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.
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PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15636177
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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
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PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15921820
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PubMed Abstract: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17182362
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Accessed July 8, 2012
Flordis Products > ReDormin
Accessed August 17, 2009
Accessed August 17, 2009
Office of Dietary Supplements - National Institutes of Health - Valerian
Accessed July 8, 2012