Valerian root has never specifically been studied as a sedative, but because of other known effects it may be useful in this regard.
For example, its effects on the central nervous system with regard to reducing anxiety as well as inducing sleep may also make it useful as a sedative, according to Medline Plus.
Always speak with a trusted health professional before using valerian root to ease your insomnia.
Though Valerian is generally considered safe, the National Institutes of Health reports that it may cause some uncomfortable side effects, including headache, unrest and insomnia.
Using valerian with alcohol may cause excessive drowsiness, and it may enhance the effects of certain medications such as sedatives.
Treating stomach cramps was one early use, although it is no longer used in this regard today because it is ineffective.
When taken as directed, valerian root is generally regarded as safe, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.
She received a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Eastern Illinois University and is now studying for a Master of Science in medicine degree to become a physician's assistant.
Medicinal use of valerian root dates back thousands of years to the second century, but how it is used has changed significantly over time.
The potential benefit in this regard appears to be related to chemicals in the plant that bind to certain receptors in the brain, according to the University of Michigan Health System.
However, despite this effect, studies into its effectiveness in treating anxiety have not been well-designed and more research is needed to fully understand this effect, Medline Plus advises. Always consult with a doctor before using valerian to improve your symptoms.
Some scientists believe chemicals called valepotriates are responsible, while others believe the byproducts of the breakdown of valepotriates play a role, according to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.