valerian

Pronunciation

Generic Name: valerian (vah LEH ree un)
Brand Name: Valerian Root, Valerian

What is valerian?

The use of valerian in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

Valerian is also known as Valeriana officinalis, radix valerianae, Indian valerian, red valerian, Belgian valerian, common valerian, fragrant valerian, garden valerian, all-heal, amantilla, setwall, setewale, capon's tail, heliotrope, and vandal root.

Valerian has been used in the management of anxiety; restlessness; insomnia; mental strain; lack of concentration; excitability; stress; headache; nervous stomach cramps; uterine spasticity; menopause; and pain, discomfort, and emotional distress that may occur with menstruation.

Valerian has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of valerian may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Valerian may also have uses other than those listed in this product guide.

What is the most important information I should know about valerian?

Do not use valerian in a bath without first talking to your doctor if you have a skin injury, a skin illness, a fever, an infection, or heart problems. This could be dangerous and should occur only under the supervision of a doctor.

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Valerian may cause drowsiness and dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, avoid these activities.

Slideshow: Herbal Supplements & Drugs: Interactions to Avoid

Herbal and Dietary Supplements Deserve Your Attention

Before taking valerian, talk your doctor if you are taking muscle relaxants, other sleep or anxiety medicines, pain medicines, antidepressants, or other medicines that cause drowsiness. These drugs may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking valerian.

Use alcohol cautiously while taking valerian. Alcohol may increase drowsiness when used with valerian.

Valerian has not been evaluated by the FDA for safety, effectiveness, or purity. All potential risks and/or advantages of valerian may not be known. Additionally, there are no regulated manufacturing standards in place for these compounds. There have been instances where herbal/health supplements have been sold which were contaminated with toxic metals or other drugs. Herbal/health supplements should be purchased from a reliable source to minimize the risk of contamination.

Who should not take valerian?

Before taking valerian, talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional if you have any other medical conditions, allergies (especially to plants), or if you take other medicines or other herbal/health supplements. Valerian may not be recommended in some situations.

Before taking valerian, talk your doctor if you are taking muscle relaxants, other sleep or anxiety medicines, pain medicines, antidepressants, or other medicines that cause drowsiness. These drugs may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking valerian.

Do not use valerian in a bath without first talking to your doctor if you have a skin injury, a skin illness, a fever, an infection, or heart problems. This could be dangerous and should only occur under the supervision of a doctor.

Do not take valerian without first talking to your doctor if you are pregnant or could become pregnant. It is not known whether valerian will harm an unborn baby.

Do not take valerian without first talking to your doctor if you are breast-feeding a baby. It is also not known whether valerian will harm a nursing infant.

There is no information available regarding the use of valerian by children. Do not give any herbal/health supplement to a child without first talking to the child's doctor.

How should I take valerian?

The use of valerian in cultural and traditional settings may differ from concepts accepted by current Western medicine. When considering the use of herbal supplements, consultation with a primary health care professional is advisable. Additionally, consultation with a practitioner trained in the uses of herbal/health supplements may be beneficial, and coordination of treatment among all health care providers involved may be advantageous.

If you choose to take valerian, use it as directed on the package or as directed by your doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Standardized extracts, tinctures, and solid formulations of herbal/health supplements may provide a more reliable dose of the product.

Valerian has been used as a tea, a juice from fresh plants, a tincture, an extract, a pill, and as a bath additive.

Do not use valerian in a bath without first talking to your doctor if you have a skin injury, a skin illness, a fever, an infection, or heart problems. This could be dangerous and should occur only under the supervision of a doctor.

Do not take more of this product than is directed.

Do not use different formulations (e.g., tablets, topical formulations, teas, tinctures, and others) of valerian at the same time, unless specifically directed to do so by a health care professional. Using different formulations together increases the risk of an overdose of valerian.

Store Valerian as directed on the package. In general, valerian should be protected from light and moisture and stored in a tightly sealed container.

What happens if I miss a dose?

No information is available regarding a missed dose of valerian. Consult your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider if you require further information.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention.

Symptoms of a valerian overdose are not known.

What should I avoid while taking valerian?

Use caution when driving, operating machinery, or performing other hazardous activities. Valerian may cause drowsiness and dizziness. If you experience drowsiness or dizziness, avoid these activities.

Use alcohol cautiously while taking valerian. Alcohol may increase drowsiness when used with valerian.

Valerian side effects

Although uncommon, allergic reactions to valerian have been reported. Stop taking valerian and seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives.

Other less serious side effects have been reported occasionally with the long-term use of valerian. Talk to your doctor if you develop:

  • headache,

  • excitability,

  • restlessness or uneasiness,

  • sleeplessness,

  • dilated pupils, or

  • irregular heartbeats or other heart problems.

Side effects other than those listed here may also occur. Talk to your doctor about any side effect that seems unusual or that is especially bothersome. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

What other drugs will affect valerian?

Before taking valerian, talk your doctor if you are taking muscle relaxants, other sleep or anxiety medicines, pain medicines, seizure medicines, antidepressants, or other medicines that cause drowsiness. These drugs may increase drowsiness and dizziness while you are taking valerian.

Drugs other than those listed here may also interact with valerian or affect your condition. Talk to your doctor, pharmacist, or health care professional before taking any prescription or over-the-counter medicines or other herbal/health supplements.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your doctor, pharmacist, or health care provider may have more information about valerian.
  • Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
  • Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure that the information provided by Cerner Multum, Inc. ('Multum') is accurate, up-to-date, and complete, but no guarantee is made to that effect. Drug information contained herein may be time sensitive. Multum information has been compiled for use by healthcare practitioners and consumers in the United States and therefore Multum does not warrant that uses outside of the United States are appropriate, unless specifically indicated otherwise. Multum's drug information does not endorse drugs, diagnose patients or recommend therapy. Multum's drug information is an informational resource designed to assist licensed healthcare practitioners in caring for their patients and/or to serve consumers viewing this service as a supplement to, and not a substitute for, the expertise, skill, knowledge and judgment of healthcare practitioners. The absence of a warning for a given drug or drug combination in no way should be construed to indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective or appropriate for any given patient. Multum does not assume any responsibility for any aspect of healthcare administered with the aid of information Multum provides. The information contained herein is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. If you have questions about the drugs you are taking, check with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist.

Copyright 1996-2012 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 2.05. Revision Date: 2010-12-15, 5:01:39 PM.

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