Valeriana officinalis


Valeriana officinalis


This plant is native to Europe but was readily cultivated in North America in the early 19th century. Every eclectic medical text consulted listed this plant as a “cerebral stimulant” when used as a simple or single herb administration. The preparation of the fluid extract from the rhizome was official in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1820-1936 and in the National Formulary from 1888-1946. It is still used to promote healthy sleep in many European Countries, North America, and The Soviet Union and is included in the World Health Organizations monographs on herbs as well as the German Comission E Monographs.

Icon / Delivery
Traditional Health Benefits of Valerian

Sleep Support, Stress Support

What is Valerian Used for?

There have been numerous human clinical trials conducted on Valerian and many have shown positive results to support a normal restful nights sleep. It is sold as an over the counter medicine in many European countries. More research is needed to determine the exact mechanism of Valerian's therapeutic effects.

View Important Precautions

Active Constituents of Valerian

The plant contains constituents called valepotriates, isovaltrates, and isovaleric acids known collectively as Valerenic Acids.

Parts Used


Additional Resources

1.) Specific Medication and Specific Medicines. John M. Scudder, MD 1870. 2.) King’s American Dispensatory by Harvey Wickes Felter, MD and John Uri Lloyd, Phr.M. Ph.D. 1898. 3.) The American Materia Medica, Therapeutics and Pharmacognosy by Finley Ellingwood MD; 1922. 4.) Native American Ethnobotany, Moerman DE, Portalnd, OR 1998. Timber Press. 5.) Leathwood PD, Chauffard F, Heck E, Munoz-Box R. Aqueous extract of valerian root improves sleep qualities in man. Pharmacol. Biochem. Behav. 1982 Jul; 17(1) 65-71. 6.) Han, Z. Z., Yan, Z. H., Liu, Q. X., Hu, X. Q., Ye, J., Li, H. L., and Zhang, W. D. Acylated iridoids from the roots of Valeriana officinalis var. latifolia. Planta Med 2012;78(15):1645-1650. 7.) Fernandez S, Wasowski C, Paladini AC, Marder M. Sedative and sleep-enhancing properties of linarin, a flavonoid-isolated from Valeriana officinalis. Pharmacol Biochem Behav 2004;77:399-404.

Important Precautions

Not for use during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use. There is a small percentage of people who respond paradoxically with valerian and it causes stimulation rather than sedation.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

Still need help deciding?

Access our guided product selector to find the right Gaia Herbs product.