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WHITE PLAINS, NY — July 9, 2001 —, an independent evaluator of dietary supplements and nutrition products, today released results of its Product Review of valerian supplements — used primarily as sleep aids and minor tranquilizers. Sales of valerian more than doubled in the past twelve months, making it the fastest growing herbal product in the U.S. according to the research firm Information Resources, Inc. purchased seventeen products claiming to contain Valeriana officinalis root, the species for which most supporting clinical evidence exists, and tested them for key marker compounds to evaluate the identity and quantity of the herb present. Neither the FDA nor any other federal or state agency routinely tests valerian products, or other supplements, for quality prior to sale.

Only nine of the seventeen valerian products passed's testing. Four products completely lacked the marker compounds that identify the presence of Valeriana officinalis and four others had roughly half of the expected levels. Results were confirmed in a second independent laboratory per's protocols.

"This is a real problem that people may literally be losing sleep over. Of additional concern, however, is the possibility that products which totally lacked the expected marker compounds were made from an inappropriate species of Valerian — particularly since these products had the characteristic smell of Valerian root, said Tod Cooperman, M.D, ConsumerLab.coms President. Products made from some species other than Valeriana officinalis can be rich in a compound, didrovaltrate, which has been shown to be toxic to cells in laboratory testing. Dr. Cooperman added, "This type of error has been known to occur with valerian material in the market. If you are going to use valerian, it would seem wise to stick to those products that passed the testing."

The complete list of valerian products that passed the review as well as ConsumerTips™ on buying and using valerian are now available to's online subscribers at General findings and examples of approved products are also available for free from the Web site. Similar information is available online from for Asian and American ginseng, calcium, chondroitin, CoQ10, creatine, echinacea, ginkgo biloba, glucosamine, MSM, multivitamins/multiminerals, SAM-e, saw palmetto, St. John's wort, and vitamins C and E. Other Product Reviews scheduled for release this year include phytoestrogens, omega-3-fatty acids, iron and protein/energy bars.'s Buyer's Guide to Supplements is to be published in print early next year. To further assist consumers, licenses its flask-shaped CL Seal of Approved Quality (see The CL Seal) to manufacturers for use on products that have passed its evaluations. is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held and based in White Plains, New York. It has no ownership from or interest in companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products. Subscription to's Product Reviews is available online. Parties interested in purchasing comprehensive Product Review Technical Reports, licensing content, or requesting testing of additional products may contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at

Copyright, LLC, 2001. All rights reserved.

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