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Valeriana officinalis

Valeriana officinalis (*)

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Campanulids
Ordo: Dipsacales

Familia: Caprifoliaceae
Subfamilia: Valerianoideae
Genus: Valeriana
Species: Valeriana officinalis

Valeriana officinalis L. (1753).

Astrephia chinensis Dufr.
Valeriana alternifolia Bunge
Valeriana alternifolia var. angustifolia (Kom.) S. H. Li
Valeriana alternifolia f. angustifolia (Komarov) M. Kitag.
Valeriana alternifolia subsp. pseudocoreana V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana alternifolia subsp. stubendorfiana (Sumn.) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana alternifolia subsp. stubendorfii (Kreyer ex Kom.) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana alternifolia f. verticillata (Kom.) S. X. Li
Valeriana altissima Bess.
Valeriana angustifolia Tausch ex Host
Valeriana baltica Pleijel
Valeriana chinensis Kreyer ex Kom.
Valeriana coreana Briquet
Valeriana coreana subsp. badzhalensis V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana coreana subsp. leiocarpa (Kitag.) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana coreana subsp. pseudoumbrosa (Vorosch.) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana coreana subsp. sachalinensis (Hara) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana divaricata Hinter
Valeriana exaltata J. C. Mikan ex Pohl
Valeriana fauriei Briq.
Valeriana fauriei subsp. badzhalensis (Vorosch.) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana fauriei f. coreana (Briq.) H. Hara
Valeriana fauriei var. dasycarpa H. Hara
Valeriana fauriei var. leiocarpa (M. Kitag.) M. Kitag.
Valeriana fauriei subsp. sachalinensis (Hara) V. N. Voroshilov
Valeriana jacutica Sumn.
Valeriana leiocarpa Kitag.
Valeriana lucida Hort. Par. ex DC.
Valeriana major Pall.
Valeriana multiceps Wallr.
Valeriana nipponica Nakai ex Kitag.
Valeriana officinalis var. alternifolia Ledeb.
Valeriana officinalis var. altissima W. D. J. Koch
Valeriana officinalis var. angustifolia Hayne
Valeriana officinalis subsp. baltica (Pleijel) A. & D. Löve
Valeriana officinalis subsp. dunensis P. D. Sell
Valeriana officinalis var. exaltata (Mikan fil. ex Pohl) Kostel.
Valeriana officinalis subsp. exaltata (Mikan fil.) Soó
Valeriana officinalis var. latifolia Miq.
Valeriana officinalis var. latifolia Vahl
Valeriana officinalis var. sarkanyi Soo
Valeriana officinalis var. simplicifolia Ledeb.
Valeriana palustris Kreyer
Valeriana pinnata Gilib.
Valeriana pseudofficinalis C. Y. Cheng & H. B. Chen
Valeriana pseudoumbrosa Vorosh.
Valeriana pulchra Nakai
Valeriana sambucifolia Eichw.
Valeriana sambucifolia var. dasycarpa (Hara) H. Hara
Valeriana sambucifolia var. fauriei (Briq.) H. Hara
Valeriana sambucifolia var. sachalinensis Hara
Valeriana sinensis J. F. Gmel.
Valeriana stubendorfiana Sumnev.
Valeriana stubendorfii Kreyer ex Kom.
Valeriana stubendorfii f. angustifolia Kom.
Valeriana stubendorfii f. verticillata Kom.
Valeriana sylvestris Garsault.
Valeriana sylvestris Groschke
Valeriana tenuissima Schur
Valeriana tianschanica Kreyer ex Hand.-Mazz.
Valeriana vulgaris Bub.

Native distribution areas:

Continental: Europe
E-Europe, SE- & EC-Europe, extending to S-Sweden, the S-Alps, Spain, Andorra, Portugal, France, Albania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Germany, Bosnia & Hercegovina, etc.
Continental: Asie
Turkey (E-Anatolia, Inner Anatolia, NE-Anatolia, NW-Anatolia: Bithynia, WN-Anatolia), Iran (Iranian Aserbaijan), Armenia, Georgia [Caucasus], Azerbaijan, Northern Caucasus, European Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Tibet, Mongolia, China (Anhui, Chongqing, E-Gansu, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, W-Hubei, W-Hunan, Jiangxi, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, NW-Sichuan, Zhejiang), Taiwan, Tibet, Siberia (W-Siberia, C-Siberia), Russian Far East (incl. Sakhalin), Japan (Hokkaido, Honshu, Shikoku, Kyushu), North Korea, South Korea

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 31. Reference page.


Hassler, M. 2019. Valeriana officinalis. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2019. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Aug. 28. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2019. Valeriana officinalis in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Aug. 28. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2019. Valeriana officinalis. Published online. Accessed: Aug. 28 2019.
Tropicos.org 2019. Valeriana officinalis. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published on the internet. Accessed: 2019 Aug. 28.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Valeriana officinalis in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service. Accessed: 09-Oct-10.

