Though many valerian root benefits have yet to be proven through extensive clinical studies, valerian root has long been used as a medicinal herb to treat a wide range of disorders and symptoms. As a sedative, nervine, and anxiolytic, valerian root is a versatile herb to have in your medicine cabinet—but make sure you’re choosing a proper extract.
“Valerian root should be prepared fresh,” advises Clinical Herbalist Sarah Wu, founder of Medicines from the Edge, an herbal medicine conference. “When valerian root is prepared dry it can actually have the opposite effect from what is desired.” Reach for tinctures made from fresh roots rather than dried capsules. Wu suggests brands like Gaia, Herb Pharm, Red Moon, and Herbal Revolution to make sure you’re buying high quality products.
Though valerian root health benefits are tied to its sedating qualities, for some people, valerian root actually can act as a stimulant. “Start with a low dose to make sure you aren’t one of the people who has the opposite effect,” recommends Wu. Additionally, if you’re already taking sedatives or antidepressants, be aware that valerian root can adversely interact with these medications and consult your healthcare provider before starting herbal treatment. That being said, valerian root is considered safe to use among the general public.
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