Some studies have shown that valerian root, an herbal supplement, is effective at treating insomnia. However, more research is needed to establish how best to safely and effectively use the herb for this condition. It is not exactly known how valerian root works, but it is thought to increase a certain chemical in the brain that produces a naturally calming effect.
What Is Valerian Root?Valerian root is an herbal supplement that is commonly used to treat insomnia, although it is sometimes claimed to be helpful for other purposes as well. It is a perennial plant that has been used medicinally for various health conditions since ancient times.
(Click Valerian Root Benefits for more information on what it is used for.)
Side EffectsMany people believe that natural products, such as valerian root, do not have any side effects. However, many natural products do cause side effects, some of which can be quite serious. Valerian root can cause side effects such as:
- Morning drowsiness.
(Click Valerian Root Side Effects to learn more, including potentially serious side effects that you should report immediately to your healthcare provider.)
Is It Safe?Some people are more likely than others to experience problems due to valerian root. Therefore, you should talk with your healthcare provider before taking it if you have:
- Seizures or epilepsy
- Liver disease, such as liver failure, cirrhosis, or hepatitis
- Any allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant (see Valerian and Pregnancy)
- Breastfeeding (see Valerian and Breastfeeding).
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about any other medications you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
(Click Safety of Valerian Root for more information, including any available warnings and precautions.)