Valerian raw material is also rich in valepotriates
, alkaloids, caffeic acid derivatives, flavonoids, lignans, and amino acids (Circosta et al.
16) According to Bos et al (2002) (17) valepotriates
(a minor constituent in Valeriana officinalis) are cytotoxic, mutagenic and carcinogenic in-vitro but the relevance of this is questionable since this constituent decomposes before absorption in the human digestive tract.
In two earlier publications, data on alkylating, cytotoxic and mutagenic effects have been presented for valepotriates
and their degradation products (Bos et al.
Effect of valepotriates
(Valerian extract) in generalized anxiety disorder: a randomized placebo-controlled pilot study.
Through in vitro studies, it has been demonstrated that valepotriates
(valtrate and didrovaltrate) have significant cytotoxic and mutagenic activity.
with rather unstable epoxide structures may be present in the root, but are generally absent from finished products.
Multiple compounds in valerian root, including sesquiterpenoids and valepotriates
, have pharmacologic activity, but the active components responsible for its sedative effects have yet to be identified.
Standardised solid extracts are available containing specific amounts of valepotriates
and/or valerenic acid, ingredients which probably contribute to the therapeutic activity.
Volatile oils and substances called valepotriates
may depress the central nervous system or alter levels of brain chemicals involved in stress and anxiety, yet have no effect on dreaming.
There are three distinct chemical compounds associated with Valerian: A volatile oil, a small number of alkaloids and a group of esters called valepotriates
(which are considered the most important chemical group in valerian).
Due to the isovaleric acid released on the decomposition of the valepotriates
, a distinctive pungent odor is produced (Mills 2000, Culpeper 1826).
, which were also discussed to be determinant for central actions of valerian (Andreatini and Leite, 1994; Andreatini et al.