The availability of herbal medicines has increased the use of natural products for self-treatment. Valerian has been used to effectively treat generalized anxiety disorder and insomnia. Studies suggest that valerenic acid may increase gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) modulation in the brain. Benzodiazepines have a similar mechanism of action and have been linked to an increased risk of hospitalizations due to traffic accidents. Despite the risk of somnolence, the safety of driving while under the influence of valerian remains unknown.
So, The side effects of valerian on subjective sedation, field sobriety testing and driving simulator performance published in The journal of Accident and Prevention set out to determine the effects of a one-time valerian dose on field sobriety testing (SFST) and driving simulator performance parameters.
"The study design was a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, cross-over trial. For each session, participants received either a dose of valerian or placebo. The outcome measures included a simple visual reaction test (SVRT), subjective sleepiness scales, SFST performance scores, and driving simulator performance parameters."
Valerian, "often used to treat insomnia, does not appear to impair driving simulator performance after acute ingestion."
- Valerian demonstrates no impairment by field sobriety testing.
- Valerian demonstrates no impairment by driving simulator performance parameters.
- Valerian demonstrates equivalence to placebo on driving simulator parameters.