Valerian: Contraindications. Patient Counselling

Contraindications and Precautions

No known contraindications. Care should be taken when driving a car or operating heavy machinery when high doses are used.

Pregnancy Use

No restrictions are known; however, safety has not been well established in pregnancy. No significant negative effects have been reported in toxicological tests with animals and none reported in clinical studies.

Practice Points / Patient Counselling

• There is good scientific evidence to support the use of valerian as a treatment for insomnia; however, it appears that ongoing use may be more effective than single-dose use and effects on sleep progress over several weeks.

• It appears to be best suited to reducing sleep latency (i.e. time taken until falling asleep) and improves subjective assessments of sleep.

• There is no evidence of next-day somnolence or significant adverse effects.

• Valerian also relieves symptoms of stress and anxiety, with several studies observing effects similar to benzodiazepines; however, further research is required.

• Due to its pungent odour, solid-dose forms may be preferable.