What are the Most Common Valerian Side Effects?

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  • Written By: Dee S.
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 26 February 2020
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Valerian is known by several names, including valerian root, setwall, capon’s tail and amantilla. Although the safety of valerian has not been well evaluated, it is commonly used in homeopathic medicine. There are a wide variety of relatively minor valerian side effects that are possible, such as headaches, drowsiness, dry mouth, and blurred vision. If it is used for a long period of time, people may develop valerian side effects that consist of an irregular heart rate, excitability, sleeplessness, and restlessness. More severe valerian side effects include allergic reactions, liver damage, heart problems, and withdrawal symptoms.

Valerian is most often used in homeopathic medical practices to manage anxiety, insomnia, restlessness, and stress. It is also used to treat headaches and stomach cramps as well. In addition, many practitioners recommend it to treat the symptoms of menopause and the discomfort that accompanies menstrual periods.

Usually, valerian side effects will be experienced by most people using the herb. These side effects may be annoying at worst, but are usually not life-threatening. For example, most people will have drowsiness, especially when first waking up in the morning. In addition, some people will have headaches, vivid dreams, mild nausea, or a dry mouth.


If people use valerian for an extended period of time, it may counteract the very symptoms it is supposed to be treating. For example, it is usually recommended for people suffering from sleeplessness and anxiety. However, if it is used continuously for a few months, it may actually cause anxiety and sleeplessness. Other valerian side effects that are associated with long-term usage include headaches, excitability, and even an irregular heart rate.

Some of the valerian side effects may be quite severe. For example, if someone suspects it is causing liver damage, a doctor should be consulted immediately. Liver damage is usually present if a person has a yellow-hue to her skin or eyes, abdominal pains, and high levels of liver enzymes in the blood stream.

An allergic reaction to valerian may be a life-threatening side effect as well. A rash, hives, or swelling of the throat or mouth are tell-tale signs. In addition, wheezing and difficulty breathing may be experienced. If a person experiences an allergic reaction, medical attention should be sought immediately.

Not all of the valerian side effects are known, since the herb has not been thoroughly studied and evaluated. Generally, there are regulatory measures are not in place for homeopathic remedies, so it is important to buy valerian from a reputable source. It also should not be used in combination with other sleep-inducing drugs, muscle relaxants, or anxiety drugs. People using valerian should also avoid driving, operating vehicles or machinery while taking valerian, as drowsiness may be occur.


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