Get access

Valerian for anxiety disorders

  • Review
  • Intervention




Anxiety disorders are very common mental health problems in the general population and in primary care settings. Herbal medicines are popular and used worldwide and might be considered as a treatment option for anxiety if shown to be effective and safe.


To investigate the effectiveness and safety of valerian for treating anxiety disorders.

Search methods

Electronic searches: The Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCDANCTR-Studies and CCDANCTR-References) searched on 04/08/2006, MEDLINE, Lilacs. References of all identified studies were inspected for additional studies. First authors of each included study, manufacturers of valerian products, and experts in the field were contacted for information regarding unpublished trials.

Selection criteria

Randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and quasi-randomised trials of valerian extract of any dose, regime, or method of administration, for people with any primary diagnosis of general anxiety disorder, anxiety neurosis, chronic anxiety status, or any other disorder in which anxiety is the primary symptom (panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, other types of phobia, postraumatic stress disorder). Effectiveness was measured using clinical outcome measures and other scales for anxiety symptoms.

Data collection and analysis

Two review authors independently applied inclusion criteria, extracted and entered data, and performed the trial quality assessments. Where disagreements occurred, the third review author was consulted. Methodological quality of included trials was assessed using Cochrane Handbook criteria. For dichotomous outcomes, relative risk (RR) was calculated, and for continuous outcomes, the weighted mean difference (WMD) was calculated, with their respective 95% confidence intervals.

Main results

One RCT involving 36 patients with generalised anxiety disorder was eligible for inclusion. This was a 4 week pilot study of valerian, diazepam and placebo. There were no significant differences between the valerian and placebo groups in HAM-A total scores, or in somatic and psychic factor scores. Similarly, there were no significant differences in HAM-A scores between the valerian and diazepam groups, although based on STAI-Trait scores, significantly greater symptom improvement was indicated in the diazepam group. There were no significant differences between the three groups in the number of patients reporting side effects or in dropout rates.

Authors' conclusions

Since only one small study is currently available, there is insufficient evidence to draw any conclusions about the efficacy or safety of valerian compared with placebo or diazepam for anxiety disorders. RCTs involving larger samples and comparing valerian with placebo or other interventions used to treat of anxiety disorders, such as antidepressants, are needed.








電子搜尋:The Cochrane Collaboration Depression, Anxiety and Neurosis Cochrane Controlled Trials Register (CCDANCTRStudies and CCDANCTRReferences)以 MEDLINE, Lilacs搜尋於04/08/2006。審視所有可辨認研究的引用文獻來找尋更多的研究。聯絡納入研究的第一作者、valerian製品的製造商、及這領域中的專家以求得未發表的試驗資料。


隨機控制試驗或類似隨機控制試驗,研究valerian抽取物的劑量、食用、及給予方式,對象是任何主要診斷為廣泛性焦慮病、神經性焦慮、慢性焦慮狀態、或任何疾病其焦慮為主要症狀(panic disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social phobia, agoraphobia, other types of phobia, postraumatic stress disorder)。療效評估使用臨床結果的評估及其他焦慮症狀的量表。


兩位文獻回顧作者獨立使用納入條件來抽取及鍵入數據,及評估試驗品質。當意見不合時,第三位文獻回顧作者會被諮詢。納入試驗的方法學品質以Cochrane Handbook criteria來評估。對於二分法變項以相對風險來計算,而連續性變項則以加權平均差來計算,兩者均使用95%的信賴區間。


一個符合受入條件的隨機控制試驗有36個廣泛性焦慮症的患者。這是針對valerian、diazepam及安慰劑,共4週的先驅研究。在HAMA總分或身體及精神方面的分數,valerian組及安慰劑組的比較沒有明顯的差異。同樣在HAMA分數上,valerian組及diazepam組的比較也沒有顯著的差異,雖然diazepam組由STAITrait 分數上可見明顯症狀的改善。在副作用報告數及退出率的比較上,三組沒有顯著的差異。





此翻譯計畫由臺灣國家衛生研究院(National Health Research Institutes, Taiwan)統籌。



Plain language summary

Valerian for anxiety disorders

Anxiety disorders are a very common mental health problem in the community. Most of the medications used to treat anxiety have side effects. Valerian is a phytotherapeutic medication frequently used for insomnia. The aim of this study was to investigate the efficacy and safety of valerian for anxiety disorders. Only one study was identified, involving 36 patients and comparing valerian with placebo and diazepam. This study found no significant differences in effectiveness between valerian and placebo, or between valerian and diazepam, for clinician-rated anxiety symptoms, and that both valerian and diazepam were equally well tolerated by patients. However, additional studies with larger numbers of patients are necessary before drawing conclusions about the effectiveness and safety of valerian as a treatment option for anxiety disorders.