It works for me. Like all substances meant to change mood or behavior, how valerian root effects you depends upon your own unique physical chemistry. I originally tried it because my brother had bought some for his sleeping problems. It works for me. It does nothing for him.
For those who don’t know, valerian root is a dietary supplement taken from the roots of the valerian flower (valeriana officinalis). Its most popular use is as a sleep aid. It has other uses as well, including relief from anxiety related disorders, migraines, and it’s even thought by some to help with epilepsy convulsions. Valerian root’s advantage over prescription meds is that it has relatively few side effects. In fact, the only warning on the bottle* of valerian capsules is “may cause drowsiness” which for the isonomic is their whole reason for taking the supplement in the first place.
The effect a person gets from valerian still depends on their chemistry. Valerian calms most people down but according to a Wellness Staff article by Jase Donaldson some people might experience the opposite effect and “rather than feeling the calming or sleep-inducing effects, they suddenly feel nervous, anxious and restless after taking the herb and may experience heart palpitations.” However, these effects are mild compared to some of the side effects induced by prescription medications such as decreased libido, migraines, dizziness, etc. Also, there’re no withdrawal symptoms to suffer through should you decide to stop taking valerian root. Since it comes from a natural source and there are only a few possible adverse effects my advice would be to try it to see if it works for you. A bottle of capsules is inexpensive so there’s not much to lose.
The main thing that I like about valerian root is the lack of feeling like I’ve been hit with a tranquilizer dart. Several years ago I had been prescribed the sleep medication Trazodone. Trazodone has the effect of putting a person into a drowsed stupor for about three hours. It makes it very easy to go to sleep. However, if some kind of emergency happens within those three hours and suddenly the need to be awake arises, you are out of luck. There’s no shaking of the zombie stupor. The feeling gotten from Trazodone is almost the same stupor a person gets from a painkiller given in a hospital. It’s virtually impossible to think anything very complex when under its influence. Whereas valerian root simply calms down my thinking pattern. There is no stupor. It makes me calm so if I decide to focus on going to sleep I am able. If I need to be awake for something unexpected I am able. I am simply put into a calmer frame of mind.
Valerian root can be used in two ways. Taken at bedtime or taken in small does throughout the day. It can be taken in capsules or can come in a form to make tea with. It takes about thirty minutes to take effect and when it does you can tell but it isn’t overpowering.
Thus the answer is valerian root works for most people. It’s believed to be safer than most prescription medications. Comparatively, you should also feel better when going to sleep and after waking up. The effects are less jarring and there’s a lack of zombification. Valerian root is a win-win item.
* The bottle referenced is by Spring Valley manufactured in by IdeaSphere, Inc. in American Fork, UT. The item is called Natural Whole Herd Valerian Root 100 capsules.
Jase Donaldson, “Valerian Root.” Insight Journal.