Last update June 11, 2022


Low Risk

Possibly safe. Probably compatible. Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended. Read the Comment.

Roots, rhizomes and stolons of the plant are used. It contains iridoids, valepotriates, valerenic acid, steroids, essential oils, GABA and tannins ( Unproven beneficial effects in adults: sedative, hypnotic, anti-spasmodic (MayoClinic 2018, EMA 2016, MedlinePlus 2014, EMEA 2010, , WHO 1999 p267). Indication after Commission E of German Ministry of Health: insomnia, nervousness, anxiety. (Blumenthal 1998)

At last update significant data on breastfeeding were not found.

A commonly used herb in many cultures and countries, even during pregnancy and breastfeeding (Zaffani 2006) without clear evidence of its efficacy (Taibi 2007, Bent 2006, Prescrire 2005) or its safety. (Kennedy 2013, Sachs 2013, Consolini 2010, Cuzzolin 2010, Holst 2008, Tesch 2003)

There are very few serious side effects reported, such as liver and pancreatic toxicity (Douros 2013, Bunchorntavakul 2013, Teschke 2012, Cohen 2008) and it has little risk if if not abused. (MedlinePlus 2014, EMEA 2010, Taibi 2007)

Moderate use is considered to be compatible with breastfeeding, however because of the possibility of sedative effect in infants should better be avoided in cases of prematurity and in the neonatal period (Royal W.2013). Be aware of sedative effects in the infant.


Precautions when taking plant preparations (Anderson 2017, Powers 2015, Posadzki 2013, Efferth 2011, Kopec 1999, Hsu 1995):

  • Make sure they are from a reliable source: poisonings have occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties (Hsu 1995), poisonings due to containing heavy metals extracted from the soil, and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi. (Anderson 2017)
  • Do not take in excess; follow the recommendations of expert phytotherapy professionals. “Natural” products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which much of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause poisoning or act as endocrine disruptors if consumed in quantity or for an exaggerated time because they contain phytoestrogens. (Powers 2015, Zava 1998)



  • Lorazepam ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)
  • Zopiclone ( Safe. Compatible. Minimal risk for breastfeeding and infant.)

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM team of health professionals, and are based on updated scientific publications. It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it. The pharmaceutical industry contraindicates breastfeeding, mistakenly and without scientific reasons, in most of the drug data sheets.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Valerian is also known as

Valerian in other languages or writings:


Valerian belongs to these groups or families:


Main tradenames from several countries containing Valerian in its composition:


Variable Value Unit
Tmax Ac.Val: 1 - 2 hours
Ac.Val: 0.5 -1.5 hours


  1. Vanaclocha B, Cañigueral S. 1992 - - Disponible en: Consulted on Dec. 21, 2023 Abstract
  2. Bauer BA. (Mayo Clinic). Valerian: A safe and effective herbal sleep aid? Mayo Clinic. 2018 Full text (link to original source)
  3. Bauer BA. (Mayo Clinic) La valeriana: ¿es un somnífero natural seguro y eficaz?. Mayo Clinic 2018 Full text (link to original source)
  4. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  5. EMA. European Union herbal monograph on Valeriana officinalis L., aetheroleum. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) 2016 Full text (in our servers)
  6. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. Medline Plus Valerian Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information 2014 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  8. Medline Plus Valeriana Medicinas, hierbas y suplementos 2014 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  9. Posadzki P, Watson LK, Ernst E. Adverse effects of herbal medicines: an overview of systematic reviews. Clin Med (Lond). 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source)
  10. The Royal Women’s Hospital Victoria Australia. Herbal and Traditional Medicines in Breasfeeding. Fact Sheet. 2013 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. Douros A, Bronder E, Andersohn F, Klimpel A, Thomae M, Ockenga J, Kreutz R, Garbe E. Drug-induced acute pancreatitis: results from the hospital-based Berlin case-control surveillance study of 102 cases. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Abstract
  12. Kennedy DA, Lupattelli A, Koren G, Nordeng H. Herbal medicine use in pregnancy: results of a multinational study. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  13. Bunchorntavakul C, Reddy KR. Review article: herbal and dietary supplement hepatotoxicity. Aliment Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. Posadzki P, Watson L, Ernst E. Contamination and adulteration of herbal medicinal products (HMPs): an overview of systematic reviews. Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2013 Abstract
  15. Sachs HC; Committee On Drugs. The transfer of drugs and therapeutics into human breast milk: an update on selected topics. Pediatrics. 2013 Sep;132(3):e796-809. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  16. Teschke R, Wolff A, Frenzel C, Schulze J, Eickhoff A. Herbal hepatotoxicity: a tabular compilation of reported cases. Liver Int. 2012 Abstract
  17. Efferth T, Kaina B. Toxicities by herbal medicines with emphasis to traditional Chinese medicine. Curr Drug Metab. 2011 Abstract
  18. Cuzzolin L, Francini-Pesenti F, Verlato G, Joppi M, Baldelli P, Benoni G. Use of herbal products among 392 Italian pregnant women: focus on pregnancy outcome. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2010 Abstract
  19. Consolini AE, Ragone MI. Patterns of self-medication with medicinal plants and related adverse events--a South American survey. Curr Drug Saf. 2010 Abstract
  20. COMMITTEE ON HERBAL MEDICINAL PRODUCTS Valerian Root EMEA 2010 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  21. COMITÉ DE MEDICAMENTOS A BASE DE PLANTAS Valeriana EMEA 2009 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  22. Cohen DL, Del Toro Y. A case of valerian-associated hepatotoxicity. J Clin Gastroenterol. 2008 Sep;42(8):961-2. Abstract
  23. Holst L, Nordeng H, Haavik S. Use of herbal drugs during early pregnancy in relation to maternal characteristics and pregnancy outcome. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2008 Abstract
  24. Taibi DM, Landis CA, Petry H, Vitiello MV. A systematic review of valerian as a sleep aid: safe but not effective. Sleep Med Rev. 2007 Abstract
  25. Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W. Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2006 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  26. Zaffani S, Cuzzolin L, Benoni G. Herbal products: behaviors and beliefs among Italian women. Pharmacoepidemiol Drug Saf. 2006 Abstract
  27. [No authors listed] Management of insomnia: a place for traditional herbal remedies. Prescrire Int. 2005 Abstract
  28. Anderson GD, Elmer GW, Kantor ED, Templeton IE, Vitiello MV. Pharmacokinetics of valerenic acid after administration of valerian in healthy subjects. Phytother Res. 2005 Abstract
  29. Tesch BJ. Herbs commonly used by women: an evidence-based review. Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2003 Abstract
  30. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume I. WHO monographs 1999 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  31. Kopec K. Herbal medications and breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 1999 Jun;15(2):157-61. Review. No abstract available. Abstract
  32. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  33. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, Gruenwald J, Hall T, Riggins CW, Rister RS, editors. The American Botanical Council. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. 1st ed. Integrative Medicine Com; Boston, MA, USA: 1998
  34. Hsu CK, Leo P, Shastry D, Meggs W, Weisman R, Hoffman RS. Anticholinergic poisoning associated with herbal tea. Arch Intern Med. 1995 Abstract
  35. MacGregor FB, Abernethy VE, Dahabra S, Cobden I, Hayes PC. Hepatotoxicity of herbal remedies. BMJ. 1989 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  36. Houghton PJ. The biological activity of Valerian and related plants. J Ethnopharmacol. 1988 Abstract

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