Valerian Side Effects and Length of Use
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: Name not given
Posted on: February 28, 1999

What are the side effects of Valerian and how long can it be taken?

Most sources report that there are no side effects with Valerian. However, Michael Moore, in "Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West" (Red Crane Books, Santa Fe) has found that in some people, it can cause bad dreams and groggy awakenings because it stimulates digestion, lungs and cardiovascular output. So people who already have a strong and demanding digestion, good moist lungs and cardiovascular excess in high blood pressure will be stimulated in functions that are already excessive, and these people will be both sedated and physically stimulated, causing the restless sleep. These people should not use Valerian.

Moore suggests that it should be used only occasionally, for its reliable sedative and antispasmodic properties, in nervous stress, jumpiness, shaky hands, palpitations and indigestion, or for overactive mind when trying to sleep. Constant use of the dried root preparations may cause emotional shifts. Fresh root preparations are calming, but not as effective as dried root preparations, so are better for longer term use.

Because of its sedative properties, it may cause increased sedation with other sedative drugs, and may further lower the state of a severely depressed individual.

Dosage of the tincture is 4 - 8 ml, three times a day, or three 270mg capsules three times a day. The dried root may be made into a tea my simmering one teaspoon in a cup of boiling water. Half to one cup three times a day. It can be used for a sleep-promoting bath by adding a strong tea to the bathwater: simmer half a cup of the bruised dried root in a pint of water for fifteen minutes.

For more information on Valerian, see the book "Valerian, The Relaxing Sleep Herb" by Christopher Hobbs (available at Richters).

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