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Taking Valeriana for Anxiety While Breastfeeding...okay?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I'm suffering from major anxiety that I just can't sake off. My family has suggested taking Valeriana ticture....but no one knows if it's okay while breastfeeding. Have any of you mamas taken this for anxiety while breastfeeding? Thank you !!!!
post #2 of 14
From most of what I have read it seems to be safe while breastfeeding. I take it sometimes when I have trouble sleeping. One possible concern would be that it's really not known how much of it transfers in the milk, so it could possibly cause drowsiness in babe, which could increase risk for SIDS in young infants. How old is your nursling? I waited taking it until after my LO was over a year old, just to be on the safe side; I also didn't really have much if any insomnia until he was well over a year old anyway.
Another thing to keep in mind is that you should not take it if you will be driving or operating machinery while it is working. It definitely causes drowsiness, it is really meant for use as a sleep aid from my understanding. Although possibly at (very) low doses it might work for anxiety during the day time.
As anecdotal evidence that it does get in the milk, I wanted to add that I take a tincture that is really meant for kids (2 and over I think; my nursling (DS) is now 3 years old). I have given it to DS directly (at the appropriate dose) when he had a lot of trouble sleeping, and it actually seems to help him sleep more when I take it and he gets some through my milk than when he takes (the exact same stuff) directly! On a few occasions I have taken some to help him sleep...

HTH
post #3 of 14
sorry to hijack but I've been curious about something. I like to drink celestial seasonings extra sleepy time tea and it has valerian root in it...any idea if this is ok? I'm EBFing an 11mo
TIA
mspastor17- sorry to hear about your troubles....I hope it gets better for you. Maybe consider going to see a naturopath? Anxiety is not fun
post #4 of 14
I think it is OK.

Valium ® is made from Valerian Root. I would think the herb would be fine. Watch your baby for side-effects as excessive sleepiness and drowsiness and ask your doctor/pediatrician. An ask a herbalist for good measure and maybe a medical specialist connected with LLLI. How are you taking it? As a tea or tincture?

I would think it would be better than taking Zoloft or some other anti-depressant, anti-anxiety prescription drug during breastfeeding.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
Valium ® is made from Valerian Root.
Would you mind posting your reference for this? I'm really interested in medicines that come from plants, and I have never heard of Valium/diazapam being isolated from Valerian. The last I read about the subject was that many chemicals had been isolated, but the sleep inducing mechanism was still unknow.
post #6 of 14
''Although chemically unrelated to the tranquilizer Valium, Valerian has been nicknamed "the Valium of the nineteenth century." In fact, it is said that Valium was named for Valerian. Valerian is a safe and natural alternative to sedative drugs like Valium''


Capsule: Take as directed or one capsule three times daily.
Infusion: One cup before bedtime.
Tincture: One teaspoon three times daily.
Extract: One to two ml 30-45 minutes before bedtime.


Valerian has been a popular calming and sleep-promoting agent for over 1,000 years. Several different sources consider this safe for use by breastfeeding moms. Side effects occur particularly with long-term use and include headaches (rare), heart palpitations (rare) and insomnia (rare). Monitor your baby for drowsiness. One caution: apparently it has a very strong (unpleasant) smell, even in capsule form, and it seems possible that the smell/flavor might transfer to your milk. If this happens, your baby might not like the taste.

According to Hale, valerian root toxicity appears to be low, with only minor side effects reported. No data are available on the transfer of valerian root compounds into breastmilk, and no pediatric concerns have been reported. However, the use of sedatives in breastfeeding mothers is generally discouraged, due to a possible increased risk of SIDS.

Some components display cytotoxic and mutagenic activity in vitro. Although these effects have not been reproduced in vivo even at high doses (1350 mg/kg), valerian probably should not be used by pregnant women. Valerian should not be taken with other sedatives or before driving or in other situations when alertness is required.

kellymom.com



http://www.herbalhut.com/valerian.htm
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by applejuice View Post
I think it is OK.

Valium ® is made from Valerian Root. I would think the herb would be fine. ...

I would think it would be better than taking Zoloft or some other anti-depressant, anti-anxiety prescription drug during breastfeeding.
I'm really surprised to read that first assertion too.

Herbs are NOT automatically safer than lab-made molecules. Zoloft has likely been studied a lot more than Valerian. Zoloft IS safe.
post #8 of 14
vAlerian has been used since the days of Hippocrates and Galen. I would think that 3000 years of use would trump the use of a recently developed antidepressant any day.

I guess when the FDA is involved, it does not.
post #9 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by elizaMM View Post
Herbs are NOT automatically safer than lab-made molecules. Zoloft has likely been studied a lot more than Valerian. Zoloft IS safe.

Yep.
post #10 of 14
Have you tried Rescue Remedy? That's totally safe while BF. I used it while pregnant and it worked extrememly well for me.

Anxiety stinks! Hang in there!!!!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 

Thank you all-? for leafwood

First thank you all sooooo much. To answer your questions. My ds is almost 3months old only and I can't imagine giving up breastfeeding to be on anti-anxiety medicine. I'm terrified with the choice of taking something and worring about SIDS or going through this horrible anxiety and all of its ups and downs. I have the Valeriana in tincture but I just found it in tea form at the health food store. There was no caution label for pregnant or nursing moms-so it couldn't be that strong???? I think I'll call the company and ask.

Leafwood what who makes the resuce product you're talking about and what dose did you take.

Thank you all so much-you have no idea
MP
post #12 of 14
Hey, MP!

Thought you might like reading this article from Mothering...

http://www.mothering.com/articles/ne...stfeeding.html

take care,
carla
post #13 of 14
MP, have you talked to someone about the anxiety? Sometimes it helps to discuss it with a breastfeeding friendly person like a La Leche League leader. You may be surprised to find out that it is not such a rare thing to become anxious post partum, and you may find other women who have been through it to talk to in real life. Plus MDC is great too!
Take care.
post #14 of 14
I use Valerian root tincture for headaches on occasion--I researched it and everything I came across said it was fine and it's never bothered my ds. I would take it first during the day when you can monitor how your baby reacts, as well as how you react. Valerian root is considered the "herbal valium", however, it actually has the opposite effect on about 5% of people who take it, basically acts like a stimulant. Also, the necessary dosage it unique to each person. There are a lot of milder nervines you could use throughout the day that will help calm you. I enjoy chamomile, catnip, fennel, and lavender tea. I use equal parts the first three and a little lavender. You can drink up to a quart of this tea a day and all the herbs are super gentle, even for babe, and also increase milk production.
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