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Side effects of valerian tea: Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid?

Overview, Uses, Side Effects, Precautions, Interactions, Dosing and Reviews


Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is an herb native to Europe and parts of Asia. Valerian root has a long history of use as a sedative.

Valerian can grow to be just over 6 feet tall and has a strong odor. It seems to act like a sedative in the brain and nervous system. Valerian has been used as a traditional medicine dating back to ancient Greek and Roman times.

People commonly use valerian for sleep disorders, especially insomnia. Valerian is also used for anxiety, stress, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support most of these uses.

Uses & Effectiveness ?

Possibly Effective for

  • Insomnia. Taking valerian root extract 300-600 mg by mouth daily seems to improve sleep quality. Continuous use for up to 4 weeks might be needed before an effect is noticeable.

There is interest in using valerian for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Valerian is likely safe when used short-term. Valerian has been used safely in doses of 300-600 mg daily for up to 6 weeks. The safety of long-term use is unknown.

Valerian is usually well-tolerated. Some common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, stomach upset, mental dullness, and vivid dreams. It might cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued after long-term use. To avoid withdrawal symptoms after long-term use, it’s best to reduce the dose slowly over a week or two before stopping completely.

Special Precautions and Warnings

When taken by mouth: Valerian is likely safe when used short-term. Valerian has been used safely in doses of 300-600 mg daily for up to 6 weeks. The safety of long-term use is unknown.

Valerian is usually well-tolerated. Some common side effects include dizziness, drowsiness, headache, stomach upset, mental dullness, and vivid dreams. It might cause withdrawal symptoms when discontinued after long-term use. To avoid withdrawal symptoms after long-term use, it’s best to reduce the dose slowly over a week or two before stopping completely. Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if valerian is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Valerian is possibly safe for children when taken by mouth appropriately for 4-8 weeks.

Surgery: Valerian slows down the central nervous system. Anesthesia and other medications used during surgery also affect the central nervous system. The combined effects might be harmful. Stop taking valerian at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Interactions ?

    Moderate Interaction

    Be cautious with this combination

  • Alcohol can cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Valerian might also cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Taking large amounts of valerian along with alcohol might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Valerian might cause sleepiness. Alprazolam also causes sleepiness. Taking valerian along with alprazolam might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Valerian might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking valerian with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.

  • Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Valerian might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

    Minor Interaction

    Be watchful with this combination

  • Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Valerian might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.

  • Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Valerian might change how quickly the liver breaks down these medications. This could change the effects and side effects of these medications.


Valerian has most often been used by adults in doses of 300-600 mg by mouth daily for up to 6 weeks. It’s commonly used in combination products that contain other sedative herbs, such as hops, passion flower, and lemon balm. Using valerian long-term might cause dependence. Stopping valerian after long-term use might cause withdrawal symptoms. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what dose might be best for a specific condition.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
© Therapeutic Research Faculty 2020.

4 Potential Side Effects of Valerian Root

Valerian root is one of the most common natural sleep aids available.

It’s used to improve poor sleep patterns, alleviate anxiety, ease menopausal symptoms, and promote relaxation. Used medicinally for thousands of years, it’s commonly taken as a capsule, liquid extract, or tea.

This supplement comes from the herb Valeriana officinalis, which is native to Asia and Europe but also grows in other countries like the United States.

One review of 11 herbal medicines concluded that valerian root was the most promising herbal medicine for sleep and insomnia (1).

All the same, reports of its effectiveness are mixed and largely based on anecdotal evidence. What’s more, some people report side effects, which appear to vary significantly between individuals (1, 2, 3, 4).

Here are 4 possible side effects of valerian root.

One of the most frequently reported side effects of valerian root is vivid dreams.

One study examined the side effects of valerian and kava, another herb, taken for insomnia. Researchers gave 24 people 4 ounces (120 mg) of kava daily for 6 weeks, followed by a 2-week break, then 20 ounces (600 mg) of valerian daily for 6 weeks (6).

While the majority of participants did not experience side effects, 16% experienced vivid dreams during the valerian treatment.

Valerian may cause vivid dreams because it contains essential oil and compounds called iridoid glycosides. These compounds stimulate opioid receptors and serotonin production in your brain, producing relaxing and anti-depressive effects (6).

Some researchers also believe that valerian boosts the brain chemical gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA), which has a calming effect on your body (7).

Overall, these sedative properties may promote deeper sleep patterns that could lead to vivid dreams.

For this reason, valerian root is not typically recommended for people who are prone to unpleasant dreams, as it could cause nightmares.


Valerian root is known to have sedative effects, which is one reason it’s used for insomnia. However, using valerian may lead to vivid dreams or even nightmares in some people.

Heart palpitations feel like a rapid or fluttering heartbeat.

Though typically harmless, they can be worrisome if you’re not used to them. Heart palpitations may be triggered by stress, medication, exercise, or a medical condition.

