Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) a flowering plant native to Europe and Asia, has been used as a folk remedy since the time of the ancient Greeks and Romans. It was used to treat a variety of ailments including sleep problems and anxiety. A professional review of valerian as a sleep aid was conducted by Australian Family Physician. In a review of sixteen studies that met the review criteria, twelve were found to assist with improvements on sleep parameters. Sleep parameters that were assessed were total sleep time, length of time to fall asleep, sleep quality, and awakenings. Many of the valerian only participants noted a subjective improvement in sleep quality. These studies included the use of valerian or a valerian-hops combination as part of the study protocol. Side effects noted included allergic dermatitis and more vivid dreams. Author's noted that valerian may be an appropriate alternative to pharmaceuticals for sleeplessness. Although the studies reviewed were double blind placebo controlled, study authors also commented that more high quality studies were needed.
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Source: Australian Family Physician Vol. 39, No . 6, june 2010