Valerian

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

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 problems1

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.

Young children, particularly those under age 3, shouldn’t take Valerian because it hasn’t been adequately studied in children.

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.

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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 physician.

Written by: Emily Downward | Last review date: May 2018
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