Historical reports suggest that valerian root was used to treat heart palpitations as far back as the 16th century.

Ironically, some people have experienced heart palpitations as a side effect of using or discontinuing valerian root. However, these reports are anecdotal and not based on research (8).

As such, human studies are needed to verify its potential effects.


Some people claim that valerian root causes heart palpitations or increased heart rate, but the evidence for this is mostly anecdotal.

Valerian root may cause mild to moderate mouth and digestive effects.

Some people report an increase in bowel activity after using it. Fittingly, valerian has been used for centuries in Europe to treat digestive problems like constipation (9).

All the same, these laxative effects could cause undesirable symptoms like diarrhea or upset stomach.

A 28-day study in 391 people given various herbs for sleep treatment showed that 18% of those who took valerian root experienced an increase in diarrhea, compared with only 8% of those in the placebo group (2, 4).

Other people have reported developing dry mouth after taking valerian root, but this has not been extensively studied.


Valerian root appears to have a laxative effect, which may lead to diarrhea or upset stomach. Some people also report dry mouth.

Although valerian root has historically been used to alleviate headaches, some people report an increase in headaches and mental fogginess after using the herb (8, 10).

Most of these side effects seem to result from long-term or high-dose usage of this herb. All the same, symptoms may include not only more headaches but also other brain-related issues, such as excitability and uneasiness (10).

Some people also report feeling more sluggish the morning after taking valerian root, especially at high doses — even if it helped them sleep better.

As such, if you experience any of these symptoms, you may want to lower your dosage.

Keep in mind that these side effects are based on anecdotal evidence. Therefore, more rigorous, scientific studies are needed.


Valerian root may cause mental sluggishness and headaches, as well as other symptoms like uneasiness and excitability. These issues seem mostly related to high-dose or long-term usage of this herb.

As with other herbs, caution should be taken when using valerian root alongside other substances and medications.

Though serious side effects appear to be rare, some sources report that valerian root may interact with the following (10, 11,12, 13):

  • alcohol
  • antidepressants
  • sedatives, such as anticonvulsants, benzodiazepines, and sleep aids
  • narcotics
  • statins (cholesterol-lowering medications)
  • some antifungal drugs
  • antihistamines
  • St. John’s wort

Valerian root should not be taken in high doses or in tandem with substances used for similar reasons, such as sedatives or sleep aids.

Using this herb with some of these substances may cause excessive sleepiness or worsen depression. Valerian root may also slow the breakdown of drugs by your liver, causing them to accumulate in your body or be less effective (10, 12, 13).

What’s more, young children and pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid valerian root due to a lack of safety information (14, 15).

Keep in mind that this herb is considered a dietary supplement and not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Thus, it’s best to look for products that have been independently tested for purity by organizations like NSF International or ConsumerLab.

Always remember that valerian should not replace prescription medications. If you’re unsure how to use valerian root, seek advice from a medical professional.


You shouldn’t take valerian with other substances or drugs that have similar sedative effects, as this combination could cause exhaustion. It’s best to speak to a health professional regarding potential interactions.

Research is mixed when it comes to the best dosage of valerian root. Many studies are small and have used widely varying amounts, making it difficult to determine the optimal intake (2).

Nonetheless, the general recommended dose of valerian for sleep trouble is 300–600 mg taken 30–120 minutes before bedtime. To make a tea instead, steep 2–3 grams of dried valerian root in hot water (16).

While this herb is usually tolerated well, there are a few reports of possible valerian toxicity linked to more severe symptoms, including headaches, liver toxicity, chest tightness, abdominal pain, and tremors (10, 16, 17, 18).

As these reports focus on individuals, more comprehensive population studies are needed.

There’s no significant evidence that taking large amounts of valerian root is dangerous.


Although a few case reports point to side effects from high doses of valerian root, no scientific evidence suggests that high doses are harmful. Still, more controlled, human studies are necessary.

Valerian root is a popular sleep aid that’s widely considered safe.

Still, some people have reported several minor side effects, such as vivid dreams, heart palpitations, dry mouth, digestive upset, headaches, and mental fogginess.

If you’re experiencing any side effects that you think could be related to valerian root, consider reducing your dosage.

Moreover, if you’re uncertain about how to use this herb, speak to your healthcare provider for more guidance.

Valerian tea: benefits and harms » All about tea

Everyone knows about the medical use of valerian. The classic “valerian” in the form of drops or tablets is present in any home first aid kit. But not everyone knows that valerian can be used to create a pleasant drink with a slight sedative and relaxing effect. In our busy lives, this is exactly what is needed after a hard day’s work.

This herb has long been known for its excellent sedative properties and ability to soothe tension-related headaches and positively influence abdominal cramps. It is not known how long mankind has been using this plant, perhaps since ancient times, when the first man dug up and ate a valerian root and felt its wonderful effect.

Only valerian rhizomes are used as a medical preparation, but its young leaves are used in fresh salads and as a side dish for fish dishes, and beautiful fragrant inflorescences can be used to arrange bouquets.

