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Valerian as a hypnotic for Hispanic patients.

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Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Miami School of Medicine, Florida 33136, USA.


Valerian is a botanical used for its sedative effects whose central nervous system activity is ascribed to multiple constituents. Twenty-three established outpatient symptomatic Hispanic volunteers receiving mental health services at a large urban hospital participated in this case study. All complained of insufficient sleep. They were asked to try a popular national brand of valerian ("Nature's Way", 470 mg valerian root) and completed sleep questionnaires at baseline and at the end of Weeks 1 and 2. They were instructed to take 1 capsule each night before retiring and were allowed to increase their dose to a maximum of 3 capsules after Week 1. Twenty patients completed the trial. On an ordinal scale of 1 (no effect), 3 (moderately helpful), and 5 (extremely helpful), 16 patients rated their insomnia as at least "moderately improved" at the end of Week 1. By Week 2, 16 still rated themselves at least "moderately improved," but 15 of them now described their response as either a 4 or a 5. Global improvement at Week 2 was significantly better than at Week 1 (Wilcoxon ranks test p = .005), perhaps reflecting a time-dependent or dose-response relationship. This case study suggests that valerian can be a supplement for improving insomnia in a symptomatic population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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