Valerian: What is it, how and when should we take it?

Valerian: What is it, how and when should we take it?

What is valerian?

Its scientific name is Valeriana officinalis; this plant has many medicinal properties. It can reach a little more than 1 meter in height, although some of them with only 20 centimeters high are also very productive.

It is found in different parts of the world, especially in places where the climate is temperate. Its leaves are easy to distinguish due to its pinnate shape, meaning that each leaf is subdivided into several more.

It has light pink flowers. Each of the parts of this plant has many characteristics that have been used in the field of medicine.

Benefits and properties

Thanks to the properties of this plant, it is possible to enjoy a great amount of benefits. Most of them are related to the elimination of stress and anxiety, so common nowadays. 

Some of its properties are:


If you are having trouble sleeping, then it is time to take valerian (Valeriana officinalis). This is due to its great ability to relax the nervous system and allow any feelings of anxiety or stress to diminish considerably.

All this is possible because the acid in valerian increases the amount of gamma aminobutyric acid. This is a neurotransmitter, which directly influences the nervous system. Thanks to this process, the body is able to relax, which allows the person to rest peacefully.


Its relaxing characteristics help to control depression in many people. This benefit is obtained thanks to valepotriates.

It is a great advantage that it is natural, because it does not otherwise affect the body. However, it can only help in case of mild depression. In the case of those who suffer from this disease to a chronic degree, it is better to visit the doctor and follow the recommended treatment.


Valerian has the ability to act as a muscle relaxant. Thanks to the isovaleric acids present in this plant, it prevents serious injuries. Even in the presence of headaches, it is recommended to ingest valerian because it calms the pain by relaxing every part of the body.

Good digestion

In addition to its relaxing properties, it also promotes good digestion. In fact, it is attributed with the ability to eliminate gas and its effects on the body. All this helps when eating to take better advantage of the nutrients in the food.

Of course, this is achieved thanks to the increase of GABA that eliminates stress and facilitates the proper functioning of the rest of the body.

How is valerian consumed?

Thanks to all the positive effects that can be enjoyed with valerian, it is normal that many pharmaceutical products contain it. Now, as it is a plant, there is the possibility of having it in different presentations, such as:

Valerian tea

As it is a drink, it enters more easily into the bloodstream and allows the effect to be immediate. The infusion can be consumed both hot and cold, although experts recommend that it should be at a high temperature for a greater benefit of its properties. In fact, this is something that applies to any medicinal plant.

These valerian-based drinks can be found in different pharmacies, but it is also very easy to prepare, so it can also be made at home. It is only required to heat the water and add a little of this plant. Then, a cup should be drunk. More can be ingested during the day, if desired. It can even be added to fruit juices.

Valerian in pill form

Valerian can be found in tablet form. This greatly facilitates its consumption because it does not require prior preparation. It is enough to take it with a glass of water. Of course, it is worth mentioning that the tablet form has a slower effect, although it is just as effective.

Valerian in drops

This is a pharmaceutical product so it is necessary to follow medical recommendations in order not to abuse it. The general recommendation is to take only 6 milliliters maximum in each dose and a maximum of 3 doses per day. Similarly, there is valerian in gummies, which helps to fall asleep.

When to take valerian?

Given its great effectiveness in achieving complete relaxation, it is an excellent aid for those who suffer from anxiety or sleep problems. However, the amount and frequency to take will depend on its presentation and the purpose sought.

It should be taken when you have trouble sleeping. It is recommended to ingest 500 milligrams approximately just before going to bed, as long as it is in extract form. If the problem persists, the dose can be repeated at 12 o'clock at night.

When suffering from tension, it is recommended to consume the same amount 3 times a day, or in other words, every 8 hours.

Valerian should also be taken when suffering from stress or anxiety, or in the presence of muscular pain. To do this, you can prepare a tea. This should not exceed 3 grams of the plant in 150 cc of water. One cup should be taken every 8 hours. Those who suffer from these difficulties can also take it in juice, but only 10 milliliters or less.

Possible side effects and contraindications of valerian

It is true that valerian is very positive in many ways, but care must also be taken when consuming it. The side effects have to do with the natural relaxation it produces, which could be counterproductive. Let's see for whom it is contraindicated.

Those who take medication. If you are taking any antidepressant, antiepileptic or sleeping pills, you should not take valerian because it could multiply its effect.

Pregnant women. Neither during pregnancy nor during breastfeeding should it not be taken, because it could affect the baby.

Drivers. As it causes sleepiness, it is not advisable to take it if you are going to drive.

Valerian has many healing properties. It is a very good idea to take it every day, of course, without overdoing it and following the recommendations and precautions we mentioned before.