Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2023

Valerian is an herb that is often used as a dietary supplement, most commonly as a sleep aid. The official name is Valeriana officinalis, and it has been used medicinally for thousands of years. Most supplements of valerian are made from the roots and underground stems of the plant, which are used to make capsules, tablets, teas, and liquid extracts.1 Some people use valerian as a natural remedy to ease their migraine symptoms.

Valerian for migraine

It is not known how valerian works to ease migraine symptoms in some sufferers. Many of the compounds present in valerian are believed to have sedative and relaxing effects. This may lead to the relief of migraine headache symptoms.

There have not been high quality studies of valerian for the use of relieving migraine attacks, and few studies on valerian for other conditions have been conducted. There is no scientific evidence supporting the use of valerian for migraine, anxiety, insomnia, menopausal symptoms, or other conditions.1

Community Poll

Was Valerian effective in relieving your migraine symptoms?

Side effects and other precautions

Valerian is considered generally safe to take by healthy adults in small doses for a limited time. Few side effects have been noticed with valerian, including:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Stomach problems
  • Hepatotoxicity1

These are not all the possible side effects of valerian. Patients should talk to their doctor about what to expect with valerian as treatment.

Who should not take valerian?

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breastfeeding, you must consult your doctor before taking valerian because the supplement’s impact on the developing baby has not been studied.

Inform your doctor about any other medications or supplements you take before taking valerian. It’s interactions with other products haven’t been widely studied, so it could affect the way your other treatments react in your body.

Community Poll

How would you rate the side effects you experienced with Valerian?

As always, the best source for advice on treating migraine is your own migraine specialist. These descriptions of natural remedies are provided only for informational purposes. You should begin no medication or supplement without first checking with your health care provider and should let them know of any other prescriptions, OTCs, and herbals you are taking to ensure there are no interactions.

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