The dried rhizome and roots of Valeriana officinalis, Linné (Nat. Ord. Valerianaceae). A native of Europe, but cultivated in England and the United States. Dose, 30 grains.
Common Names: Valerian, Great Wild Valerian.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Valeriana) composed chiefly of borneol and pinene, from 1 to 2 per cent, and valeric acid.
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Valerian. Dose, 1 to 30 drops.
2. Tinctura Valeriana, Tincture of Valerian. Dose, 1 to 2 fluidrachms.
3. Tinctura Valeriana Ammoniata, Ammoniated Tincture of Valerian. Dose, 1 to 60 drops.
Specific Indications.—Cerebral anemia; hysteria; chorea; hemicrania, all with mental depression and despondency; mild spasmodic movements.
Action and Therapy.—Valerian is a good cerebral and spinal stimulant. It also stimulates the gastro-intestinal secretions and favors digestion, unless given in too large doses or too long continued. It is one of the best of calmatives for that collective condition termed "nervousness". To act well it should be given when the brain circulation is feeble and there is mental depression and despondency. With such symptoms it proves useful in hysteria and hypochondria, nervous headache, and hemicrania. It is one of the best medicines we possess in the treatment of chorea. It should be given with an equal quantity of specific medicine macrotys, about ten to fifteen drops of each, three or four times a day. It controls hyperaesthesia better than actual convulsive attacks; therefore, it is of little value in epilepsy, for which it has sometimes been suggested; and in chorea it should be persisted in when the movements are mild, in order to prevent more pronounced muscular incoordination. In mental depression, due to worry or imaginary wrongs, valerian is an admirable drug. Owing to its volatile oil it is a good carminative in flatulence, with nervous unrest, and relieves the disagreeable sense of fullness felt after a meal by causing a rifting of gas. The oil and the ammoniated tincture are useful agents in fainting and nervous palpitation of the heart.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.