Which valerian root supplements are best?
For centuries, people have turned to the valerian root to promote relaxation and ensure a good night’s sleep without the use of medication. This flowering herb grows in Europe, North America and Asia and is often sold in the form of tea bags or capsules.
Unlike some traditional medicines, valerian root has been popular for many years, which means there is a ton of research to consider before making a purchase. If you want a supplement that is both potent and affordable, check out Now Foods Valerian Root Herbal Supplement.
What to know before you buy a valerian root supplement
What is valerian root?
Valerian is a flowering plant that is commonly found in herbal remedies and stress support supplements. Since ancient Greece and Rome, practitioners of traditional medicine have used the roots of the valerian plant as a treatment for insomnia and anxiety. While modern medicine has trouble explaining exactly how the remedy works, some scientists believe it increases the amount of gamma-aminobutyric acid in your brain. This chemical, otherwise known as GABA, promotes a feeling of calm and may even have a sedative effect in high doses.
When dried and prepared into a tea or capsule, the root has a distinct smell that many people find unpleasant. To make it more appealing, many companies may add ingredients like rose hips or cinnamon to herbal blends containing valerian root.
Benefits of valerian root
While scientists generally agree that valerian root is effective as a natural sleep aid, there is some evidence that the herb could contain additional benefits. Always talk with your doctor before treating yourself with an herbal remedy, particularly if you’re already taking prescription medication.
- Anxiety: Some studies have shown that valerian root can be a safe alternative to a prescribed medication when treating the symptoms of anxiety and stress.
- Menstrual cramps: One clinical trial indicated that taking valerian root in capsule form could reduce the severity of menstrual cramps.
- Hot flashes: There is also evidence that ingesting valerian root supplements could result in fewer hot flashes for people experiencing menopause.
Risks and side effects
Despite the purported benefits of taking valerian root supplements, there are some potential side effects to consider. Headaches, dizziness and an upset stomach could occur. People who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not take valerian root supplements. It is considered rare, but there have also been reports of liver damage among people ingesting large amounts of valerian root.
What to look for in a quality valerian root supplement
Like most supplements and herbal remedies, valerian root can appear in a wide variety of different forms, including capsules and powders. It is also commonly sold in the form of tea bags or dried leaves that can be brewed with a strainer. Keep in mind that many people do not enjoy the smell of valerian root tea, and you won’t receive as many of the purported benefits because you are ingesting an infusion rather than the actual plant.
If you do decide to purchase a valerian root supplement in the form of a tea, look for a blend that includes other flavors like chamomile or lavender. This will improve the taste and might even add additional relaxation benefits.
The recommended dosage can vary widely, but the majority of valerian root supplements contain about 300-600 milligrams per serving. Others may contain 1,000 milligrams or more.
How much you can expect to spend on a valerian root supplement
The cost of a valerian root supplement typically depends on the dosage and how many servings are included in a container. A bottle of capsules is usually around $5-$25, while a box of valerian root tea bags is typically $5-$10.
Valerian root supplement FAQ
How long does valerian root take to kick in?
A. For best results, take a valerian root about 1-2 hours before bedtime. Keep in mind that it may take a few weeks before you feel the effects.
Why does valerian root smell bad?
A. The strong, unpleasant smell of valerian root actually occurs because of the same oils that are responsible for its sleep benefits.
What’s the best valerian root supplement to buy?
Top valerian root supplement
What you need to know: Manufactured by a well-known supplement provider, these valerian capsules each contain 500 milligrams of the root.
What you’ll love: Now Foods uses an entirely vegan formula, and none of its supplements contain gluten or genetically modified organisms. Several users called this the best valerian supplement that they have ever tried.
What you should consider: A few people thought that these valerian capsules had an unpleasant taste.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Top valerian root supplement for the money
What you need to know: These tea bags use a responsibly-sourced herbal blend to promote a healthy sleep cycle.
What you’ll love: The affordable herbal tea contains ingredients like chamomile flowers, lavender flowers, licorice root and natural almond flavor, resulting in a soothing blend that cuts through the distinct smell of valerian and promotes relaxation. One of these boxes contains 20 individual tea bags.
What you should consider: This valerian root tea is less potent than other herbal supplements.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Valerian root supplement worth checking out
What you need to know: This liquid valerian root extract can be added to beverages without any unpleasant taste or smell.
What you’ll love: One serving contains 1,000 milligrams of valerian root extract, and the formula is alcohol-free and verified to contain no GMOs. The company’s proprietary cold extraction process results in a supplement that is very pure with no additives.
What you should consider: The bottle and accompanying dropper can leak if you aren’t careful, and one serving is 35 drops, which can be difficult to measure.
Where to buy: Sold by iHerb
Sign up here to receive the BestReviews weekly newsletter for useful advice on new products and noteworthy deals.
Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
Copyright 2021 BestReviews, a Nexstar company. All rights reserved.