The Side Effects of Valerian Root

Photo credit: Bigstockphoto
Photo credit: Bigstockphoto

Valerian root is an herb derived from the Valerian plant. The valerian plant is native to Europe and certain parts of Asia. The herb has been used for centuries as an anticonvulsant, migraine treatment, and pain reliever. Although the valerian root is used in a variety of treatments, it’s prized for its calming, sedative-like effects.

Using this herb is relatively safe. However, certain studies found that valerian root may interact negatively with certain drugs. Also, it may cause mild to severe side effects to individuals who are sensitive to the herb’s active ingredients. So it’s important to know the effects of valerian roots before taking it. In today’s post, we are listing down all the side effects of valerian root:

Natural Diuretic

Valerian root is a diuretic. It works by eliminating excess water from the body. And that can be a good thing and a bad thing. Using a diuretic helps minimize water weight. That’s why you can expect to visit the restroom often after taking this herb. But at the same time, it could lead to dehydration. As such, you have to replenish lost fluids by drinking more water.

Drug Interactions

Various type of drugs do not mix well with valerian root. According to an article published on WebMD, valerian root should never be taken together with anxiety medications, barbiturates, and benzodiazepines. Below is a list of drugs that should never be taken together with this herb:

  • Lovastatin
  • Ketoconazole
  • Itraconazole
  • Fexofenadine
  • Triazolam
  • Antihistamines
  • Sedatives
  • Sleeping pills
  • Anti-depressants

If you are undergoing an operation, let your doctor know if you’ve used valerian root a few days prior to the procedure. The herb may potentially boost the potency of anesthesia, causing severe medical complications.

Withdrawal Symptoms

According to the American Cancer Society, valerian root contains compounds that trigger withdrawal symptoms when you stopped taking it suddenly. These symptoms include headaches, sluggishness, and fatigue. If you’re using valerian root regularly, you’ll have to work with a physician to gradually wean yourself off the herb.

Drowsiness

Valerian root is prized for its sedative-like effects. But if you’re operating a heavy machinery or you’re driving, do not take this herb. It will cause drowsiness, daytime sleepiness, and sluggishness. Using valerian root may also cause short-term memory loss. Doctors recommend taking valerian root only at night, right before going to bed.

Allergic Reaction

If you experienced headaches, restlessness, irregular heartbeat, and sleeplessness, stop taking valerian root. Although allergic reactions are rare, keep an eye out for unusual symptoms. Even better, consult your doctor first prior to taking this herb.

Paradoxical Effects

The most common effects of valerian roots are drowsiness and daytime sleepiness. However, there are cases wherein people felt the exact opposite. They become restless, anxious, and stressed out. So while valerian root may be effective as a calming drug for some, it won’t work for others.

Finally, if you are pregnant or you are nursing, stop taking valerian root. According to the Office of Dietary Supplements, while the herb is safe for most people, it might not be safe for developing fetus or babies. In addition, children under the age of three years old should not take valerian root.


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