Valerian Root

Valerian Root

the 19th Century Valium

Common Name:


garden heliotrope

Latin Binomial:

Valeriana officinalis (Valerianaceae)

Short Description:

Erect perennial growing up to 5′; herbaceous plant

flowers: June

Healthy Alternative to Sleep Aids

Over the past several years, I have used valerian root as a sleep aid for myself and my family.

In today’s medicated world, I feel it’s important to find healthy alternatives to the massive amount of chemicals being given to us from all directions. Valerian root is one of those alternatives which have a long history of effectiveness with few, if any, side effects.

Because each person is different, in weight, height, DNA, chemical makeup, different nutritional intake, etc., each person may react differently to any herb. But for the majority of people, the effects of valerian root should start being felt within two weeks of starting to use it. It helped me the second night I used it and my husband was helped the first night.

Do Your Own Research as Well

I have researched and studied herbs for years and have been certified as a Master Herbalist; however, as with any herb, I still urge people to RESEARCH it well. It is never good to take a signal source of information as confirmation for any research. Below are a few outside links to get you started in your research. My goal is to help people help themselves, not monopolize on information. BUT … BE CAREFUL WHERE your information is coming from! There are industries out there that make money KEEPING YOU SICK.

A warning about valerian root… IT STINKS, as my family reminds me every time I make a pot of tea. The flavor however is not bad and easily drinkable. Try adding a little honey to taste.

Parts Used:

fresh root and rhizome, dried root and rhizome


Volatile oil (up to 1.4%), including bornyl acetate, beta-caryphyllene


Indications/ Benefits:

anxiety, tension, sleeplessness, cramping, indigestion, muscle relaxant, mild pain reliever, sleep aid, lower blood pressure, sedative, relaxant

Cautions/ Interactions/ Side Effects:

No known drug interactions have been reported

may potentiate the efects of sedatives

paradoxical reaction occurs in a few people, producing a stimulation response

can cause drowsiness

Dose/ Preparations:

tincture (1:5 in 60%) 2.5 – 5 ml (1/2 to 1 teaspoon) in single dose: or 20 drops in hot water up to 5 times per day

infusion: 2 tsp dried herb per cup boiling water (used closed pot to avoid lose of volatile oils: taken one to several times per day

capsules: 500mg: 1-2 at night

How to Grow:

  • sow seeds shallowly outside in April, can transplant once established
  • germinates poorly
  • make splits from crown or runners in spring or fall
  • space each about 1 foot apart
  • divide every few years to prevent crowding
  • harvest roots in spring of fall before they grow new shoots
  • wash and dehydrate at low temperature

Misc. Info:

the roots attract earthworms

History/ Folklore:

In the middle ages it was used as an ‘all-heal’. Was also used to treat epilepsy.

The below links are to help you get started, but the views and opinions of those sights are their own and not necessary mine.

Footnotes/ Resources:

Michalak, Patricia S. Rodales’s Successful Organic Gardening Herbs.  Pennsylvania: Rodale Press, 1993. Print.

Chevallier FNIMH, Andrew. Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000. Print.

Hoffmann FNIMH, David. Medical Herbalism The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester: Healing Arts Press, 2003. Print.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *