Kratom & Valerian Root: Can You Use the Two Together?
Valerian, also known as Valeriana officinalis, is an herb native to Europe and certain parts of Asia. The plant has a long history of use as a sedative and remedy for insomnia, anxiety, and other health concerns.
Some people combine it with kratom to increase its sedative effects. However, while anecdotal evidence suggests they can be safely taken together, no studies have been made on how both substances work and interact in the system.
In this article, we’ll delve into these herbs and their side effects, how they interact with one another, and how safe it is to mix them.
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Does Kratom Interact With Valerian Root?
Kratom interacts with valerian root both antagonistically and agonistically. There are no studies on the safety of combining both herbs. Because of this, the risk of interaction is low to medium, but always get a doctor’s opinion before combining them, especially if you are taking other medications.
Valerian is not significantly metabolized through the same enzymes as kratom — particularly CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 . Consequently, there should be little to no metabolic competition between the two.
Usually, kratom and valerian root interact like this:
1. Increased Effect (Agonistic Interaction)
Kratom, particularly red-veined strains, have a similar effect as valerian root, as both are highly sedating. Combining both substances increases these relaxing effects and the chances of suffering side effects or an overdose.
2. Decreased Effect (Antagonistic Interaction)
Some kratom strains, especially the white-veined ones, are potent stimulants. Also, low doses of most kratom varieties provide energy boosts.
If combined with valerian root, it is highly likely that both herbs will negate each other’s effects, and you will not fully experience the benefits of either.
Also, keep in mind that neither kratom nor valerian root is an FDA-approved substance, so there are no industry regulations on their production and distribution. It’s crucial that you check the quality and look for trusted products before consumption.
Kratom & Herbal Supplements’ Interactions
Valerian root is an alternative medicine typically used to treat sleep problems, mainly insomnia. It is commonly sold as a herbal supplement and can be taken as a tea, in capsules, tablets, essential oils, or tinctures .
Combining kratom with valerian root presents no substantial risks, at least in average doses and when used short term. There are no studies made regarding the interaction of these herbs, so all evidence we found is anecdotal.
According to people who have tried them together, you should be fine if you dose them responsibly and watch for side effects. Remember to start with low amounts, increasing them gradually as you see fit.
Nevertheless, always consult a doctor first to be completely safe, especially if you take other medications.
What Is Valerian Root?
Valerian root is a herb sold in the US as a dietary supplement. The plant is native to Europe and Asia, and its roots have been used as a medicinal herb since Ancient Greece.
Several different varieties of valerian exist, with Valerian officinalis being the most commonly used in Western medicine. Unlike the plant’s flowers, the roots have a characteristic pungent smell that some people find very unpleasant.
Two kinds of chemicals in valerian root are responsible for the sedative effect. It’s still unclear how this happens; most studies concluded it is due to multiple chemicals.
The first category is valerenic acid and its derivatives, which induce sedation in animals. The second category is the iridoids and valepotriates, which have also been tested and found to act as sedatives.
Valerian Root Specifications:
Slight CYP3A4 and CYP2D6 interaction
Interaction With Kratom
Slight metabolic competition. Significant agonistic or antagonistic interaction depending on the dose.
Risk of Interaction
What Is Valerian Root Used For?
The most common use of valerian root is to increase the quality of sleep, and fight insomnia, as it improves sleep latency, or the time it takes for a person to fall asleep [3, 4].
It’s also commonly used to help with anxiety and depression since it has fewer side effects than traditional medication. Valerian root also relieves PMS and other menopausal disorders and improves brain function.
What’s the Dose of Valerian Root?
The dose of valerian root depends on the way it is administered. Recommended doses for capsules are around 450 mg a day, with some herbalists recommending up to 800 mg a day. It can be spread over a few times a day or as a full dose before sleep.
Other recommended doses are 3-9 g of dried root, 2-6 mL of liquid extract, or 1-15 mL of tincture per day. Higher intakes of valerian cause sleepiness and a ‘hangover’ effect the day after taking them.
