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Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using Valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) supplements or tea. These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.

Warning 1 - Central Nervous System Stimulants: Valerian may increase the effects of CNS depressants. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 2 - Iron salts: - Valerian may interfere with the body's ability to absorb iron salts.

Warning 3 - Phenytoin: Valerian may negate the therapeutic effects of medications containing Phenytoin. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 4 - Warfarin: Valerian may negate the therapeutic effects of Warfarin. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 5 - MAOIs: Valerian may negate the therapeutic effects of MAOIs. Experts recommend avoiding concurrent use.

Warning 6 - Drug tests: Those who are subject to urine drug screens should be aware that valerian can cause problems on urine drug screens. Valerian root and its extract have shown up as false positives for benzodiazepines.

Uses of Valerian

Used as a natural health remedy: Valerian is used internally for the following benefits:
  • Reduce restlessness
  • Remedy for Insomnia
  • Sleeping disorders
The typical dose of valerian used for sleep is 60-mg. an hour or two before bed.

Side Effects of Valerian

  1. Cardiac disturbances
  2. Disagreeable odor
  3. Drowsiness
  4. Excitability
  5. GI upset
  6. Headache
  7. Insomnia (for a small percentage of people)
  8. Liver function abnormalities
  9. Morning drowsiness (rare)
  10. Palpitations
Other side effects may also occur when using Valerian supplements. (See form below)

Valerian supplements are available over-the-counter.

As with any herb, a serious allergic reaction is possible. Seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction. These may include a rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, or trouble breathing.

Return to the Herb List.

For questions and answers about the side effects of herbs see the Herb Forum

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This consumer advocate website is protected by copyright 2011 Askdocweb, Inc. All Rights Reserved. This is a layman's report on Valerian and is not intended to replace discussions with a health care provider. Do not use the information on this forum as a substitute for your doctor's advice. Always consult your doctor before taking any drug and follow your doctor's directions. Source material: Food and Drug Administration, Medline, Physician's Desk Reference, and the largest community of people in the world, those who are concerned about side effects and healthcare.
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