3.4.21 Valerian Root

Valerian Root #

Binomial / Botanical Name Valeriana Officinalis
Street Names Garden Valerian; Garden Heliotrope; All-Heal
Major Active Compound Miscellaneous
Indigenous Source Europe; Asia
Form Root
RoA Oral
Personal Rating On Shulgin Scale +*


I have previously consumed valerian as an extract, within commercially sold herbal remedies for insomnia. I recall varying degrees of success, but on occasion, a headache if I over indulged. Due to its hit and miss nature, and possible side effects, I tended to avoid regular or even periodic use.

Establishing the appropriate dose for tea made solely from the natural root was not as straight forward as it might have been. During research, I found quite a few references to valerian, with the word root absent, which seemed to refer to the extracted form. For tea comprising the native root only, there were far fewer reports. The most common recommendations, however, seemed to cite 2-3 grams for an effective cup.

After due consideration, I went for 3 grams, and weighed this in the usual manner.

I boiled the water and left it to stand for five minutes, so that it was hot, but no longer boiling. I then poured it onto the root, which I had placed in the filter on top of a cup. I immersed the filter under the water line, so that I could stir the root and infuse as much as possible from it. I stirred several times over a period of about ten minutes.

T+0:00 I begin sipping the tea. This is not a bad flavour. It is slightly woody in nature, but with no bitterness, and with a reasonable aftertaste. [8:30pm]

T+0:10 I have finished the cup, and I chew and swallow the sediment at the bottom. Again it tastes mild and palatable.

T+0:30 I do feel a slight drowsiness about the head, and some sedation. It’s very gentle, but there is something there. There also appears to be the hint of an anxiolytic undercurrent.

At this point the effects align with Erowid’s classification, which lists it as a sedative, relaxant and anxiolytic.

T+1:00 I feel weary but relaxed. I lean back in my chair wondering how much is tiredness, and how much is the effect of the tea.

I note though that this is a subtly different sort of tiredness than the weary exhaustion of recent evenings. It could currently be described as a drowsy relaxing lethargy.

T+1:10 I can safely say that my earlier conclusions were correct. I am sedated and I feel more inclined to fall into a quality sleep than I have for a while. I should add that I haven’t had enough sleep in recent days, so it is possible that this has released that need, rather than created it.

T+2:00 The initial effects have now run down a little, but I am still left with a heady relaxed sleepiness. I retire to bed. I feel no headache or negative effects thus far.

T+11:00 Surprisingly, I struggled to fall asleep. I wasn’t uncomfortable and was still slightly sedated, but I couldn’t drop off for quite a while. Neither did I achieve the full night’s deep sleep I was hoping for. It was disturbed and I woke up periodically, as I have done for the last week or so.

On the other hand, as I type these notes in the morning, I still feel comfortable and fairly relaxed, which is quite a pleasant disposition.

Overall, this was calming during a stressful period, but as a sleep aid I noticed little on this occasion.

As a sedative it was surprisingly effective. I suffered no adverse side effects, but I did feel a certain heady sensation which suggested that a higher dose might induce a headache.

I suspect it is one to try again under different life-circumstances, and possibly at a lower dose.