Herbal infusions or “teas” containing valerian have been promoted to help with insomnia—but is it safe and effective? A PharmD answers via Medscape.

Strictly speaking, herbal teas for sleep are not teas; they are herbal infusions.

True teas are made from the leaves of the tea plant, Camellia sinensis, and all types of tea—black, green, white, and oolong—contain varying amounts of caffeine (unless chemically decaffeinated). “Tea” has come to mean a beverage prepared by soaking an herb in water, also called “steeping.”