Vernacular names
العربية: ناردين مخزني
azərbaycanca: Dərman pişikotu
беларуская: Валяр'ян лекавы
български: лечебна дилянка, Валериана
bosanski: Odoljen
català: Valeriana vera
čeština: kozlík lékařský
чӑвашла: Кушак ути
Cymraeg: Triaglog gyffredin
dansk: Læge-Baldrian
Deutsch: Echter Baldrian, Katzenkraut, Stinkwurz, Hexenkraut, Augenwurzel, Mondwurz, Bullerjan, Tolljan, Katzenwargel, Arzneibaldrian
Ελληνικά: Βαλεριάνα, Αγριοζαμπούκος
English: garden valerian, garden heliotrope, all heal, cat's valerian
español: valeriana común, valeriana de las boticas, valeriana medicinal, valeriana, alfeñique, hierba o yerba de los gatos
eesti: Palderjan, Harilik palderjan
euskara: Belar bedeinkatu
فارسی: سنبل‌الطیب, سنبل الطیب, سنبل طیب
suomi: Rohtovirmajuuri
français: Valériane Officinale, Herbe aux Chats, Herbe de Saint-Georges, Herbe à la Femme Meurtrie, Valériane à petites feuilles, Valériane sauvage, Valériane des collines, Valeriane officinale
Gaeilge: Caorthann corraigh
galego: Herba benta
עברית: ולריאן רפואי, ולריאן
hrvatski: Valerijana
hornjoserbsce: Lěkarski bałdrijan
magyar: Orvosi macskagyökér
Bahasa, Indonesia: Akar Valerian
íslenska: Garðabrúða
italiano: Valeriana Comune, Erba dei Gatti
日本語: セイヨウカノコソウ, ケッソウ, バルドリアン, 纈草, 吉草
қазақша: Түйіншөп
한국어: 설령쥐오줌풀
кыргызча: Мышык тамыр
lietuvių: Vaistinis valerijonas
latviešu: Ārstnieciskais baldriāns, Baldriāns, Ārstniecības baldriāns
эрзянь: Боза тикше
norsk bokmål: legevendelrot
नेपाली: सुगन्धवाल
Nederlands: Echte Valeriaan, Valeriaan
norsk nynorsk: Lækjevendelrot
norsk: Legevendelrot
polski: Kozłek Lekarski
پښتو: طبي والرين
português: Valeriana
română: Valeriană, Valeriana
русский: Валериана лекарственная, Валерьяновые капли, Валерианы лекарственной корневища с корнями, Корневища с корнями валерианы, Валерьянка
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Valerijana, Odoljen, Odolen, Macina trava
slovenčina: valeriána lekárska
slovenščina: Baldrijan, Zdravilna špajka
српски / srpski: одољен, Валериан, Valerijana, Valerianaofficinalis, Macina trava, Makebohija
svenska: Läkevänderot, Vendelört, Äkta vänderot
Türkçe: Kedi otu
удмурт: Писэйтурын
українська: Валеріана лікарська
Tiếng Việt: Nữ lang
中文(简体): 缬草
中文(繁體): 纈草
中文(臺灣): 纈草
中文: 纈草, 鹿子草, 欧缅草, 缬草

Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant native to Europe and Asia.[1] In the summer when the mature plant may have a height of 1.5 metres (5 feet), it bears sweetly scented pink or white flowers that attract many fly species, especially hoverflies of the genus Eristalis.[2] It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species, including the grey pug.

Crude extract of Valerian root may have sedative and anxiolytic effects, and is commonly sold in dietary supplement capsules to promote sleep.[1] Its roots and leaves are also used for a catnip-like euphoria on many cats not affected by catnip.

Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed in the wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the "envy" of the elves.[3] In the 16th century, the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed Valerian tea for a sick woman.[4]

John Gerard's Herball, first published in 1597, states that his contemporaries found Valerian "excellent for those burdened and for such as be troubled with croup and other like convulsions, and also for those that are bruised with falls." He says that the dried root was valued as a medicine by the poor in the north of England and the south of Scotland, so that "no broth or pottage or physical meats be worth anything if Setewale [Valerian] be not there".[5][6]

The seventeenth century astrological botanist Nicholas Culpeper thought the plant was "under the influence of Mercury, and therefore hath a warming faculty." He recommended both herb and root, and said that "the root boiled with liquorice, raisons and aniseed is good for those troubled with cough. Also, it is of special value against the plague, the decoction thereof being drunk and the root smelled. The green herb being bruised and applied to the head taketh away pain and pricking thereof."[6]
Etymology and common names

The name of the herb is derived from the personal name Valeria and the Latin verb valere (to be strong, healthy).[7][8] Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium), setwall and all-heal (which is also used for plants in the genus Stachys). Red valerian, often grown in gardens, is also sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species (Centranthus ruber), from the same family but not very closely related.
Valerian extract
Biochemical composition

