Valerian does not appear to reduce symptoms for patients with chronic insomnia in general practice using a series of randomised n-of-1 trials

Complement Ther Med. 2003 Dec;11(4):215-22. doi: 10.1016/s0965-2299(03)00122-5.


Objective: To investigate the effectiveness of valerian for the management of chronic insomnia in general practice.

Design: Valerian versus placebo in a series of n-of-1 trials, in Queensland, Australia.

Results: Of 42 enrolled patients, 24 (57%) had sufficient data for inclusion into the n-of-1 analysis. Response to valerian was fair for 23 (96%) participants evaluating their "energy level in the previous day" but poor or modest for all 24 (100%) participants' response to "total sleep time" and for 23 (96%) participants' response to "number of night awakenings" and "morning refreshment". As a group, the proportion of treatment successes ranged from 0.35 (95% CI 0.23, 0.47) to 0.55 (95% CI 0.43, 0.67) for the six elicited outcome sleep variables. There was no significant difference in the number (P=0.06), distribution (P=1.00) or severity (P=0.46) of side effects between valerian and placebo treatments.

Conclusions: Valerian was not shown to be appreciably better than placebo in promoting sleep or sleep-related factors for any individual patient or for all patients as a group.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bayes Theorem
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Phytotherapy*
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use
  • Plant Roots
  • Research Design
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders / drug therapy*
  • Valerian*


  • Plant Extracts