Valerianae Rhizoma, B.P. Valerian Rhizome.

Botanical name: 

Related entry: Indian valerian rhizome

Synonyms.—Valerian Root.

Valerian rhizome (Valerian, U.S.P.) consists of the dried rhizome and roots of Valeriana officinalis, Linn. (N.O. Valerianeae), a herbaceous plant widely distributed over Europe and Northern Asia. The drug is obtained in this country from both wild and cultivated plants, and is also imported from Germany. It is collected in the autumn, freed from the lateral shoots, which are utilised for the propagation of the plant, washed and dried, the larger rhizomes being sliced longitudinally to facilitate the operation. The drug consists of a short (2 to 2.5 centimetres), erect, conical rhizome, of a dull, yellowish-brown colour, to which numerous long stout roots are attached. Small rhizomes are entire, but large ones are halved, or even quartered; internally they are firm and horny. The roots are about 1.5 to 2 millimetres in diameter, brittle, and usually not much shrivelled. Valerian rhizome has a strong, penetrating, disagreeable odour, and a camphoraceous, slightly bitter taste. The odour is gradually developed during the process of drying, and appears to be due to the action of an enzyme on one of the constituents of the volatile oil (bornyl isovalerianate) with the production of free isovalerianic (isovaleric) acid. The fresh root is devoid of valerianaceous odour. On incineration, the drug, if free from adherent earthy matter, yields about 8 or 9 per cent. of ash. English valerian as cultivated in Derbyshire is said to be the produce of Valeriana officinalis, var. Mikanii, Syme.

Constituents.—Valerian root contains about 1 per cent. of volatile oil, consisting of bornyl isovalerianate, formate, butyrate, and acetate, associated with l-pinene, l-camphene, and terpineol. Free isovalerianic acid is gradually liberated as mentioned above. Two alkaloids, chatinine and valerianine, are also said to be present, as well as resin and a glucoside.

Action and Uses.—The action of valerian root is virtually that of its volatile oil, the valerianic esters of which have no stimulating action on the psychical functions and the circulation, as was formerly believed, although they possess the usual carminative action of the volatile oils. The action of such malodorous substances as valerian is generally attributed to the mental effect produced by their unpleasant odour and taste. Valerian is used as a carminative and antispasmodic in hysteria and similar nervous manifestations. It is commonly administered with ammonia as Tinctura Valerianae Ammoniata, and often in association with the alkali bromides.


Elixir Valerianae, B.P.C.—ELIXIR OF VALERIAN. 3 (fluidextract) in 20.
An antispasmodic and stimulant, for use in hysteria and nervous affections. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (½ to 2 fluid drachms).
Extractum Valerianae, B.P.C.—EXTRACT OF VALERIAN.
Dose.—6 to 30 centigrams (1 to 5 grains).
Fluidextractum Valerianae, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF VALERIAN.
Valerian, in No. 40 powder, 100; alcohol (71 per cent.), to 100. The valerian is exhausted with the alcohol and the strength of the product adjusted so that 1 fluid part represents 1 part of the drug. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).
Infusum Valerianae, B.P.C.—INFUSION OF VALERIAN. 1 in 40.
Used as a vehicle for carminatives and antispasmodics. Dose.—15 to 30 mils (½ to 1 fluid ounce).
Infusum Valerianae Concentratum, B.P.C.—CONCENTRATED INFUSION OF VALERIAN.
A product closely resembling infusion of valerian is obtained by diluting 1 part of this preparation with 7 parts of distilled water. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Tinctura Valerianae, U.S.P.—TINCTURE OF VALERIAN, U.S.P.
Valerian rhizome, in No. 60 powder, 20; alcohol (71 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Used in a similar way to ammoniated tincture of valerian. Average dose.—4 mils (1 fluid drachm).
Tinctura Valerianae, B.P., 1885.—TINCTURE OF VALERIAN, B.P., 1885.
Valerian rhizome, in No. 40 powder, 12.5; proof spirit, sufficient to produce 100. Prepared by macero-percolation. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms)
Tinctura Valerianae Ammoniata, B.P.—AMMONIATED TINCTURE OF VALERIAN.
Valerian rhizome, in No. 40 powder, 20; oil of nutmeg, 0.31; oil of lemon, 0.21; solution of ammonia, 10; alcohol (60 per cent.), 90. Macerate for seven days, and complete the maceration process. This preparation is used in hysteria and functional nervous disorders. Dose.—2 to 4 mils (½ to 1 fluid drachm).
Tinctura Valerianae Ammoniata, U.S.P.—AMMONIATED TINCTURE OF VALERIAN, U.S.P.
Valerian, in No. 60 powder, 20; aromatic spirit of ammonia, U.S.P., sufficient to produce 100. Prepared by macerating for thirty hours and then percolating until 100 of the percolate is obtained. Average dose.—2 mils (30 minims).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.