Valerian Root?!

I've been having a crappy month with EM. A whole bunch of things piling up led to some of the worst flaring I have experienced since I moved to Portland. Last night, on a whim I ordered some valerian root tea because I have been having some trouble sleeping. About half an hour later, no burning, no pain, no swelling.

Today was also EM free until three hours ago. For a little experiment I bought some valerian capsules earlier in the day, anticipating that I wasn't going to be pain free for too long. One capsule took 10 minutes to completely kill the flare. Apparently valerian works as a relaxant and a nerve tonic. Who'da thunk it? I dunno if it'll work in the long term but it's nice to know I have a relief at the moment!

Just interested to know if the valerian root is still helping you. I am thinking of giving it a try.

I am still taking it every night before bed, at a lower dose than is recommended for insomnia. I still get flares, definitely, but they are not remotely as intense. I take valerian root capsules, but the tea has also worked for me; I haven't tried any tinctures, though.

A local herbalist recommended that I space it by taking valerian every night for three weeks and then take a break or switch to some other herb (she suggested california poppy, which worked but not as noticeably as valerian) for a week because some people experience a tolerance or a possible build up (also because valerian is a sleep aid and anyone who has insomnia lasting that long should see a doctor, unlike chronic pain which is just a fact of life). I definitely feel like I have hit a point of tolerance for it, but it's stabilized well enough and isn't getting any worse now, but I am coming up on my break week and after that it works even better. As for now I don't have any of the symptoms that can happen to people who have been on it for long stretches of time, but as I mentioned the bottle says to take three caps every night and I only need one usually. I have found that taking more than I need results in a mild flare, so I stay on the side of caution with that. The california poppy, which I take by tea, does not have the same "overdose" effect and I can sip it all day.

I definitely suggest this route to anyone who is curious. A lot of people take valerian root to sleep, because it affects the nerves. This isn't disputed, it isn't a magical cure or unfounded, but when I tell people I take an herbal supplement I may as well say I am sacrificing goats in certain circles. The side effects for me (kind of felt like valium) have worn off completely and were not all that detrimental to begin with (I noticed my depression easing, and slept better; the down side is I was a little foggy for a while and somewhat dizzy, so I wouldn't drive or anything in that state but now I would), and if worse comes to worse and it isn't for you, all you have to do is stop taking it.

Hope I helped! :)

Hello Abigail.

Thanks for your reply and apologise for not to getting back to you sooner.

I have bought some valerian capsules (450mg) and am wondering what strength you take. At present I am on a recently increased dose of Amiltriptyline (25mg) and as they both have a sedative effect it would be unwise to take them together. The Amil is not helping as much as it first did and I am having more flares despite the increased dose and they are lasting on average 8 hours. Sometimes just one foot will flare and just as that one finally fades the other foot starts up for another 8 hours of misery.

I'll maybe try one capsule of valerian instead of the Amil but would appreciate your reply on the amount you take before I do.

Thanks for your help


The capsules I take are by the brand Nature's Way and are 530mg. Doubling up on anything sedative probably wouldn't be the best idea as you have said, but it may be worth it to try valerian instead for a couple days; with the flares you are already experiencing the question becomes "what is there to lose?".

Hello Abigail.

Thanks for that information and so quick!

I saw you were online earlier but had to close down as I had to go out otherwise I would have tried the chat facility. I had a feeling there would be a message from you when I got back.

The walk involved during my trip out brought on a flare so I am all set for a relaxing evening - not!!

When I give the Valerian a try I will let you know how I got on.

Thanks for your help.


Here is some additional information on valerian: