How long does valerian root stay in your system?

2023-10-20 14:32:48

Valerian root is an herbal supplement that has been used for centuries to promote relaxation and sleep. But how long do the compounds in valerian root actually stay in your system after taking it? In this article, we’ll explore what valerian root is, how it works, dosage guidelines, and exactly how long it remains in your body. We’ll also discuss the safety of valerian, potential side effects, and how it compares to other sleep aids like melatonin. Read on to learn more about the time course of valerian root and how to use it effectively as a natural sleep aid.


What is Valerian Root?

Valerian root comes from the imperishable flowering factory Valeriana officinalis, native to Europe and corridor of Asia. The root of the valerian factory has been used in traditional drug as a opiate, anticonvulsant, migraine treatment and pain reliever1. Valerian root contains a number of active constituents including valerenic acid, isovaleric acid, linarin, and valerenal1.

These compounds work together to produce valerian’s depressant effects on the central nervous system. In particular, valerenic acid helps increase attention of gamma- aminobutyric acid( GABA) in the brain which regulates whim-whams impulses and has a comforting effect1. The antioxidant parcels of valerian root may also promote sleep by scavenging free revolutionaries.

How Does Valerian Root Work?

Valerian Extract Powder works primarily by increasing levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter GABA in the brain to promote calmness and relaxation1. It also binds to GABA receptors to improve receptor efficiency1. This interaction with GABA is believed to be the main mechanism behind valerian root’s anxiolytic and sleep-enhancing effects.

Valerian may also modestly inhibit the breakdown of GABA in the brain, causing more GABA to be available in the synaptic cleft between neurons1. The combination of increased GABA synthesis and inhibited reuptake leads to higher GABA concentrations overall which helps initiate sedation.

In addition, compounds like valerenic acid have been found to inhibit enzyme-induced breakdown of GABA in the brain which helps augment its soothing effects1. So valerian root essentially enhances GABA activity through multiple mechanisms to support deeper, less disrupted sleep.

Dosage of Valerian Root

Typical dosages of valerian root can range from 300 mg to 900 mg taken either once daily or divided into two separate doses taken twice per day1. The most commonly studied dosage for insomnia is 400-900 mg taken right before bedtime. For anxiety, shorter-term use of 300-600 mg divided into 3 daily doses is recommended.

Some herbal medicine practitioners may recommend even higher doses of 1,000 to 1,500 mg but these should be supervised by a doctor. It’s best to start with the lowest effective dose when using valerian root. Also note standardized valerian root extracts which contain higher concentrations of the key active constituents may require lower doses than dried whole root preparations.

How Long Does Valerian Root Take to Work?

Unlike some herbal supplements that can take weeks to work, valerian root tends to work relatively fast with effects felt within 1-2 hours of ingestion1. However, Valerian Standardized Extract may need to be taken consistently for 2-4 weeks to notice sustained improvements in sleep quality and duration1. The acute calming and sedative effects of valerian root are most pronounced within the first few hours after taking it, especially when combined with decreased sensory stimulation at bedtime.

How Long Does Valerian Root Stay in Your System?

The constituents in valerian root are broken down and eliminated from the body at different rates. This makes it difficult to pinpoint exactly how long valerian stays in your system as a whole. However, pharmacokinetic studies have helped provide estimates for the half-lives of the primary components.

Valerenic acid has an extremely variable half-life ranging from 1-3 hours1. Isovaleric acid is eliminated faster with a half-life of 15-30 minutes1. The valepotriates including valtrate and didrovaltrate have slightly longer half-lives of 1-3 hours1. Based on the metabolism of these primary actives, clinical studies indicate that valerian root tends to stay in your system for approximately 4-6 hours after ingestion123.

However, traces of some metabolites may be detectable for 24 hours before being fully eliminated1. The soothing effects on sleep generallypersist for 4-5 hours but can occasionally last up to 8 hours when higher doses are taken1. To maintain adequate levels, it is best to take valerian root right before bedtime rather than during the day.

Is Valerian Root Safe?

At recommended doses, valerian root is very safe for short-term and sporadic use1. There's a low threat of side goods or medicine relations. The US Food and Drug Administration has approved valerian root as GRAS( Generally honored as safe-deposit box) and the German Commission E has also authorized valerian use1.

However, pregnant women, young children and those with severe liver disease should avoid valerian root due to lack of safety research. Extended use beyond 2-4 consecutive weeks is not recommended either until more studies confirm long-term safety1. Speak to your doctor before taking valerian root if you have any chronic medical conditions or take other medications.

Will Valerian Root Make Me Groggy The Next Day?

