Thankfully there are now tests being done on herbal remedies. This is allowing for a better understanding of proper safe dosing and potential adverse effects. In the case of valerian, a potent and often hypnotic herb that is commonly used for assistance with sleep troubles, determining the proper dosage and length of use are critical when using it as a long term sleep aid in order to avoid both valerian overdose and also ensure that the proper herb is being consumed in order to gain maximum benefit.
Using valerian for sleep is not a new concept and the practice has been going on for hundreds of years. The flowering valerian plant has also been used as a perfume, although the flowers were utilized for this purpose. The exact method in which valerian induces sleep is still largely unknown, but it’s thought that it’s interface with GABA receptors are responsible for its sedative like effects.
When it comes to valerian dosage for sleep, or, at least correct dosage, there are some things to consider. The current acceptable safe quantity is between 400 and 900 mg of extract anywhere between half an hour to two hours before bedtime. Why such a big range? Well, many reasons. For one thing, valerian dosage for sleep depends on how hard of a time you have sleeping. Are you lying in bed for 3 hours or simply finding that you have trouble winding down in the evening? It may also have to do with body mass. Consider a 300 pound male’s needs versus those of a very small female that weighs a hundred and a quarter pounds. Their intakes can vary significantly. The 400-900 mg range is merely the smallest effective amount (400 mg) and the largest safe amount (900 mg) and finding the correct valerian dosage for you. It is advisable to start at the lower end of the range 2 hours before bedtime to see how the smaller valerian dosage affects you, and then work your way up from there once you are comfortable with your tolerance. You will find that no matter which dose you are comfortable with, using the herb over a period of two weeks consistently is required to achieve maximum benefit. Using valerian once may not provide any substantial benefit.
Following dosing instructions with valerian is very important, even though it is considered safe when used correctly. Taking too much can lead to tummy aches and sadness. Valerian side effects in the case of excessive use or overdose, especially in people on antidepressants, are more significant and include mild depression and anxiousness.
Even though valerian is generally completely safe, it should not be used by pregnant women or those taking certain kinds of medications or people with certain health conditions. This is why it is very important to discuss any supplements and herbal remedies with your health care provider before taking them. Drug and condition interactions can be very dangerous and even life threatening.