ISSN 1214-0287 (on-line), ISSN 1214-021X (printed)
J Appl Biomed
Volume 8 (2010), No 1, p 11-18
DOI 10.2478/v10136-009-0002-z

Biomedically relevant chemical constituents of Valeriana officinalis

Jiri Patocka, Jiri Jakl

Address: Jiri Patocka, Faculty of Health and Social Studies, University of South Bohemia in Ceske Budejovice, Czech Republic

Received 24th July 2009.
Revised 15th October 2009.
Published online 1st December 2009.

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Valerian is used to treat sleeping disorders, restlessness and anxiety, but it seemsonly to work when taken over long periods (several weeks). Some studies have demonstrated that valerian extracts interact with the GABA and benzodiazepine receptors. Valerian is also used traditionally to treat gastrointestinal pain and spastic colitis. There are no long term safety studies. Valerian contains over 150 chemical constituents and many of them are physiologically active, mainly pyridine alkaloids, some organic acids and terpenes, especially the so called valepotriates, esterified iridoid-monoterpenes. As valepotriates may be potential mutagens, valerian should only be used after consultation with a physician. Valerian medication is sometimes recommended as first line treatment when the benefit-risk relation requires it and is often indicated as transition medication during the discontinuation processes involving bromazepam, clonazepam and diazepam, among others.

Valeriana officinalis; valerian; chemical constituents; alkaloids; terpenes; valepotriates

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