- Do valerian supplements work? Valerian root powders, extracts, and tinctures are commonly used to aid sleep and reduce anxiety and stress. While some studies have shown a sleep benefit, more rigorous studies have not, and the evidence regarding anxiety and stress is similarly weak. (See What It Is and What It Does).
- How to choose a valerian supplement? The activity of valerian may depend on its valerenic acids. It may be best to choose a supplement that provides at least 2 mg of valerenic acids per dose. Also choose one that is not contaminated with heavy metals (such as lead or cadmium).
- What did CL's tests of valerian find? Unfortunately, three of the valerian supplements we selected for testing did not contain even the minimum amounts of valerenic acids we expected based on their listed ingredients (one contained only 3% of what we expected) and/or were contaminated with lead. These, as well as three others, provided less than 2 mg of valerenic acids per dose. (See What CL Found and use the Results table to compare the amounts of valerenic acids found in products).
- Best valerian products? Among products that met our basic criteria for quality, two emerged as our Top Picks.
- How much valerian should I take? To aid sleep, valerian is typically taken about 1 hour before bedtime at a dose of about 600 mg of valerian extract or 2,000 to 3,000 mg of valerian root powder. (See ConsumerTips™: Dosage).
- Safety and side effects of valerian supplements: Valerian has generally been found to be safe, but minor gastrointestinal or allergic reactions can occur. For more details, see Concerns and Cautions.