Valeriana officinalis

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Related to Valeriana officinalis: Humulus lupulus, Melissa officinalis, Passiflora incarnata


(vuh-lare-ee-en) ,


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Belgium Valerian

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Common Valerian

(trade name),

Fragrant Valerian

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Garden Heliotrope

(trade name),

Garden Valerian

(trade name),

Indian Valerian

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Mexican Valerian

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Pacific Valerian

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Valeriana officinalis

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Valerianae radix

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Valeriana rhizome

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Therapeutic: antianxiety agents


May increase concentrations of the inhibitory CNS transmitter GABA.

Therapeutic effects

Improvement in sleep quality.


Absorption: Unknown.
Distribution: Unknown.
Metabolism and Excretion: Unknown.
Half-life: Unknown.

Time/action profile

PO30–60 min2 hrunknown


Contraindicated in: Pregnancy and lactation.
Use Cautiously in: Alcohol use (may have additive sedative effects); Surgery (discontinue use 2 weeks prior to elective procedures).

Adverse Reactions/Side Effects

Central nervous system

  • drowsiness
  • headache


  • dry mouth


  • Benzodiazepine-like withdrawal symptoms with discontinuation after long-term use


Additive CNS depression with alcohol, antihistamines, anesthetic agentssedative hypnotics and other CNS depressants.Alcohol-containing preparations may interact with disulfiram and metronidazole.Additive sedative effects can occur when used with herbal supplements with sedative properties such as kava, l-tryptophan, melatonin, SAMe, and St. John's wort.
Oral (Adults) Tea—1 cup tea 1–5 times daily. Tea is made by steeping 2–3 g root in 150 mL boiling water for 5–10 min then straining. Tincture—1–3 mL 1–5 times daily. Extract—400–900 mg up to 2 hours before bedtime or 300–450 mg divided tid.


Capsules: OTC
Extract: OTC
Tea: OTC
Tincture: OTC

Nursing implications

Nursing assessment

  • Assess degree of anxiety and level of sedation prior to and periodically throughout therapy.
  • Assess sleep patterns.
  • Assess response in the elderly population where drowsiness and loss of balance may pose a significant risk for injury.

Potential Nursing Diagnoses

Anxiety (Indications)
Risk for injury (Side Effects)


  • Take one to two hours before bedtime if used for nighttime hypnotic.
  • Administer orally three to five times daily to control anxiety.

Patient/Family Teaching

  • Encourage patients to avoid stimulants such as caffeine and to provide an environment that promotes restful sleep.
  • May cause drowsiness. Caution patient to avoid driving or other activities requiring alertness until response to drug is known.
  • Caution patient to avoid use of alcohol and other medications or herbals that have a sedative effect; may increase drowsiness.
  • Advise patients to discontinue 2 weeks prior to elective surgical procedures.
  • Inform patients not to take this herbal supplement if pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Notify patients that dependence with withdrawal symptoms may develop with prolonged use.

Evaluation/Desired Outcomes

  • Decreased anxiety level.
  • Improvement in sleep with a feeling of restfulness without drowsiness upon awakening.


Herbal medicine
A perennial herb that contains alkaloids, actinidine, choline, glycoside, resins, tannins, valepotriates, valerenic acid and volatile oils (including limonene); it is antispasmodic, antitussive, and sedative, and may act on the central nervous system. Valerian has been used for anxiety, colic, dandruff, dyspepsia, headaches, hypertension, insomnia, menstrual cramping, nervousness, stress and tachyarrhythmias.
Valerian should not be given to infants, and should be used with caution in pregnant women; in excess, it may cause headaches, irritability and blurred vision.

Valeriana officinalis,

n See valerian.
References in periodicals archive ?
Valeriana officinalis (valerian) is a herbal medicine traditionally used in the treatment of sleep disorders, anxiety, myalgia and epilepsy, with demonstrated anti-inflammatory actions, stimulatory effects on 5-HT and ACh receptors, and reduction of sleep-disturbance.
More generally spoken, standardization of extracts from Valeriana officinalis with respect to the sum of VA and AVA is misleading, since the antianxiety effect induced by VA may be, at least in part, inhibited by AVA.
27) There have been few incidents of adverse reactions such as: a proposed 'additive' effect of Passiflora incarnata in combination with Valeriana officinalis interacting with the benzodiazepine drug (lorazepam) resulting in hand tremor, dizziness, throbbing and muscular fatigue.
The herbal combination used 160 mg of Valeriana officinalis root 4-5:1 dried extract and Melissa officinalis 80 mg 4-6:1 dried extract.
Much of the research into the pharmacological action of Valeriana officinalis has been focused on its sedative and spasmolytic properties (AHP 1999).
The evidence supports Valeriana officinalis as a potential alternative to the traditional anxiolytics as measured by the elevated plus maze.
Here we showed that pinoresinol-4,4'-di-O-[beta]-D-glucoside (PDG) from Valeriana officinalis induced calcium mobilization and cell migration through the activation of lysophosphatidic acid (LPA) receptor subtypes.
The safety of different doses of Kan Jang[TM]--a fixed combination of Andrographis paniculata special extract (SHA-10) and Acanthopanax senticosus--compared to two extensively used medicinal plants, Valeriana officinalis and Panax ginseng in the form of standardized extracts, has been examined.
Interaction of Valeriana officinalis with melatonin receptors: a possible explanation of its biological action.