Health Guide


What is it?

Valerian is an herbal medicine used to assist sleep and to help tension, anxiety, and restlessness.

Other names for Valerian include: All-Heal, Belgian Valerian, American Valerian, Vandal Root, Valerian officinalis, and Garden Valerian.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much Valerian you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Valerian. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Valerian without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Acetaminophen (Tylenol(R), also found in many cough and cold medicines)
  • Amiodarone (Cordarone(R))
  • Loperamide (Imodium(R))
  • Medicines used for sleep, seizures, or migraine headaches (examples: bultalbital (Fiorinal(R)), Fioricet(R)), phenobarbital (Nembutal(R)))
  • Medicines used for sleep or anxiety (examples: diazepam (Valium(R)), temazepam (Restoril(R)), clonazepam (Klonopin(R))
  • Medicine used to lower cholesterol (examples: simvastatin (Zocor(R)), atorvastatin (Lipitor(R)))
  • Medicines used to treat some types of cancer (Carmustine (BiCNU(R)); Mercaptopurine (Purinethol(R))
  • Medicine used to replace male hormones (Methyltestosterone (Android(R)); Testosterone (Androderm(R), Testoderm(R))
  • Methotrexate (Folex(R), Rheumatrex(R))
  • Medicine used to treat infection (Itraconazole (Sporanox(R)); Ketoconazole (Nizoral(R)); Terbinafine (Lamisil(R))
  • Medicine used to treat pain (Codeine, Hydrocodone (Vicodin(R)), Oxycodone (Percocet(R), Roxicodone(R)), Morphine)
  • Valproic acid (Depacon(R), Depakene(R), Depakote(R))


  • Before taking Valerian, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not give to children under 14 years without talking to your health care giver

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Abdominal, back, or side pain
  • BM's that are light in color
  • Dark urine
  • Fever
  • Headaches, trouble sleeping, excitability, or morning drowsiness
  • Liver problems
  • Nausea (upset stomach), vomiting (throwing up), and diarrhea (loose stools)
  • No interest in eating (6)
  • Yellow skin and eyes


1. Lindahl O & Lindwall L: Double-blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 1989; 32:1065-1066.

2. Haensel R, Keller K, Rimpler H et al: Valeriana In: Hagers Handbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, 5th ed. Volume 6, Drogen P-Z. Berlin: Springer Verlag 1994:1067-1095.

3. Hiller K-O, Zetler G: Neuropharmacological studies on ethanol extracts of Valeriana officinalis L.: behavioral and anticonvulsant properties. Phytotherapy Res 1996; 10:145-151.

4. McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R et al (eds): American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook: guidelines for the safe use and labeling for herbs in commerce. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL; 1997.

5. Fachinformation: Sedalint(R) Baldrian, valerian extract. Sanofi Winthrop GmbH, Muenchen, Germany; 1996.

6. MacGregor FB, Abernethy VE, Dahabra S et al: Hepatotoxicity of herbal remedies. British Med J 1989; 299:1156-1157.

7. Abebe W: Herbal medication: potential for adverse effects with analgesic drugs. J Clin Pharm Ther 2002; 27:391-401.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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