes relaxation and better sleep.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I): A proven method for improving sleep habits.
Remember: Consult your doctor before using any sleep aid, including valerian, as it may interact with medications or have unexpected effects.

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