Valerian root is less likely to cause next-day drowsiness than many prescription sleep aids because it is not a potent chemical sedative1. The mild depressant effects of valerian tend to dissipate within 6-8 hours without causing heavy sedation or impairment the following day. However, some reports of morning grogginess are possible with very high doses of valerian.

To minimize morning hangover effects, keep your dosage on the lower end of the recommended range and give your body an adjustment period of a few weeks when first starting valerian root. Avoid combining valerian root with other sleep-promoting supplements as well. Also test out valerian on a weekend when you can sleep in and see how you feel the next morning.

What Happens If You Stop Taking Valerian Root Suddenly?

One major advantage of valerian root is that it does not cause dependency with habit-forming use, so there are no withdrawal effects if you stop suddenly1. Occasional short-term use does not alter GABA function in the brain. However, if valerian root has been taken regularly for more than 2 months, stopping abruptly could temporarily worsen sleep for a few nights as the body readjusts. Taper use over 1-2 weeks instead by gradually decreasing the dosage.

What Are The Symptoms Of Too Much Valerian Root?

Valerian Root Extract Bulk is generally safe at the recommended therapeutic dosages. However, excessively high doses can increase the risk of side effects like dizziness, headaches, nausea, blurred vision, restlessness and cardiac disturbances1. Overdose symptoms may resemble those of benzodiazepine tranquilizers since both drugs influence GABA activity1. Seek medical care if you experience severe fatigue, abdominal cramps, chest tightness or tremors.

What Happens If You Take Valerian Every Day?

Taking valerian root daily is not advised for longer than a few weeks due to lack of data on long-term safety. Prolonged daily use could lead to dependence and tolerance meaning larger doses would be required for the same effects. The body may also stop responding effectively to valerian’s natural sedative properties over time. Therefore, it is best to limit valerian root to short-term use for acute insomnia or anxiety.

Is It OK To Take Valerian Root Every Night?

While valerian root may seem natural, taking it every night is generally not recommended. Frequent use beyond 2-4 weeks can increase the risk of dependence and diminished effectiveness. Plus scientists still do not know the consequences of prolonged exposure to valerian’s active compounds.

It is considered safer to reserve valerian root for occasional use when sleeplessness or anxiety flares up. Turn to healthier sleep hygiene practices like limiting screens before bed and establishing a calming pre-sleep routine as go-to solutions instead. For chronic insomnia, speak to your doctor about alternatives to daily valerian use.

Is Valerian Better Than Melatonin?

Valerian root and melatonin are both natural sleep aids but they work differently in the body. Melatonin helps regulate sleep-wake cycles by mimicking the behavior of the circadian rhythm hormone1. Valerian enhances GABA activity to induce sedation. Melatonin may help more with sleep onset while valerian improves sleep quality and duration once asleep1.

Melatonin tends to act faster with less potential for side effects. But some find melatonin loses effectiveness over time or causes vivid dreams. So there is no definitive “better” option – it depends on your specific needs and response. Alternating or combining melatonin and valerian under medical supervision can help prevent tolerance to either.

Can Valerian Root Reduce Anxiety?

Multiple studies confirm valerian root’s anti-anxiety benefits in addition to improving sleep2. For anxiety relief, doses of 300-600 mg taken 3 times per day for 1-2 months have been effective without sedation2. However, results vary significantly. Other anxiolytics like lemon balm and L-theanine may pair better with valerian for anxiety during the daytime versus solely nighttime use for insomnia. Always check with a doctor before using valerian root for anxiety disorders.


Valerian root has a long history of traditional use for its soothing effects. Modern research corroborates valerian’s ability to improve sleep quality and reduce anxiety through interactions with the neurotransmitter GABA. The main active ingredients of valerian remain in the body for roughly 4- 6 hours, with goods felt within 1- 2 hours after ingestion. While generally safe for short- term use, long- term diurnal input of valerian can increase the threat of side goods and reduced efficacity. Speak with your doctor to determine if valerian root is an appropriate occasional sleep aid for your needs.

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1. Krenn L. Valerian root for sleep disorders: back to the future. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2020;16:1121-1132. Published 2020 May 8.

2. Mirabi P, Dolatian M, Mojab F, Majd HA. Effects of valerian on the severity and systemic manifestations of dysmenorrhea. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2011;115(3):285-288.

3. Ortiz JG, Nieves-Natal J, Chavez P. Effects of Valeriana officinalis extracts on [3H]flunitrazepam binding, synaptosomal [3H]GABA uptake, and hippocampal [3H]GABA release. Neurochem Res. 1999;24(11):1373-8.