Valerian for migraines

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 is a perennial plant that is originally from Europe and Asia, but is now grown in North America also.

Valerian has also been used, applied to the skin to help with sores and acne. When it is swallowed it has not only been used for insomnia, but also anxiety, congestive heart failure, chest pain, digestive problems and gas.

Most supplements of Valerian, for migraines and other uses, are made from the roots, underground stems and horizontal stems of the plant.

A 2002 survey from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health Interview Survey found that 6% of the 30,000 people polled have tried valerian.

Valerian for migraines—how does it work

Scientists and researchers are not sure 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 on people who take it. This may lead to the relief of migraine headache symptoms.

Formulations of Valerian available

  • Tablets
  • Capsule
  • Tea
  • Liquid
  • Drops
  • Cut and sifted Valerian root

Side effects and other precautions

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Itching
  • Stomach problems
  • Unsteadiness
  • Low body temperature
  • Excitability, uneasiness

Although Valerian is used for sleep problems, when used for longer than a couple of months it may cause more sleeping difficulties.

Who should nottake Valerian

If you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding, 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 hasn’t been widely studied, so it could affect the way your other treatments react in your body.

Valerian may also make it difficult to concentrate. People must also be careful when driving or operating machinery.

Some people may experience withdrawal symptoms if Valerian is stopped suddenly.

As always, the best source for advice on treating your migraines 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. Again, this information should in no way substitute or be mistaken for medical advice.