What is Valerian Oil?

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  • Written By: Pamela Pleasant
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 17 February 2020
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Valerian oil is thick, yellow oil extracted from the valerian root plant. For centuries this plant has been used to relax the body and it also has other beneficial properties. It can be purchased as an essential therapeutic oil and added to soap or used as a rubbing lotion. Valerian oil can also be added to another liquid and taken orally. Typically, there is no difference in these preparations and the results are usually the same no matter which method is used.

This essential oil has a calming effect on the body, so it helps to reduce or eliminate symptoms that can cause discomfort. Insomnia, nervous tension, and anxiety are all conditions that relate to stress. Valerian oil works with the central nervous system by attaching itself to GABA-A receptors within the brain. This produces an overall calming in the mind and body. There are many other symptoms of certain medical conditions that can be lessened by using valerian oil.


Women suffering with premenstrual or menopause problems can benefit by using valerian oil. Hot flashes, migraine headaches, and severe cramping are just a few annoyances that accompany these conditions. The oil helps to reduce discomfort but it also helps to stabilize the functions of the body. For example, if a woman suffers with insomnia, other problems can arise along with the initial symptoms and they can include irritability, fatigue, and muscle aches. If the valerian oil eliminates a sleeping problem, than these other problems will not occur.

Some of the most powerful and effective prescription sleeping aids are highly addictive. They cannot be taken for a long period of time without suffering withdrawal symptoms and they are only a temporary fix for insomnia. Over time, it may also take a higher dose of these pills to have the desired effect. To avoid these habit-forming sleeping remedies, valerian oil can be used in their place as a safe alternative.

When using valerian oil, the dosage instructions should be followed exactly. If the dose is exceeded, a fatigued and drowsy feeling will be felt the following day. This is particularly unsafe for people who need to react quickly to certain situations, like police officers or firefighters. Although valerian root is not thought to be addictive, when it is used for a long period of time it can cause tremors or severe stomach pain.


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Discuss this Article

Post 3

@ysmina-- I think that most people who use valerian orally prefer the tablets or the liquid. Valerian drops aren't valerian oil. Valerian drops are the extract of valerian root. It's usually in a base of alcohol and the drops are measured into a glass of water and taken. I agree with you that ingesting valerian essential oil could be dangerous. Those who want to use valerian as a herbal treatment for things like depression, anxiety and insomnia should prefer the drops. And one should never take more than the suggested amount on the label. In fact, it's best to ask a doctor first.

Valerian essential oil would be better as a massage oil when combined with other carrier oils. Or it could be mixed into homemade soaps and lotions like the article said. Essential oils are absorbed through the skin.

Post 2

Does valerian oil taken orally cause any stomach upset?

I know that herbal oils can be very strong and also very harmful if taken in large quantities. I've heard that such oils can cause serious damage to organs like the kidneys and liver. So I'm a bit scared about using valerian oil. I was going to take the tablets but I heard that they weren't as effective.

Post 1

I use a little bit of valerian oil in my bath when I'm very stressed or having trouble sleeping. I don't like drinking valerian tea because it smells and tastes quite awful. But the bath oil has fragrance so it smells fine. And the valerian seems to work just as well this way as the tea. Hot baths are relaxing and soothing by themselves so even if less valerian gets absorbed into the body this way, it still works for me. I suggest valerian bath oil to others dealing with stress and sleeplessness.

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