Standardized Extract of Valeriana officinalis Improves Overall Sleep Quality in Human Subjects with Sleep Complaints: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Clinical Study

Adv Ther. 2024 Jan;41(1):246-261. doi: 10.1007/s12325-023-02708-6. Epub 2023 Oct 30.


Introduction: Sleep deficit or poor sleep leads to ill-health, whereas sleep deprivation for longer periods of time increases the risk of developing adverse conditions associated with poor quality of life, and high socioeconomic impact. The treatments for sleep disturbances include melatonin and over-the-counter medicines like diphenhydramine and doxylamine, all of which have negative side effects. Valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) is a traditional herb and the most preferred alternate sleep solution to manage sleep complaints.

Methods: Eighty adult subjects with sleep complaints were randomized in 1:1 ratio to receive either V. officinalis extract (VE) or placebo for 8 weeks in a double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel, clinical study. Primary efficacy endpoints included the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and sleep latency using wrist actigraphy (WA), as well as a number of secondary endpoints, including sleep parameters such as actual sleep time and sleep efficiency using WA, the Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS), the Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI), the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) for the feeling of waking up refreshed, and a tertiary endpoint of sleep parameters using polysomnography (PSG) in a subset of 20 subjects per group. Safety parameters included physical examination, vital sign measurements, hematology, and clinical chemistry tests. Adverse events and serious adverse events were monitored throughout the study period.

Results: Seventy-two subjects (35 and 37 subjects in the placebo and VE groups, respectively) completed the study and were included in the efficacy assessments. On Days 14, 28, and 56, the PSQI Total Score in the VE group decreased significantly (p < 0.05) compared to the placebo group. Further, the VE group showed significant improvements (p < 0.05) in sleep latency and actual sleep time on Days 3, 14, 28, and 56, and sleep efficiency on Days 14, 28, and 56, as evaluated by WA. There was a decrease (p < 0.05) in anxiety (BAI) on Days 14, 28, and 56, daytime drowsiness (ESS) on Days 28 and 56, and an increased feeling of waking up refreshed (VAS) on Days 28 and 56 compared to placebo. PSG results carried out in subset of subjects revealed significant improvements (p < 0.05) in total sleep time, sleep latency, and sleep efficiency on Day 56 in the VE group compared to the placebo group. No safety concerns were observed throughout the study.

Conclusion: VE supplementation significantly improved various subjective and objective parameters of sleep in young subjects with mild insomnia symptoms, such as overall sleep quality, sleep latency, sleep efficiency, and total sleep time. We also observed decreased anxiety and daytime sleepiness, and improved feeling of being refreshed after waking up with VE supplementation. VE was found to be safe and well tolerated throughout the study.

Trial registration: Clinical Trials Registry of India: CTRI/2022/05/042818.

Keywords: Anxiety; Insomnia; PSQI; Sleep quality; VAS; Valerian.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Quality of Life
  • Research Subjects
  • Sleep
  • Sleep Initiation and Maintenance Disorders* / drug therapy
  • Sleep Quality
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valerian*


  • Plant Extracts