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Valerian

Plant Part Used

Root

Introduction

Valerian has long been used as an agent to soothe the nervous system in response to stress. Although other agents have been introduced in recent years which offer similar benefits, valerian is still one of the most popular herbal preparations on the market and is widely used throughout Europe.

Interactions and Depletions

Interactions

Dosage Info

Dosage Range

200mg (standardized extract), 1-4 times a day
-OR- total daily dose not to exceed 800mg (standardized extract) daily.

Tea: One cup 2 to 3 times daily and before bedtime using 3 to 5 gm of herb. (1)

Tincture (1:5): several times daily 15 to 20 drops in water. (2)

Most Common Dosage

200mg (standardized extract), 2 times a day.

Stress: 200mg (standardized extract), 3 times a day.

Insomnia: 200-400mg (standardized extract) at bedtime.

Tea: One cup 2 times daily and before bedtime using 3 gm of herb.

Tincture (1:5): several times daily 15 drops in water.

Standardization

[span class=doc]Standardization represents the complete body of information and controls that serve to enhance the batch to batch consistency of a botanical product, including but not limited to the presence of a marker compound at a defined level or within a defined range.[/span]

The most current available medical and scientific literature indicates that this dietary supplement should be standardized to 0.8% valerenic acids per dose.

Reported Uses

Valerian has been studied for its sedative effects and ability to improve sleep quality without the side effects commonly associated with conventional sedatives. (3) , (4) , (5) It is believed that valerian mildly sedates the central nervous system and relaxes the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system. (6) , (7) Studies also indicate that valerian may be involved in modulating brain activity. (8) Valerian extract did not alter mood or impair psychomotor/cognitive performance and had fewer side effects in healthy volunteers. Valerian could be taken into consideration as an alternative to drugs in treating insomnia. (9) , (10)

Toxicities & Precautions

Introduction

[span class=alert]Be sure to tell your pharmacist, doctor, or other health care providers about any dietary supplements you are taking. There may be a potential for interactions or side effects.[/span]

General

This dietary supplement is considered safe when used in accordance with proper dosing guidelines.

If you are taking valerian to enhance sleep, doctors recommend reducing your dosage if morning sleepiness occurs.

This dietary supplement may cause drowsiness. (11) Use caution when driving and performing tasks that require alertness. (12)

This dietary supplement may increase the effects of alcohol. (13)

Pregnancy/ Breast Feeding

To date, the medical literature has not reported any adverse effects related to fetal development during pregnancy or to infants who are breast-fed. Yet little is known about the use of this dietary supplement while pregnant or breast-feeding. Therefore, it is recommended that you inform your healthcare practitioner of any dietary supplements you are using while pregnant or breast-feeding.

Age Limitations

This dietary supplement should not be used in children under 12 years of age unless recommended by a physician.

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  1)  Essential Oil

References

  1. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:784.
  2. PDR for Herbal Medicines, 2nd edition. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 2000:784.
  3. View Abstract: Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double Blind Study of Valerian Preparations. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 1989;32(4):1065-66.
  4. View Abstract: Leathwood PD, et al. Aqueous Extract of Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis L.) Improves Sleep Quality in Man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1982;17:65-71.
  5. View Abstract: Balderer G, et al. Effect of Valerian on Human Sleep. Psvchopharmacology. 1985;87:406-09.
  6. Wagner H, et al. On the Spasmolytic Activity of Valeriana Extracts. Planta Med. 1979;37(1):84-86.
  7. Hendriks H, et al. Pharmacological Screening of Valerenal and Some Other Components of Essential Oil of Valeriana officinalis. Planta Medica. 1985;51:28-31.
  8. View Abstract: Santos MS, et al. Synaptosomal GABA Release as Influenced by Valerian Root Extract--Involvement of the GABA Carrier. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther. 1994;327(2):220-31.
  9. View Abstract: Gutierrez S, Ang-Lee MK, Walker DJ, Zacny JP. Assessing subjective and psychomotor effects of the herbal medication valerian in healthy volunteers. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. May2004;78(1):57-64.
  10. View Abstract: Hallam KT, Olver JS, McGrath C, Norman TR. Comparative cognitive and psychomotor effects of single doses of Valeriana officianalis and triazolam in healthy volunteers. Hum Psychopharmacol. Dec2003;18(8):619-25.
  11. View Abstract: Donath F. Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality. Pharmacopsychiatry. Mar 2000;33(2): 47-53.
  12. Upton R. Valerian Root: Analytical, Quality Conrtol, and Therapeutic Monograph. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia; 1999.
  13. Newall CA, et al. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health Care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press; 1996.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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