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Valerian And Hops For Insomnia

Herbalist tradition has long recommended both hops and valerian root for relaxation and as sleep aids. Recent clinical evidence suggests that a valerian and hops combo is indeed effective as a treatment for insomnia.

Zeller AG (a Swiss corporation) manufactures a sleep aid composed of extract of valerian root and hops with the product number ZE 91019 which is sold in Europe under the name ReDormin and in the United States under the name Alluna. Each tablet of ZE 91019 consists of 250 mg of valerian root extract and 60 mg of hops extract. This is the equivalent of 1.25g of dry valerian root (valeriana officinalis) and 360mg of hops (humulus lupulus fruit). The standard dose of Ze 91019 is two tablets.

Zeller AG has conducted a number of clinical investigations of ZE 91019 the results of which have been published in peer reviewed medical journals. In 2007 Dr Uwe Koetter and colleagues published a study which found that Ze 91019 performed significantly better than a placebo in reducing the amount of time it took insomniacs to fall asleep. The same study also compared valerian alone with a placebo but did not find that valerian alone performed significantly better than a placebo on this measure.

In 2008 Dimpfel and Suter published a study on the effect of the valerian hops combo ZE 91019 on the EEGs of insomniacs. This study showed a significant improvement in the quality of sleep of insomniacs treated with the valerian hops combo ZE 91019 in comparison to a placebo.

The data on valerian alone as a sleep aid has been less conclusive than the data for the valerian hops combo ZE 91019. A 1982 controlled double blind study by Leathwood and Chauffard showed that valerian was significantly better than placebo on subjective measures of quality of sleep and difficulty in falling asleep. A 1989 study by Lindahl and Lindwall also showed significant results on similar subjective measures for a valerian preparation. A 1985 controlled double blind study by Leathwood and Chauffard showed that valerian significantly reduced the time needed to fall asleep for people with mild insomnia by 7 minutes based on objective measures.

It is hypothesized that valerian acts on the adenosine, serotonin, and melatonin receptors (Abourashed et al 2004, Dietz et al 2005, Brattström 2007, and Dimpfel et al 2006).

Although the PubMed database indexes several articles on the sedative properties of hops alone, there do not appear to have been any published placebo controlled double blind studies on the effectiveness of hops alone for treating insomnia.

As with all sedatives you should not take valerian or hops before operating an automobile or heavy machinery.

Valerian and hops appear to have no short term side effects--long term side effects are unknown as they have not yet been adequately studied.

It is not certain if valerian interacts with any prescription drugs--use caution if taken any prescription drug with valerian.

Valerian and hops are not recommended for children under the age of 14 or pregnant or nursing mothers.


Abourashed EA, Koetter U, Brattström A. (2004). In vitro binding experiments with a Valerian, hops and their fixed combination extract (Ze91019) to selected central nervous system receptors. Phytomedicine. 11(7-8), 633-8.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15636177

Bent S, Padula A, Moore D, Patterson M, Mehling W. (2006). Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 119(12), 1005-12.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17145239

Brattström A. (2007). Scientific evidence for a fixed extract combination (Ze 91019) from valerian and hops traditionally used as a sleep-inducing aid. Wien Med Wochenschr. 157(13-14), 367-70.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17704989

Dietz BM, Mahady GB, Pauli GF, Farnsworth NR. (2005). Valerian extract and valerenic acid are partial agonists of the 5-HT5a receptor in vitro. Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 138(2), 191-7.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15921820

Dimpfel W, Brattström A, Koetter U. (2006). Central action of a fixed Valerian-hops extract combination (Ze 91019) in freely moving rats. Eur J Med Res. 11(11), 496-500.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182362

Dimpfel W, Suter A. (2008). Sleep improving effects of a single dose administration of a valerian/hops fluid extract - a double blind, randomized, placebo-controlled sleep-EEG study in a parallel design using electrohypnograms. Eur J Med Res. 13(5). 200-4.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18559301

Gooneratne NS. (2008). Complementary and alternative medicine for sleep disturbances in older adults. Clin Geriatr Med. 24(1), 121-38, viii.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18035236
Free Full Text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2276624/pdf/nihms36701.pdf

Hadley S, Petry JJ. (2003). Valerian. Am Fam Physician. 67(8), 1755-8.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12725454
Free Full Text: http://www.aafp.org/afp/2003/0415/p1755.html

Koetter U, Schrader E, Käufeler R, Brattström A. ( 2007). A randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled, prospective clinical study to demonstrate clinical efficacy of a fixed valerian hops extract combination (Ze 91019) in patients suffering from non-organic sleep disorder. Phytother Res. 21(9):847-51.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17486686

Leathwood PD, Chauffard F, Heck E, Munoz-Box R. (1982). Aqueous extract of valerian root (Valeriana officinalis L.) improves sleep quality in man. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 17(1), 65-71.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7122669

Leathwood PD, Chauffard F. (1985). Aqueous extract of valerian reduces latency to fall asleep in man. Planta Med. (2), 144-8.
PubMed Info: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4034730

Lindahl O, Lindwall L. (1989). Double blind study of a valerian preparation. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 32(4), 1065-6.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2678162

Mar C, Bent S. (1999). An evidence-based review of the 10 most commonly used herbs. West J Med. 171(3), 168-71.
PubMed Info: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10560291
Free Full Text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1305802/pdf/westjmed00313-0026.pdf

Morin CM, Koetter U, Bastien C, Ware JC, Wooten V. (2005). Valerian-hops combination and diphenhydramine for treating insomnia: a randomized placebo-controlled clinical trial. Sleep. 28(11), 1465-71.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16335333

Schiller H, Forster A, Vonhoff C, Hegger M, Biller A, Winterhoff H. (2006). Sedating effects of Humulus lupulus L. extracts. Phytomedicine. 13(8), 535-41.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16860977

Shimazaki M, Martin JL. (2007). Do herbal agents have a place in the treatment of sleep problems in long-term care? J Am Med Dir Assoc. 8(4), 248-52.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17498609
Free Full Text: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1939981/pdf/nihms23843.pdf

Taibi DM, Landis CA, Petry H, Vitiello MV. (2007). A systematic review of valerian as a sleep aid: safe but not effective. Sleep Med Rev. 11(3), 209-30.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17517355

Zanoli P, Zavatti M. (2008). Pharmacognostic and pharmacological profile of Humulus lupulus L. J Ethnopharmacol. 116(3), 383-96.
PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18308492

Alluna® Sleep
Accessed July 8, 2012

Flordis Products > ReDormin
Accessed August 17, 2009

Zeller AG
Accessed August 17, 2009

Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health - Valerian
Accessed July 8, 2012

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