Uses, Safety, Precautions, Benefits, and More

People make valerian tea from the root of the valerian plant. Valerian root has mild sedative properties and people can use it as a sleep aid and to treat anxiety.

the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) notes that people with insomnia and nervous tension can take valerian as a sleep aid. However, evidence regarding its effectiveness in treating insomnia is inconclusive.

This article will look at the safety, uses, side effects, and benefits of valerian tea. It will also discuss the precautions a person should take when consuming valerian tea and potential drug interactions.

Valerian tea is a tea that people can prepare from the dried roots and rhizomes or underground stems of the valerian plant, Valerian officinalis. Valerian tea usually comes in the form of a tea bag, but a person can also buy it as a loose tea.

People may describe its taste as “woody” or “earthy”. The taste becomes stronger the longer a person lets the tea steep.

Some people may find the smell unpleasant and may wish to add honey to their valerian tea to make it sweeter.

Valerian tea often contains other herbs as well, and manufacturers may blend it with a number of other ingredients, such as:

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that valerian is safe for most adults for short-term use of approximately 28 days.

It is important to note that valerian is not subject to strict regulations because it is a dietary supplement. Additionally, most studies have not lasted long enough to determine the safety of long-term valerian use.

Can it make people “high”?

Valerian tea can’t get people high.

It can, however, cause a person to experience more lively dreams. Therefore, those who frequently have nightmares may want to avoid drinking valerian tea.

People can drink valerian tea to help to treat:

A Animal study 2018 states that people can also use valerian as a muscle relaxant. However, more research is needed before people consider using valerian for this purpose.

Current research is not sufficient to determine the effectiveness of valerian for treating any of the above conditions, and most reported evidence of its effectiveness is either anecdotal or from small-scale studies.

A Systematic review and meta-analysis 2020 found that the results of studies examining the effectiveness of valerian on sleep were inconsistent. The authors suggested that the different results may result from the varying quality of the extracts used in each study.

The authors also suggested that supplements made with whole valerian root rather than extracts might have more reliable effects.

Learn more about valerian root and its ability to treat anxiety and insomnia here.

the NCCIH indicates that people have reported the following side effects from valerian use:

the ODS recommends people who are pregnant or breastfeeding not to consume valerian tea as there are no data on the safety and effectiveness of valerian in these populations. People should also avoid giving valerian tea to children under 3 years old, as researchers have not assessed the potential risks.

Additionally, people should be aware of the potential sedative effects of valerian if they are also taking sedatives or consuming alcohol.

Those who drink valerian tea for anxiety throughout the day should not use heavy machinery, as the tea can make people sleepy.

According to ODS, it is possible that the consumption of valerian tea amplifies the effects of sedatives, other medications or certain herbs and dietary supplements with sedative properties. These substances can also amplify the effects of valerian tea. Therefore, a person should not consume it with barbiturates or similar drugs.

the NCCIH suggest against drinking valerian tea with alcohol, although they agree that sleep-inducing effects are unproven.

An article published inthe American family physician journal suggests that the risk of drug interactions with valerian is unlikely or very limited.

People should always speak with a healthcare professional before using dietary supplements.

Most valerian studies focus on the capsule or tablet form rather than the tea. The tea is likely to contain a much lower concentration of valerian, and manufacturers may combine it with other herbs.

Therefore, there is not a lot of data on how much valerian tea you can safely drink. However, according to an older study from 2003, a cup of valerian tea prepared as directed 30 minutes to 2 hours before bedtime is sufficient to treat insomnia. If a person is taking loose valerian tea, they should steep 2-3 grams for 10-15 minutes.

The safety of long-term valerian use is unknown, and people should consider this when deciding how often to drink valerian tea.

People can drink valerian tea to help treat insomnia and anxiety, among other conditions. However, there is not enough research to confirm the effectiveness of valerian tea. Current research is limited and results are inconsistent.

However, although the evidence is inconclusive, valerian tea may be a safe way to treat insomnia and anxiety in some people.

A person should not take it with certain sedating medications as the effects can be additive and people may be at risk of excessive sedation.

It is likely that drinking a cup of valerian tea before bed will have no adverse effects. Therefore, people with insomnia of any kind may wish to try it. However, what works for one person will not necessarily work for everyone.


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Susan W. Lloyd