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From: (Alex Zell)
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Valerian Root
Date: 10 Jun 93 20:52:02 GMT

In article (Dean Edwards) writes:
>I am an avid advocate of the tremedous values of valerian.  It can actually
   Years ago, in the 1930s, Tincture of Valerian was often prescribed (and
sold OTC) for relief of menstrual cramps.  Couple of drops on a lump of
sugar, prn.
   Another use of the substance was in stink bombs by New York gangsters
who preyed on theaters and restaurants.  Sale of Valerian was restricted
for a long time as a result.

Pictou Island, NS
Alex Zell    
Pictou Island, NS


From: e
Newsgroups: alt.folklore.herbs
Subject: Re: Valerian Root
Date: 11 Jun 1993 22:46:33

In <> (Sparrowwood Oakmage) writes:

>	Has anyone tried -smoking- this stuff? I put some on my
>incense burner and was amazed at how tired I ended up feeling..

	Smoking Valerian shouldn't work.  The psychoactive effects come
from alkaloids present in the plant's essential oils, which are 
volatile -- they evaporate at relatively low temperatures.  I haven't
tried it though myself.  I do know that if you attempt to make
Valerian tea with boiling water, you will evaporate the oils leaving
you with a really horrible tasting and foul smelling hardly psychoactive
cup of gunk!  The smell has often been compared to dirty feet, but 
that's doing an injustice to the dirty feet of this world.  Valerian
tea requires water at a lower temp.  Better yet, junk it and buy
yourself some extract.
	On the other hand, I have smoking scullcap has always given
my a nice buzz.  I try not to smoke too much.  If you're going to
hack herbals, you should definitely get your hands on some manuals.
They deserve at least as much work as Unix.

-- E


Date: Mon, 21 Mar 1994 16:25:20 -0500 (EST)
From: trent 
Subject: Valerian Root Update
Sender: Drug Abuse Education Information and Research 
Message-id: <>

Pharm D student Yung Chi has thumbed through the literature on Valeri=
root and Valerian Root Tea.  She wishes to post the following review:

Valerian Root Tea in Review

>     Is the valerian root a psychoactive substance?  How does it
>act on the body?  Are there adverse reactions?

     Valerian is the common name given to genus Valeriana,
herbaceous perennial plants widely distributed in the temperate
regions of North America, Europe and Asia(1)
     The evaluation of a commercially available valerian root
extract revealed pronounced sedative properties in the mouse with
respect to a reduction in motility and an increase in the
thiopental sleeping-time(2)  A direct comparison of the
psychotropic effects with diazepam and chlorpromazine revealed a
moderate sedative activity for the tested extract.  The extract
showed only weak anticonvulsive properties(diazepam/valium is a
benzodiazepine used for sedation, treatment of seizures, and many
other purposes.)(2)  Valerian extract and imipramine both
significantly inhibited forced swimming test in rats, and did not
increase spontaneous motor activity just before the forced swimming
test(imipramine/tofranil is an antidepressant).(1)  In addition,
both valerian extract and imipramine significantly reversed
reserpine-induced hypothermia in mice(1)  These results indicate
that valerian extract acts on the central nervous system and may be
an antidepressant(1)
     Other studies on two monoterpene esters isolated from
valeriana wallichii D.C. (valtrate and didrovaltrate) show that
these two compounds are cytotoxic and inhibit the synthesis of DNA
and protein in tumor cells(3)  The two compounds cause the
disappearance of membrane microvilli, a large distension of the
endoplasmic reticulum and a marked condensation of the
mitochondria(3)  Valtrate rapidly leads to the rounding and
detachment of cells cultivated in layer(3)

     The good news is, valerian root or valerian root tea will
cause drowsiness.  However, certain naturally-occurring substances
within the root are toxic to rapidly-growing cells (like the cells
lining your stomach and your liver!).  If you must consume
valerian, don't drink too much.  Remember that the most toxic
substances known to man were produced by 'Mother Nature.'


1.   Sakamoto T, Mitani Y, Nakajima K. Psychotropic effects of
     Japanese valerian root extract. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1992

2.   Leuschner J, Muller J, Rudmann M. Characterisation of the
     central nervous depressant activity of a commercially
     available valerian root extract. Arzneimittelforschung 1993

3.   Keochanthalabounthanh C, Beck JP, Haagberrurier M, Anton R.
     Effects of 2 monoterpene esters, valtrate and didrovaltrate,
     isolated from valeriana-wallichii, on the ultrastructure of
     hepatoma cells in culture. Phytotherapy Research 1993 Mar-

--by Yung Chi, Student, Pharm D. I
School of Pharmacy
University of Maryland At Baltimore
20 North Pine Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-1180 USA=FC


Newsgroups: alt.drugs,,
From: (Steve Dyer)
Subject: Re: valerian
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 02:37:33 GMT

[quoted text deleted -cak]

Valerian contains a wide variety of substances (none of them chemically
resemble Valium or any of the other benzodiazepines).  One fraction contains
volatile oils, mainly terpene-like substances and isovaleric acid
(a short-chain fatty acid.)  There is also a class of compounds
known as valepotriates, consisting of a 5-member ring abutting a
6 member ring, with one of the 6 being oxygen.  Off of the rings are
a variety of short chain carboxylic acids, esters, and alcohols.
Some of them contain a highly energetic epoxy group.  There are also
very small amounts of a few nitrogenous alkaloids which are not
believed to contribute to valerian's sedative effects.

By the way, the valepotriates are unstable in solution and alcoholic
tinctures, and are slowly hydrolyzed, losing potency over a period
of a couple of months.  So, if you're going to purchase or make an
alcoholic solution, you'd want to prepare only a small amount at
a time.  Another complication with do-it-yourself is that the
composition of the herb is so variable across different species.

Neither of the two main fractions completely accounts for the herb's
sedative activity; depending on the preparation, one or the other
may predominate, and both may contribute to the effects.  There is
some concern that the some of the valepotriates could be toxic,
especially over the long term, based on studies on their effects
on cell cultures, because of the characteristic epoxy group found
in some of them.  Epoxides are alkylating agents, just like nitrogen
mustards, which are a mainstay of cancer chemotherapy (and WW-I
poison gases).  However, there is no evidence available yet that
valerian preparations are particularly toxic, especially when used
occasionally.  (Not there's a lot to suggest that they're absolutely
safe in the long-term, either.)

The mechanism of action of valerian's sedative effects is not well
understood, but it's pretty clear that it has such an effect both in
experimental animals and human subjects.

Steve Dyer