Effects of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) on tension-type headache: A randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind clinical trial

Document Type : Original Research Article


1 Research Institute for Islamic and Complementary Medicine, School of Persian Medicine, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

2 Faculty of Persian and Complementary Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran

3 Department of Neurology, Shams Hospital, Mashhad, Iran


Objective: Tension-type headache is the most frequent type of headache. Considering the effectiveness of Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) in treatment of some types of headache, the effect of valerian root was studied in patients with tension-type headache.
Materials and Methods: The current study is a double-blind randomized clinical trial that was conducted in Shams Hospital of Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran, from January to June 2018. We included 88 participants with tension-type headache and randomly assigned them to intervention and control group by block randomization in a 1:1 ratio. The intervention group received Sedamin® capsule (530 mg of valerian root extraction) while the placebo group received 500 mg of breadcrumbs both given as two capsules daily for a month -after dinner. The headache impact on activity of daily livings performance, headache disability, and headache severity were measured using questionnaires in baseline and one month after intervention in both groups.
Results: The average age (±SD) of the participants was 34.9 (±8.7) years old. After one month, the impact of headache on daily livings performance, significantly reduced in intervention group (mean=51.2) versus the placebo (mean=57.0), (p<0.001). There was a significant reduction in disability in intervention group (mean=22.9) compared to the placebo (mean=27.4) (p<0.001) and the severity score showed significant reductions in intervention group (mean=3.5) versus the placebo group (mean=5.1) (p<0.001).
Conclusion: The present trial showed that valerian capsule could reduce the headache impact on daily livings performance, disability and severity of tension-type headache.


