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Valerian Remedies


Valerian - Research
Clinical studies have shown valerian to be useful in reducing anxiety,11,12,13,14,15  as well as for improving sleep quality and decreasing the amount of time it takes to fall asleep.16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33,34,35,36,37  It does not adversely influence alertness, reaction time, concentration, driving, or operating of heavy machinery.38,39  
 
The Commission E has approved the internal use of valerian for restlessness and sleeping disorders based on nervous conditions,6  and valerian has been recognized for its benefits in the national pharmacopeias of Austria, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Russia, and the United States, among others.9  The European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy (ESCOP) notes that valerian is used for “tenseness, restlessness, and irritability, with difficulty in falling asleep.”10  
Valerian has a long history of medicinal use dating back to the era of Hippocrates (ca. 460-377 BCE) and Dioscorides (first century CE) who prescribed it as a sleep aid.6  Galen (ca. 130-200 CE) prescribed it for insomnia.6  Among the ancient classical authors it was also recorded as a diuretic and a menstrual flow stimulator.  Valerian was used to treat nervousness, trembling, headaches, and heart palpitations in the 16th century.5  In England during World War II, valerian was used to relieve the stress caused by air raids.8  
 
In the U.S. valerian is used extensively as a dietary supplement in the form of alcoholic tinctures, infusions (teas), and as a crude-root, powdered and dried extract in capsules and tablets. Often, valerian is combined with other herbs traditionally known to promote sleep such as hops, passion flower, and lemon balm.9  
 
References:
1  Bown D. The Herb Society of America New Encyclopedia of Herbs and Their Uses. London: Dorling Kindersley Ltd.; 2001.
 
2  Bradley P. British Herbal Compendium. Vol. 1. Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association; 1992.
 
3  Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. 3rd ed. Stuttgart: Medpharm GmbH Scientific Publishers; 2004.
 
4  Valerian. Tang Center for Herbal Medicine and Research. 2003. Available at:
 
http://tangcenter.uchicago.edu/herbal_resources/valerian.shtml. Accessed October 19, 2005.
 
5   Questions and Answers about Valerian for Insomnia and Other Sleep Disorders. Office of Dietary Supplements 2005. Available at: http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Valerian.asp. Accessed October 19, 2005.
 
6  Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
 
8  Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Vol. 2. New York: Dover Books; 1971.
 
9  Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
10  European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. ESCOP Monographs. 2nd ed. New York: Thieme New York; 2003.
 
