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

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Fragrant Valerian

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Garden Heliotrope

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Garden Valerian

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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.
Drug Guide, © 2015 Farlex and Partners


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.
Segen's Medical Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Andres., Metaplexis japonica (Thunb.) Makino., Origanum vulgare Linn., Veronicastrum sibiricum (Linn.) Penell., Lonicera japonica Thunb., Valeriana officinalis Linn., Xanthium sibiricum Patrin ex Widder., Bidens parviflora Willd., Cephalanoplos segetum (Bge.) Kitam., Anaphalis sinica Hance., Arctium lappa Linn.
Biological and analytical characterization of two extracts from Valeriana officinalis. J Ethnoph.
In vivo Valeriana officinalis In vivo extract Luteolin.
Comparative cognitive and psychomotor effects of single doses of Valeriana officinalis and triazolam in healthy volunteers.
Valeriana officinalis: traditional use and recent evaluation of activity.
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) is a well-known and frequently used medicinal plant, which has a long proven history of efficacy.
Willmar Schwabe Pharmaceuticals, Karlsruhe Germany)--each tablet consisted of 160 mg of valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) root dry extract with an herb-extract ratio of 4-5:1 (extraction solvent ethanol 62% V/V) and 80 mg of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) leaf dry extract with an herb-extract ratio of 4-6:1 (extraction solvent ethanol 30% V/V).
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is particularly effective for women who have irregular sleep patterns, or have difficulty falling asleep.
In March of 2004, the Medicinal Herbs for Commerce project selected seventeen farmers across the state to receive technical assistance, seed, and a small grant to produce at least one acre of California poppy (Eschscholzia californica), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), or valerian (Valeriana officinalis).
Tambien parece existir cierta similitud estructural entre las nuculas de Ballota y algunos taxones de la familia Valerianaceae como Valeriana officinalis (Karcz, 1996), coincidiendo entre otros caracteres, por la presencia de granulos intensamente tenidos sobre la pared tangencial interna de las celulas del epicarpo, asi como por la morfologia de las esclereidas de la capa en empalizada con el lumen ensanchado hacia el apice, tambien observados por Wojciechowska (1966) en las nuculas de Marrubium vulgare.