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What Are Valerian Drops?

Valerian liquid is made by soaking chopped valerian root in alcohol.
Valerian oil may be used to treat insomnia by relieving tension and anxiety.
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  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2014
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Valerian drops are a type of dietary supplement most commonly used as a sleep aid. While they are generally considered safe, and many people report that they help ward off insomnia, potential users should be aware of a few precautions before taking them. In particular, it should be noted that valerian products are not regulated by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and that they can produce side effects in some users.

While there are many species of valerian, the one most commonly used in commercial valerian products is Valeriana officinalis. Valerian supplements are typically available in pill, powder, or drop form. In the case of valerian drops, distilled extracts taken from the root of the Valeriana officinalis plant are combined with water or another natural liquid.

If taking valerian drops as a sleep aid, most users dilute approximately 25 to 30 drops of the product in a small glass of water. When ingested shortly before bedtime, this mixture is reported to enhance relaxation and thwart insomnia. Some users also employ this treatment throughout the day to reduce anxiety.

In general, valerian drops are considered harmless. As with all herbal supplements, however, they are not subject to the strict regulations placed upon pharmaceutical drugs by the FDA. This lack of regulation has led many medical experts to urge caution when using valerian, for several reasons.

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First of all, scanty regulation means the producers of valerian drops may label their products as they please. A label might simply state that the drops contain valerian, but the plant used may not be Valeriana officinalis. As many of the other species of valerian have not been subjected to extensive medical study, they may produce unexpected and even harmful side effects.

Even though Valeriana officinalis has been studied somewhat thoroughly, it can produce side effects in some users. Occasionally, users of valerian drops may experience nausea, heart palpitations, and headaches. In addition, it is not yet totally clear whether valerian extracts are safe for pregnant or nursing women.

Finally, studies show that valerian drops must usually be taken nightly for at least two weeks before users note an improvement in the quality of their sleep. As the effects of long-term valerian usage are not yet fully understood, some health care professionals express concern over sustained ingestion of the supplement. Thus, those experiencing sleep difficulties may wish to consult a physician before using valerian.

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burcinc
Post 3

@ysmina-- Valerian drops are great for anxiety. My suggestion to you would be to try the drops on the weekend when you don't have to work. Try the recommended dose and see if it makes you sleep or if it just relaxes you and gets rid of the anxiety. If it makes you sleep, reduce the dose the next day.

Since valerian drops come in liquid form, it's very easy to adjust the dose to what you need. Lower doses should be able to help with your anxiety without causing sleep. But everyone is different so you have to figure out the sweet spot yourself. Just make sure not to overdose while doing so.

ysmina
Post 2

Is it a good idea to use valerian drops for anxiety and depression then? Manufacturers say to spread the dose throughout the day for anxiety. But others are talking about using valerian to sleep.

I do want to get rid of my anxiety during the day but I don't want to be sleepy and drowsy. I have to work.

ddljohn
Post 1

30 drops seem like a lot. I've never needed that much. I always follow the rule of using the smallest effective dose with herbs and medications. Valerian drops are a great way to de-stress and fall asleep. I normally don't have sleep problems. It's just when I'm stressed about something that I cannot fall asleep. It's mostly due to tension and anxiety. When this happens, I take my good old valerian drops.

I usually take ten drops first with some water. If I'm not asleep in thirty minutes, I take 5-10 drops more. This seems to do the trick for me. But everyone should follow the directions on the label of their product. It's also a good idea to check with a doctor first. Valerian is a herb but it may contradict with other medications.

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