Valerian for Anxiety - How Well Does It Work?

Anxiety is a collection of mental disorders that include worries about future events (that may or may not happen) as well as fears related to current events.

And the symptoms are not just in the mind but there are physical changes as well such a rapid or racing heart and tremors.

The question is does taking valerian for anxiety help to cut down on the symptoms?

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a perennial flower that is commonly used to treat insomnia and it is what it is extensively used for today.

It has a natural sedative effect and is believed to be useful in treating generalized anxiety disorders (GAD).

Let's look at some research studies on the use of valerian for treating anxiety and panic attacks...

Research Study on the Benefits of Valerian for Anxiety

Most studies done with valerian were focused on this herb's sedative effects and its use as a natural sleep aid.

We did find two studies that looked at using valerian to help treat anxiety disorders. The good news is that both of them reported positive benefits for valerian on its ability to help reduce anxiety symptoms.

Research Study #1

In this study, 36 volunteers were assigned to either valerian, Valium (diazepam) or placebo (sugar pill control group). The study lasted for 4 weeks (after 2 weeks of being free from any herbs or medications).

In both the valerian and Valium groups, the volunteers reported reduced anxiety symptoms.

Keep in mind that this is a small study (which the researchers commented as well). But this positive result is reassuring to many who may want to try valerian for anxiety symptoms.

Here's the reference to the research paper:

valerian anxiety research paper 1 image

Research Study #2

In this randomized double-blinded study involving 24 healthy volunteers, a single dose of valerian plus lemon balm (either 600 mg, 1200 mg or 1800 mg) were given.

The researchers measured their mood and anxiety levels before given this combination herb, 1 hour, 3 hour and 6 hours after the single dose.

The results? The dose of 600 mg of valerian and lemon balm reduced anxiety levels. The 1200 mg dose also worked. However, unexpectedly, the 1800 mg dose showed an increase in anxiety.

This surprising result goes to show that more is not necessarily more effective. Sometimes, it can have the opposite effect.

Here's the reference to the research paper:

valerian anxiety research paper image 2

Suggested Valerian Dosage for Reducing Anxiety

Experts suggest using 300 to 500 mg of the valerian extract several hours before going to bed. For some people, they may experience some drowsiness, the most commonly reported side effects.

In a tea formulation, use 1.5 to 3 grams of the root steeped for 10 minutes in 150 mL of boiling water.

As an 70% alcohol extract (1:5), experts have suggested using 1 to 5 mL up three times daily.

See the article Health Benefits of Valerian for a full review and side effects to watch out for.

Bottom Line

It it worth giving valerian a try for your anxiety symptoms?

It is certainly worth trying it out.

Valerian holds promise as an potentially effective natural remedy to help with anxiety disorder.

It's ability to reduce anxiety levels, in theory, may be expect to become apparent within a day (similar to the benefits of drugs like Ativan and Valium). However, its effect may be accumulative and could take several days or weeks for its antianxiety benefit to peak.

Be patient and try it for at least 4 weeks before you conclude that it is not effective for you.

Did you know that they are many other effective anxiety remedies used by knowledgeable individuals from around the world?

See our Complete List of Natural Remedies for Anxiety for a comprehensive list of all of them.

natural supplements anxiety image

Here, you'll get a detailed listing of all natural remedies used around the world for reducing anxiety and stress. Some names you will recognize and others you may not have hear of.