Valeriana officinalis, Linne'. The dried rhizome and roots, with not more than 5 p.c. foreign organic matter, yielding not more than 10 p.c. acid-insoluble ash.

Habitat. Europe, N. Asia, in moist as well as dry localities, banks of streams; naturalized in New England and New York; cultivated.

Syn. Valer., Wild, Great Wild, English, German, Common, Cat's, Vermont or American-English Valerian, Setwall, Vandal Root, All Heal, Radix Valerianae Minoris; Br. Valerianae Rhizoma; Fr. Valeriane officinale, Racine de Valeriane; Ger. Radix Valerianae, Baldrian, (Wild) Baldrianwurzel.

Va-le-ri-a'-na. L. see etymology, above, of Valerianacae.

Of-fi-ci-na'-lis. L. see etymology of (Smilax) officianlis.

Plant

Large perennial herb; stem .6-1.3 M. (2-4 degrees) high, branched at top, cylindrical, hollow, fluted and channeled, often hairy; leaves imparipinnate with long clasping petioles; leaflets 4-10 pairs, 2.5-6.5 Cm. (1-2 1/2') long, lanceolate, dentate; flowers small, white or rose color, agreeably odorous, terminal corymbs, corolla 5-lobed, stamens 3, sessile; fruit, capsule, 4 Mm. (1/6') long, plano-convex, compressed, 4-ribbed, pale brown, 1-seeded, oblong-ovate.

Rhizome

upright, 2-4 Cm. (4/5-1 3/5') long, 1-2 Cm. (2/5-4/5') thick, usually cut longitudinally into 2-4 pieces, yellowish-brown, upper portion with stem-bases, frequently, with a short, horizontal branch or stolon, from outer surface numerous, slender, brittle roots; fracture short, horny; internally light brown with a thick bark and narrow, central cylinder; odor of valeric acid, stronger upon aging; taste sweetish, camphoraceous, somewhat bitter.

Powder

grayish-brown--numerous starch grains, .003-.02 Mm. (1/8325-1/1250') broad, tracheal fragments, walls with pores or thickenings, narrow fibers with walls thin, porous, lignified, occasional fragments of epidermis with root hairs and fragments of cork. Solvents: water; alcohol. Dose, gr. 15-60 (1-4 Gm.).

Adulterations

Rhizome and roots of V. Phu, V. dioi'ca, Cynan'chum Vincetox'icum, Veratrum album, Si'um latifo'lium, Scabio'sa succi'sa, and S. arven'sis, also several ranunculaceous roots.

Commercial

Valerian flourishes equally well in damp woods, meadows, and dry places, affording a variability in characteristics that has suggested four varieties, all, however, being one and the same and yielding identical constituents; it is cultivated in England (best), Germany, Holland, United States (New Hampshire, Vermont, New York), very little of the wild grown, although stronger and smaller, being utilized. Rhizome is collected in the spring before stem begins to shoot, or preferably in autumn, when leaves decay, from dry soil plants, and at first is without specific odor; tops are cut off in the spring to prevent seeding and thereby strengthen the rhizome, which must be dug carefully, washed, dried (entire or split) in kilns, packed tightly, and kept dry to prevent deterioration.

Constituents

Volatile oil .5-3 p.c., Valeric acid, formic, acetic, malic acids, chatinine, tannin, resin, starch, mucilage, sugar, ash 15-20 p.c. (largely manganese).

Volatile Oil, (Oleum Valerianae), U.S.P. 1860-1890. -- This is obtained by distilling with water; it is a pale green liquid, pungent valerian odor, aromatic taste, sp. gr. 0.945, yellow and viscid on exposure, levorotatory; contains: 1, a terpene -- borneene, CH, boiling at 157 degrees C. (315 degrees F.); 2, an alcohol -- borneol (liquid, and solid crystalline compound), CHO, with the liquid portion chromic acid yields camphor along with formic, acetic, and valeric acids, these latter being likewise present in old rhizomes from slow oxidation of this CHO; 3, an ether -- burneol, or borneol oxide, (CH)2O, greenish syrupy oil, but colorless when rectified, along with formic, acetic, and veleric esters, which, by oxidation, form their respective acids.  Recent investigators claim these components to be pinene, camphene, borneol, and the formic, acetic, and isovaleric esters of borneol.  Dose, mj-5 (.06-.3 cc.).

Valeric (Valerianic) Acid, Acidum Valer(ian)icum, CHO, U.S.P. 1860-1870. -- Not in fresh rhizome, but results from oxidation of the volatile oil on exposure -- a change believed dependent largely upon presence of manganese; however, this is obtained mostly by oxidizing amyl alcohol with sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate.  It is an oily liquid, volatile, with characteristic odor, salts sweet-tasted.

Preparations

1. Tinctura Valerianae.  Tincture of Valerian.  (Syn., Tr. Valer.; Fr. Teinture de Valeriane; Ger. Baldriantinktur.)

Manufacture: 20 p.c.  Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 104; menstruum: 75 p.c. alcohol.  Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 cc.).

2. Tinctura Valerianae Ammoniata.  Ammoniated Tincture of Valerian.  (Syn., Tr. Valer. Ammon., Tinctura Valerianae Composita; Fr. Teinture de Valeriane ammoniacale; Ger. Ammoniakalische Baldriantinktur.)

Manufacture

20 p.c.  Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 104; menstruum aromatic spirit of ammonia.  Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 cc.).

3.  Fluidextractum Valerianae, N.F. (80 p.c. alcohol).  Dose, mxv-60 (1-4 cc.).

Unoff. Preps.: Abstract, gr. 5-20 (.3-1.3 Gm.).  Extract, gr. 5-10 (.3-.6 Gm.).  Infusion, 3j-2 (20-60 cc.).  Syrup.  Water (Aqua).

Properties

Similar to other drugs having a volatile oil.  Stimulant, anodyne, nervine, antispasmodic, vermifuge, no narcotic effect; increases heart action and temperature, causing exhilaration, stimulates circulation, secretion, and peristalsis of the stomach and intestines; it is eliminated by kidneys, bronchial and genito-urinary mucous membranes; if used continuously, may produce melancholia, hysteria.  Large, doses cause nausea, diarrhea, urination, delirium, lessen motility, sensibility, and reflex exitability; the oil paralyzes the brian, spine, slows pulse, lowers blood-pressure.

Uses

Hysteria, hypochondriasis, hemicrania, nervous coughs, whooping-cough, diabetes, delirium tremens, typhoid state, dysmenorrhea, vertigo, epilepsy, worm convulsions, flatulence, reflex neuralgia.

Allied Plants

1. Valeriana Walli'chii, Valerianae Indicae Rhizoma (Br.); India; rhizome 5 Cm. (2') long, 10 Mm. (2/5') thick, brown, curved, many root-scars, few thick roots--equivalent to official.  V. Phu'; W. Asia, S. Europe; tall perennial; rhizome (Radix Valerianae Majoris) is 10-15 Cm. (4-6') long, 12 Mm. (1/2') thick, annulated, brown; V. mexica'na and V. tolucca'na, Mexico.  All three yield valeric acid; odor and taste weaker than official.

2.  V. Cel'tica (Nardus Spica celtica). -- Alps, and Nardos'tachys Jataman'si, Nar'dus in'dica (Spica nardi) or true spikenard, India; the former has valerian odor, the latter that of serpentaria.