Valerian roots have a characteristic recognizable smell that drives cats crazy. It is due to the high content of essential oils – up to 2%.

The plant root contains the following substances:

  • Alkaloids.
  • Bornyl isovalerate.
  • Isovaleric acid.
  • Camphene.
  • Borneol.
  • O±-pinene.
  • Limonene and many other useful ingredients.

Valerian extract is actively used in many medical preparations with sedative, hypnotic, heart-calming properties, for example, in Zelenin drops, Corvalol, Valocordin, Barboval and other medicines.

Contraindications and potential side effects

Like many other herbal preparations, valerian has its contraindications and may show side effects. The main rule of using valerian both in tea and as a remedy is not to abuse it. In any situation, the plant should not be used without interruption for more than two months. And, of course, immediately cancel its reception in case of negative reactions.

Do not use the plant in the following cases:

  • For high-grade hypertension. If the remedy is abused, instead of the expected sedation and pressure reduction, you can get the exact opposite effect.
  • In the presence of individual sensitivity to individual components of the product or allergy to herbal raw materials.
  • With a tendency to thrombosis – frequent intake of valerian increases the ability of blood to clot.

If you drink tea with valerian too often, you can relax so much that the body wants to “go to bed” at the wrong time, so this drink should be used after work to relax a tense and tired nervous system, normalize sleep.

Valerian tea preparation

Cold extraction method . Finely chopped valerian roots (2 teaspoons) pour 250 g of clean water at room temperature. The container is closed, placed in a dark place for at least 12 hours, filtered and drunk, no more than 3 cups during the day.

Brewing (best in a thermos). The ratio is 2 teaspoons of crushed root to 0.5 liters of boiling water. It is important to close the container very tightly – essential oils are volatile and evaporate quickly. After 10 minutes it is ready for use.

Mixed tea . Such a drink turns out to be light, tasty and healthy, because other herbs are added to it that have properties similar to valerian – mint and lemon balm. You can cook it to your taste by brewing a pinch of such herbs – fresh or dried – right in the cup.

Using the gifts of nature, you can regain peace of mind and peace of mind, normalize sleep and stabilize the functions of the nervous system.

Valerian tea | Ogorodniki

Valerian (lat. Valeriana officinalis) is an annual medicinal plant that belongs to the valerian family.

The plant thrives in moist and humus soil, so it is preferred in swampy meadows, near rivers and streams. It tolerates low temperatures well, therefore it grows in mountains up to 2000 m high. Since the demand for valerian is growing, it is grown on plantations located in Banat and central Serbia. Valerian does not require much care, so it can be kept indoors. It is also valued for its essential oil, which has a beneficial effect on the nervous system.

Valerian can reach 2 meters in height, has white and pink flowers and serrated leaves. The stem is hollow and bare, whereas the root is branched. The seeds are edible. The plant flowers in July and August, and the seeds ripen from June to September.

The roots are harvested in spring or autumn. Caution is advised as there are many similar plants that are poisonous. Valerian should be carefully dried in a warm, airy place. The root loses its medicinal properties if stored at temperatures above 40 degrees. It has a strong and unpleasant smell that attracts cats, which is why it is also called catnip. Women love this smell, while dogs and men can’t stand it.

Valerian is used for medicinal purposes and is an ingredient in various tablets, dragees, capsules, drops, oils, etc. Baths and compresses are made from it, reducing back pain.

The ancient Greeks and Romans used this plant as a medicine for the heart, and it has been used as a sedative since the 18th century. During the First and Second World Wars, soldiers and residents of war areas who were injured were treated with valerian. It is believed that the root protects against spells and evil, so the soldiers wore it in their uniforms.

Medicinal properties and health

Valerian contains valeric acid, which acts as a sedative and anxiolytic agent, that is, it helps to treat anxiety disorders. Other ingredients are: alkaloids, glycosides, tannins, saponins, organic acids, mineral salts, starch and the like.

Valerian tea is prepared from the root and has proven itself in:

  • the treatment of heart problems (arrhythmias, angina pectoris, etc.)
  • improved blood flow to the heart;
  • improve the ability of the heart to pump blood;
  • lowering blood pressure
  • restoring the balance of the nervous system;
  • treatment of insomnia and improvement of sleep quality;
  • treatment of alcoholism;
  • to stop smoking because it creates an aversion to tobacco smoke;
  • treatment of migraine
  • relief of joint and bone pain
  • treatment of epilepsy, hypochondria, hysteria and depression;
  • improving concentration and eliminating anxiety;
  • treatment of epilepsy
  • relief of spasms around the heart, trachea, stomach and intestines;
  • elimination of bloating and urge to vomit;
  • prevent gas in the colon;
  • treatment of diseases of the bladder and urinary tract;
  • relief of menstrual pain and menopausal problems;
  • strengthening of immunity.