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Valerian root is an herbal supplement, commonly used to treat mental strain, anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, lack of concentration, stress, nervous stomach, menopause and premenstrual syndrome. Although the supplement is herbal, it should be treated as a medication when used for medicinal purposes. Allergic reactions have been reported by people who have taken the supplement 2. If you believe you’re experiencing an allergic reaction to valerian, you should call your doctor immediately. Not all allergic reaction symptoms are severe, but it should still be reported.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Signs of an allergic reaction to valerian root can develop within a few minutes of taking the supplement or up to an hour afterward. Signs can be minor to severe and may appear as a side effect. Any time you develop an adverse reaction, you need to call your doctor for further evaluation. Allergy signs to valerian root can begin as minor and continue to develop into more severe reactions. Most signs will affect your respiratory system, skin and gastrointestinal tract. In limited cases, you can develop a severe allergic reaction while taking the supplement.
- Signs of an allergic reaction to valerian root can develop within a few minutes of taking the supplement or up to an hour afterward.
- In limited cases, you can develop a severe allergic reaction while taking the supplement.
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If you have an allergic reaction to valerian root, it’s because your immune system mistakes it as an intruding substance that could potentially harm the body. Your immune system protects your body from infectious organisms, such as viruses, bacteria and toxins. If your immune system identifies the valerian root as a potentially harmful substance it will develop immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies to fight it off. When this occurs, the body responds to the IgE antibodies by production histamine, a chemical that’s released in soft tissue that results in inflammation and swelling.
- If you have an allergic reaction to valerian root, it’s because your immune system mistakes it as an intruding substance that could potentially harm the body.
- If your immune system identifies the valerian root as a potentially harmful substance it will develop immunoglobulin E, or IgE antibodies to fight it off.
Respiratory symptoms are the result of swelling in your airways and sinus cavity. You can become short of breath, begin wheezing and coughing due to constriction in your breathing. If your sinuses become inflamed, you will develop nasal congestion, sinus headaches, facial pressure and post-nasal drip. The skin can become inflamed and irritated, forming rashes, such as hives, eczema and general skin itching. Digestive complications may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, cramping and nausea.
- Respiratory symptoms are the result of swelling in your airways and sinus cavity.
- The skin can become inflamed and irritated, forming rashes, such as hives, eczema and general skin itching.
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These are signs of anaphylaxis, an extreme allergic reaction that affects your entire body that is considered life-threatening. Go to the emergency room or call 911 at the first signs of these symptoms.
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- Drugs.com: Valerian Root; Dec. 15, 2010
- MedlinePlus: Allergic Reactions; Feb. 28, 2011
- Leach MJ, Page AT. Herbal medicine for insomnia: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews. 2015;24:1-12. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2014.12.003
- National Institutes of Health. Valerian.
- Savage K, Firth J, Stough C, Sarris J. GABA-modulating phytomedicines for anxiety: A systematic review of preclinical and clinical evidence. Phytother Res. 2018;32(1):3-18. doi:10.1002/ptr.5940
- Jenabi E, Shobeiri F, Hazavehei SMM, Roshanaei G. The effect of Valerian on the severity and frequency of hot flashes: A triple-blind randomized clinical trial. Women & Health. 2017;58(3):297-304. doi:10.1080/03630242.2017.1296058
- National Capital Poison Center. Valerian Benefits and Risks.
- Kia YH, Alexander S, Dowling D, Standish R. A case of steroid-responsive valerian-associated hepatitis. Intern Med J. 2016;46(1):118-9. doi:10.1111/imj.12952
- Serrano J. LiverTox: An online information resource and a site for case report submission on drug-induced liver injury. Clinical Liver Disease. 2014;4(1):22-25. doi:10.1002/cld.388
- Wanwimolruk S, Prachayasittikul V. Cytochrome P450 enzyme mediated herbal drug interactions (Part 1). EXCLI J. 2014;13:347-91.
- American Family Physician. Valerian.
- US Pharmacopeia. Dietary Supplements & Herbal Medicines.
- Baek, J.; Nierenberg, A.; Kinrys, G. et al. Clinical applications of herbal medicines for anxiety and insomnia; targeting patients with bipolar disorder. Aust N Zealand J Psychiatry. 2014:48(8):705-15. doi:10.1177/0004867414539198.
Diane Marks started her writing career in 2010 and has been in health care administration for more than 30 years. She holds a registered nurse license from Citizens General Hospital School of Nursing, a Bachelor of Arts in health care education from California University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in health administration from the University of Pittsburgh.