11  Bourin M, Bougerol T, Guitton B, Broutin E. A combination of plant extracts in the treatment of outpatients with adjustment disorder with anxious mood: controlled study versus placebo. Fundamental & Clin Parmacol. 1997;11:127-132. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
12  Sousa M, Pacheco P, Roldao V. Double-blind comparative study of the efficacy and safety of Valdispert® vs. clobazapam. KaliChemie Medical Research and Information. 1992. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
13  Kohnen R, Oswald W. The effects of valerian, propranolol, and their combination on activation, performance, and mood of healthy volunteers under social stress conditions. Pharmacopsychiatry 1988;21:447-448. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
14  Panijel M. Treatment of moderately severe anciety states.[in German]. Therapiewoche 1985;35:4659-4668. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
15  Boeters U. Treatment of control disorders of the autonomic nervous system with valepotriate (Valmane). Munch Med Wochenschr. 1969;111:1873-1876. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
16  Balderer G, Borbely A. Effect of valerian on human sleep. Psychopharmacology. 1985;87:406-409. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
17  Chauffard F, Heck E, Leathwood P. Detection of mild sedative effects: valerian and sleep in man. Experimentia. 1982;37:622. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
18  Dressing H, Kohler S, Muller W. Improvement in sleep quality with a high dose valerian-melissa preparation. Psychopharmacotherapy 1996;3:123-130. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
19  Donath F, Quispes S, Diefenbach K, et al. Critical evaluation of the effect of valerian extract on sleep structure and sleep quality. Pharmacopsychiatry. 2000;33:47-53. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
20  Dorn M. Efficacy and tolerability of Baldrian versus oxazepam in non-organic and non-psychiatric insomniacs: a randomized, double-blind, clinical, comparative study.[in German]. Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2000;7(2):79-84. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
21  Dressing H, Riemann D. Insomnia: are Valeriana/Melissa combinations of equal value to benzodiazepine?[in German]. Therapiewoche. 1992;42:726-736. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et ai, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
22  Francis AJ, Dempster RJ. Effect of valerian, Valeriana edulis, on sleep difficulties in children with intellectual deficits: randomized trial. Phytomedicine. 2000;9(4):273-279. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
23  Gessner B, Klasser M. Studies on the effect of Harmonicum Much® on sleep using polygraphic EEG recordings. EEG EMG Z Elecktroenzephalogr Verwandte Geb. 1984;15:45-51. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
24  Jansen W. Double-blind study with baldrisedon.[in German]. Therapiewoche. 1977;27:2779-2786. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
25  Kamm-Kohl A, Jansen W, Brockmann P. Moderne Baldriantherapie gegen nervosa storungen im senium. Med Welt. 1984;35:1450-1454. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
26  Leathwood P, Chauffard F. Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man. Planta Med. 1985;144-148. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
27  Leathwood P, Chauffard F. Quantifiying the effects of mild sedatives[review]. J Psych Res. 1982;17:115-122. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
28  Leathwood P, Chauffard F, Heck E, Munoz-Box R. Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L. ) improves sleep quality in man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1982;17:65-71. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
29  Lindahl O, Lindwall L. Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 1989;32:1065-1066. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
30  Orth-Wagner S, Ressin W, Griederich I. Phytosedative for sleeping disorders containing extracts from valerian root, hop grains and balm leaves.[in German]. Z Phytother. 1995;16:147-152,155-156. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
31  Rodenbeck A, Simen S, Cohrs S, et al. Alterations of the sleep stage structure as a feature of GABAergic effects of a valerian-hop preparation in patients with psychophysiological insomnia. Somnolgie. 1998;2:26-31. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
32  Schellenberg R, Schwartz A, Schellenberg V, Jahing L. Quantitative EEG-monitoring and psychometric evaluation of the therapeutic efficacy of Biral N in psychosomatic diseases. Naturamed. 1994;4:9. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
33  Schmidt-Voigt J. Treatment of nervous sleep disorders and unrest with a sedative of purely vegetable origin.[in German]. Therapiewoche. 1986;36:663-667. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
34  Schmitz M, Jackel M. Comparative study for assessing quality of life of patients with exogenous sleep disorders (temporary sleep onset and sleep interruption disorders) treated with a hops-valerian preparation and a benzodiazepine drug.[in German]. Wien Med Wochenschr. 1998;148:291-298. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
35  Schulz H, Stolz C, Mueller J. The effect of valerian extract on sleep polygraphy in poor sleepers: a pilot study. Pharmacopsychiatry. 1994;27:147-151. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
36  Vorbach E, Gortelmayer R, Bruning J. Treatment of insomnia: efficacy and tolerance of a valerian extract.[in German]. Psychopharmakother. 1996;3:109-115. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
37  Ziegler G, Ploch M, Miettinen-Baumann A, Collet W. Efficacy and tolerability of valerian extract LI 156 compared with oxazepam in the treatment of non-organic insomnia—a randomized, double-blind, comparative clinical study. Eur J Med Res. 2002;7(11):480-486. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
38  Kuhlmann J, Berger W, Podzuweit H, Schmidt U. The influence of valerian treatment on “reaction time, alertness and concentration” in volunteers. Pharmacopsysciatry. 1999;32:235-241. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds.  The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.
 
39  Albrecht M, Bergner W, Laux P, Martin C. Psychopharmaceuticals and traffic safety: the influence of Euvegal® forte sugar-coated tablets on driving ability and combination effects with alcohol. Zeitschrift fur Allgemein Medizin. 1995;71:1215-1225. Cited in Blumenthal M, Hall T, Goldberg A, Kunz T, Dinda K, Brinckmann J, et al, eds. The ABC Clinical Guide to Herbs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; 2003.


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