It’s important to remember that the FDA does not regulate valerian root. As a result, there isn’t much research on its effects, and the product quality and potency can significantly vary between different producers.
Generic & Brand Name Versions
Valerian comes in different formats. The most popular one is capsules, and though many different brands exist, they all offer the product under the name “valerian root,” so it’s easy to identify it.
It’s also commercialized as a liquid extract, dried root powder, or tinctures, though these are less common than pills or capsules.
Valerian is available under the following names:
What Are the Side Effects of Valerian Root?
Valerian is usually well-tolerated when used short term, and it doesn’t carry significant side effects. However, some users may experience some adverse effects, usually when taking high doses of the herb.
Common side effects include dizziness, headaches, mental dullness, and vivid dreams. It may also cause withdrawal symptoms if you’ve been taking it for a long time.
What Is Kratom?
Kratom is an evergreen tree that grows in Southeast Asia and has been used for centuries as traditional medicine in that part of the world. It has many health benefits, and it can act as a stimulant and a sedative, depending on the strain and dosage.
What’s Kratom Used For?
Primarily, kratom acts as a pain reliever. In low doses, it also works as a mild stimulant and can be used to replace caffeine. Higher doses and certain kratom strains have a potent sedative effect and can be used to fight insomnia.
Kratom has recently been gaining popularity as an alternative natural remedy to alleviate anxiety symptoms, chronic muscle and nerve pain, and even as a workout supplement.
What’s the Dose of Kratom?
The recommended dose of kratom powder depends on your body weight and the effect you’re looking for. Simply put, consider 2-6 grams as a low dose and 8 grams or higher as heavy or high doses.
Though the effects also depend on the strain, low doses provide energy and help enhance focus, and average to high doses promote sedative effects and relieve pain.
It’s common to feel lethargy or persistent drowsiness, issues mostly associated with strains used for pain relief and sedation. These side effects can be avoided by spacing out your doses or outright reducing the dose — which also helps you avoid developing an addiction or tolerance.
Addiction is the most severe side effect but is avoidable with proper use.
Those in need of relaxation typically use red vein strains. Consequently, many use them before sleep or as a painkiller. Low doses of red strains usually have an energetic effect, with larger amounts providing strong sedation.
C) Green Vein Kratom
Green-veined strains are considered balanced and versatile and are especially useful for beginners, as they are generally milder than other varieties. They are the most affordable and commonly found strains.
E) Yellow Vein Kratom
Yellow vein kratom is not a variety but the blending of two or more different kratom strains. The resulting mix is usually colored yellow by mixing white and green strains, thus its name. This blend will have the effects of the combined strains but is commonly used for anxiety relief.
Key Takeaways: Is it Safe to Mix Kratom & Valerian Root?
With careful use, there seem to be minimal risks associated with mixing kratom and valerian root. However, both herbs can potentiate each other’s effects — in high kratom doses or red-veined strains.
Kratom’s more stimulating varieties or small doses will probably cancel some of the valerian’s sedative properties, as they provide energy boosts.
The side effects of both herbs are very similar, which means that combining them is likely to increase the chance of experiencing these unpleasant sensations. These effects, however, can be easily avoided by carefully measuring the doses of both substances.
Always consult a physician before taking both substances together, especially if you take any other medication that affects the nervous system.
Anna Bogacz, Przemyslaw M. Mrozikiewicz, Monika Karasiewicz, Joanna Bartkowiak-Wieczorek, Marian Majchrzycki, Przemyslaw L. Mikolajczak, Marcin Ozarowski, and Edmund Grzeskowiak. The Influence of Standardized Valeriana officinalis Extract on the CYP3A1 Gene Expression by Nuclear Receptors in In Vivo Model. Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 819093.
National Institutes of Health, Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets, Valerian, 2013.
Murti, K., Kaushik, M., Sangwan, Y., & Kaushik, A. (2011). Pharmacological properties of Valeriana officinalis-a review. Pharmacologyonline, 3, 641-646.
Valerian for insomnia: a systematic review of randomized clinical trials, C. Stevinson, E. Ernst, 2000.
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