Learn something new every day
More Info... by email
Choosing the best valerian supplements requires finding a tincture with low alcohol content or finding capsules or tea mixtures with no more than two additional herbs. It is customary to mix valerian with a wide variety of other herbs like passionflower and kava; these combinations often lead to serious side effects such as liver poisoning and interfere with prescribed medication. Also, valerian in liquid mixtures like tinctures can have alcohol percentage levels ranging from 10 percent to 90 percent; the high-alcohol tinctures, according to some medical studies, can induce bouts of nausea. Another factor to consider when choosing is whether the active ingredients include valerian extract or valerenic acid, which are highly concentrated and more beneficial than simple valerian root.
Alternately called vandal root and capon’s tail, valerian is often used in alternative medicine as a calming or sleep-inducing aid; high doses of valerian of nearly 3,000 mg are generally necessary for such an effect. Patients suffering from mania, stress, hyperactivity, and attention deficit disorder (ADD) may use valerian as a natural way to manage symptoms since it reportedly leads to better mental focus and emotional balance. A few reports suggest valerian supplements can mitigate some menopausal symptoms. Results are usually best for these conditions when the supplement is used daily for at least a month, allowing the herb to build up in the body.
Valerian supplements have also been credited with curing gastrointestinal problems and skin conditions, like wounds, acne, and rash. Some studies suggest valerian supplements can strengthen the cardiovascular system, prompting alternative medicine practitioners to recommend the ancient herb for hypertension and angina. Urinary tract disorders are also treated with this herb.
When used in dried root form for making tea or tonic, the standard daily dosage for valerian supplements is 3g. Liquid doses, including extracts and tinctures, range from 300 mg to 1,000 mg daily. Tablet and capsule forms are available, offering daily doses ranging from 200 mg to 2,000 mg of the herb. Herbalists typically advise against taking alcohol while using valerian, especially if an alcohol-laden tincture is used.
Side effects of valerian supplements can include dizziness and headaches for sensitive users. Hypothermia, irritability, and the inability to sleep may also be hazards after four months of consistent use. Halving daily doses can alleviate most of these side effects. Some users elect to quit using valerian supplements for two to three weeks to clear build-up in the body before restarting the herbal treatments. Occasionally, however, those who halt supplementation face new problems such as mental confusion and irregular heartbeats, which are symptoms of herbal withdrawal.
@Mykol - I know exactly what you mean about the strong smell of valerian. I usually like just about any kind of tea and thought I would try some valerian tea in the evening to help me relax and unwind.
I had a hard time getting used to the taste of it. Even after adding some honey to the tea, it still didn't taste very good. For a tea, I think this would be best mixed in with other herbs that have a nicer scent and taste to them.
Using herbs for medicinal purposes is a great way to take advantage of natural remedies. This is the first I have heard of using valerian for menopause symptoms.
If I could find a tablet to swallow so I wouldn't have to taste it, I would be willing to try this to help with some of the hormonal issues that go along with menopause.
I know there are a lot of great valerian benefits, but I had some negative side effects after taking this for a few days.
When I mentioned to my sister that I was looking for some kind of natural sleep remedy, she recommended I try some valerian.
I was looking forward to getting some quality sleep, but I noticed that my heart started beating fast and the valerian gave me a headache.
As soon as I stopped taking it, the symptoms stopped. I gave the rest of the valerian to my sister who has had great results with it.
Now I use a natural melatonin supplement to help with sleep. I think I was using a good quality valerian herbal supplement, but my body just reacted to it in a strange way.
I also use valerian to help me sleep at night. I used to take over the counter medications, but found that my body built up resistance to them and they didn't work after awhile.
So far, I have not had this problem when I take the valerian. I don't take it every night, but usually need it a couple times a week.
Sometimes I take the valerian in capsule form. This is filled with a few drops of therapeutic grade valerian essential oil.
I also use a roll on tube that has some valerian and lavender mixed in with a carrier oil. This is easy to rub on the bottom of my feet before going to bed.
The only thing I don't like about using the valerian oil is that is has a strong smell that doesn't appeal to me. Other than that, I have found that it really helps me relax so I can easily fall asleep.
I buy valerian supplements in tablet form from a nutrition company that I have used for many years.
This company does a lot of scientific research, and only uses natural products, so I feel like I am getting a quality product.
I think when it comes to using herbal remedies there can be a big difference in the quality of the product. That is why I make sure to buy from a company that I know and trust.
I tale valerian when I have trouble sleeping at night. If I can't fall asleep, I will take a couple tablets and am usually fast asleep within 20 minutes.
One of our editors will review your suggestion and make changes if warranted. Note that depending on the number of suggestions we receive, this can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Thank you for helping to improve wiseGEEK!