The root is used to make tinctures and capsules.


Valerian is a very popular mild sedative and sleep aid, used in mild to moderate insomnia and mild anxiety.

You get to sleep quicker and wake up less during the night. It does not alter normal sleep patterns.

It has no "hangover" effects in the morning unlike many prescription sedatives like diazepam and others, which also disrupt sleep patterns.

The benefits increase with repeat use rather than occasional use, but prolonged use is not good. In fact it has not been investigated for its effects when taken for more than six weeks without a break.


Standardised extracts in capsule form have a normal dose of 300 to 400 mg a day.

The tincture has a bitter taste and terrible smell.


Few side effects happen at normal doses, but possible problems include rare cases of allergic reactions, headaches, restlessness and possibly sleeplessness. In all of these circumstances, stop taking it immediately.

Don’t take Valerian along with alcohol or other sedatives and sleeping pills whether prescription or herbal.

If you have a chronic sleep problem, please discuss it with your doctor or health professional.

Valerian is used in combination with other herbal sleep products. But the dose is reduced to take account of this.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.