Carlini EA. 2003. Plants and the central nervous system. Pharmacol Biochem Behav, 75: 501-512.
Cheshti MA. 2007. Exir-e Azam,Soda. pp.58-62, Tehran, Iran Univ of Med Sci, Institute for Islamic and Complement Med.
Eskandari Z, Mirzaei B, Arazi H. 2017. The effect of eight weeks of aerobic training and complementary plant supplements (Indian Valerian and Melissa Officinalis) on migraine. Armaghane Danesh, 22: 442-458.
Hazelhoff B, Malingré TM, Meijer DK. 1982. Antispasmodic effects of valeriana compounds: An in-vivo and in-vitro study on the guinea-pig ileum. Arch Int Pharmacodyn Ther, 257: 274-287.
Houghton PJ. 1999. The scientific basis for the reputed activity of Valerian. J Pharm Pharmacol, 51: 505-512.
Jacobs BP, Bent S, Tice JA, Blackwell T, Cummings SR. 2005. An internet-based randomized, placebo-controlled trial of kava and valerian for anxiety and insomnia. Medicine, 84: 197-207.
Miguel H, Feistel B, Hartwig S, Romanus L, Mirjam H, Hilke W. 2008. Extracts of Valeriana officinalis L. S.L. show anxiolytic and antidepressant effects but neither sedative nor myorelaxant properties. Phytomedicine, 15: 2-15.
Mirabi P, Dolatian M, Mojab F, Majd HA. 2011. Effects of valerian on the severity and systemic manifestations of dysmenorrhea. Int J Gynaecol Obstet, 115 : 285-288.
Mirzaee MG, Kheiri S, Bahrami M. 2015. Effect of valerian capsules in patients with migraine attacks treated with sodium valproate: a randomized clinical trial. J Shahrekord Univ of Med Sci, 16: 119-126.
Morazzoni P, Bombardelli E. 1995. Valeriana officinalis: Traditional use and recent evaluation of activity. Fitoterapia, 66: 99-112.
Murakami N, Ye Y, Kawanishi M, Aoki S, Kudo N, Yoshida M, Nakayama EE, Shioda T, Kobayashi M. 2002. New rev-transport inhibitor with anti-HIV activity from Valerianae Radix. Bioorg Med Chem Lett, 12: 2807-2810.
Nunes A, Sousa M. 2011. Use of valerian in anxiety and sleep disorders: what is the best evidence? Acta medica portuguesa, 24: 961-966.
Pilerood SA, Prakash J. 2013. Nutritional and medicinal properties of valerian (Valeriana officinalis) herb: A review. Int J Food Sci Nutr Diet, 1: 25-33.
Sarris J, Panossian A, Schweitzer I, Stough C, Scholey A. 2011. Herbal medicine for depression, anxiety and insomnia: a review of psychopharmacology and clinical evidence. Eur Neuropsychopharmacol, 21: 841-860.
Taavoni S, Ekbatani N, Haghani H. 2012. Effect of Sedamin capsule on sleep disorder among menopausal women. J Gorgan Univ of Med Sci, 14: 39-45.
Taavoni S, Ekbatani N, Kashaniyan M, Haghani H. 2011. Effect of valerian on sleep quality in postmenopausal women: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Menopause, 18: 951-955.
McCabe S. 2002. Complementary herbal and alternative drugs in clinical practice. Perspect Psychiatr Care, 38: 98-107.
Balaban H, Senturk IA, Kavakci O, Cinar Z, Dikici A, et al. 2012. Migraine prevalence, alexithymia, and post-traumatic stress disorder among medical students in Turkey. J Headache Pain, 13: 459-467.
Becker H, Chavadej S. 1985. Valepotriate production of normal and colchicine-treated cell suspension cultures of Valeriana wallichii. J Nat Prod, 48: 17-21.
Bjorner JB, Kosinski M, Ware JE Jr. 2003. Calibration of an item pool for assessing the burden of headaches: An application of item response theory to the Headache Impact Test (HIT™). Qual Life Res, 12: 913-933.
Carlsson AM. 1983. Assessment of chronic pain. I. Aspects of the reliability and validity of the visual analogue scale. Pain, 16: 87-101.
Evans RW EJ, MN. 2000. Rosenthal RC Handbook of Headache. Philadelphia: Lipphncott Willams and Wilkins, 80-81.
Ghorbanifar Z, Delavar Kasmaei H, Minaei B, Rezaeizadeh H, Zayeri F. 2014. Types of nasal delivery drugs and medications in Iranian traditional medicine to treatment of headache. Iran Red Crescent Med J, 16: e15935.
Isetts BJ. 2007. Valerian. Herbal Products, Springer: pp. 55-70.
Jacobson GP, Ramadan NM, Aggarwal SK, Newman CW. 1994. The Henry Ford hospital headache disability inventory (HDI). Neurology, 44: 837-843.
Jacobson GP, Ramadan NM, Norris L, Newman CW. 1995. Headache disability inventory (HDI): Short‐term test‐retest reliability and spouse perceptions. Headache. J of Head and Face Pain, 35: 534-539.
Jia JN, Zhang BH. 1999. Effect of valerian extract (V3d) on cardiovascular system [J]. J Guangxi Coll Tradit Chin Med, 16: 40-42.
Kasper DL FA, HS, Lango DL, Jameson JL, Lascalzo J. 2016. Harrisons principles of internal medicine. migrain and other Primary Headache disorders, Ebook convertion by CodeMantra.Version 1. 19th Edition. 17: 2593-2594.
Kosinski M, Bayliss MS, Bjorner JB, Ware JE Jr, Garber WH, Batenhorst A, Cady R, Dahlöf CG, Dowson A, Tepper S. 2003. A six-item short-form survey for measuring headache impact: The HIT-6. Qual Life Res, 12: 963-974.
Nachit-Ouinekh F, Dartigues JF, Henry P, Becg JP, Chastan G, Lemaire N, El Hasnaoui A. 2005. Use of the headache impact test (HIT‐6) in general practice: relationship with quality of life and severity. Eur J Neurol, 12: 189-193.
Jugran AK, Rawat S, Bhatt ID, Rawal RS. 2018. Valeriana Officinalis: a review of its traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology. Asian J Pharma Clin Res, 11: 36-41.
Nazari F, Safavi M, Mahmudi M. 2010. Migraine and its relation with lifestyle in women. Pain Pract. 10: 228-234.
Olesen J. 2018. International classification of headache disorders. Lancet Neurol, 17: 396-397.
Organization WH. 2000. General guidelines for methodologies on research and evaluation of traditional medicine, Geneva: World Health Organization.
Oshima Y, Matsuoka S, Ohizumi Y. 1995. Antidepressant principles of Valeriana fauriei roots. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo), 43: 169-174.
Sajadinezhad M, Mohammadi N, Ashjazadeh N. 2007. The evaluation of psychometric properties of headache disability inventory in the headache patients. J Shahrekord Univ of Med Sci, 9: 55-62.
Zandifar A, Banihashemi M, Haghdoost F, Masjedi SS, Manouchehri N, Asgari F, Najafi MR, Ghorbani A, Zandifar S, Saadatnia M, White MK. 2014. Reliability and validity of the Persian HIT‐6 questionnaire in migraine and tension‐type headache. Pain Pract, 14: 625-631.