Known compounds detected in Valerian include:

Alkaloids: actinidine,[9] chatinine,[9][note 1] shyanthine,[9] valerianine,[9] and valerine[9]
Isovaleramide may be created in the extraction process.[note 2]
Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)[1]
Isovaleric acid[note 3]
Iridoids, including valepotriates: isovaltrate and valtrate[9]
Sesquiterpenes (contained in the volatile oil): valerenic acid,[12] hydroxyvalerenic acid and acetoxyvalerenic acid[13]
Flavanones: hesperidin,[14] 6-methylapigenin,[14] and linarin[15]

Potential mechanism

Because of Valerian's historical use in traditional medicine for diverse purposes, such as for sedation or pain relief, laboratory research has been directed at the GABAA receptor, a class of receptors on which benzodiazepines act.[16][17] Valeric acid , which is responsible for the typical odor of mostly older valerian roots, does not have any sedative properties. Valproic acid, a widely prescribed anticonvulsant, is a derivative of valeric acid.

Valerian also contains isovaltrate, which has been shown to be an inverse agonist for adenosine A1 receptor sites. This action likely does not contribute to the herb's possible sedative effects, which would be expected from an agonist, rather than an inverse agonist, at this particular binding site. Hydrophilic extractions of the herb commonly sold over the counter, however, probably do not contain significant amounts of isovaltrate.[18] Valerenic acid in Valerian stimulates serotonin receptors as a partial agonist,[19] including 5-HT5A which is implicated in the sleep-wake cycle.[20]

The chief constituent of valerian is a yellowish-green to brownish-yellow oil present in the dried root, varying in content from 0.5 to 2.0%. This variation in quantity may be determined by location; a dry, stony soil yields a root richer in oil than moist, fertile soil.[21] The volatile oils that form the active ingredient are pungent, somewhat reminiscent of well-matured cheese.
Traditional medicine
Valerian (V. officinalis) essential oil

Although valerian is a common traditional medicine used for treating insomnia, there is no good evidence it is effective for this purpose.[22] Valerian has not been shown to be helpful in treating restless leg syndrome[23] or anxiety.[24]

The European Medicines Agency (EMA) approved the health claim that Valerian can be used as a traditional herbal medicine to relieve mild nervous tension and to aid sleep; EMA stated that although there is insufficient evidence from clinical studies, its effectiveness as a dried extract is considered plausible.[25]
Oral forms
A bottle of Valerian capsules

Oral forms are available in both standardized and unstandardized forms. Standardized products may be preferable considering the wide variation of the chemicals in the dried root, as noted above. When standardized, it is done so as a percentage of valerenic acid or valeric acid.
Adverse effects

Because the compounds in Valerian produce central nervous system depression, they should not be used with other depressants, such as ethanol (drinking alcohol), benzodiazepines, barbiturates, opiates, kava, or antihistamine drugs.[26][27][28]

As an unregulated product, the concentration, contents, and potential contaminants in Valerian preparations cannot be easily determined. Because of this uncertainty and the potential for toxicity in the fetus and hepatotoxicity in the mother, Valerian use is discouraged during pregnancy.[26][27]
Effect on cats

Valerian root is a cat attractant in a way similar to catnip.[29] Its roots and leaves are one of three alternatives for the one-third of domesticated or medium-sized cats who do not feel the effects of catnip.[29][30]
Floral symmetry

Valerian is unusual in having flowers with "handedness", that is, having neither radial nor bilateral symmetry.[31]

Valerian is considered an invasive species in many jurisdictions outside its natural range, including the US state of Connecticut where it is officially banned,[32] and in New Brunswick, Canada, where it is listed as a plant of concern.[33]

See also

Red valerian
Herbal tea


Although many sources list "catinine" as an alkaloid present in extracts from the root of Valeriana officinalis, those sources are incorrect. The correct spelling is "chatinine". It was discovered by S. Waliszewski in 1891. See: S. Waliszewski (15 March 1891) L'Union pharmaceutique, page 109. Abstracts of this article appeared in: "Chatinine, alcaloïde de la racine de valériane" Répertoire de pharmacie, series 3, vol. 3, pp. 166–167 Archived 2013-06-19 at the Wayback Machine (April 10, 1891); American Journal of Pharmacy, vol. 66, p. 285 Archived 2013-06-19 at the Wayback Machine (June 1891).
Isovaleramide does not appear to be a naturally occurring component of valerian plants; rather, it seems to be an artifact of the extraction process; specifically, it is produced by treating aqueous extracts of valerian with ammonia.[10]

Isovaleric acid does not appear to be a natural constituent of V. officinalis; rather, it is a breakdown product that is created during the extraction process or by enzymatic hydrolysis during (improper) storage.[11]


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