This section is from the book "Botanic Drugs Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics", by Thomas S. Blair. Also available from Amazon: Botanic Drugs, Their Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics.
Valeriana officinalis. Universally official, the volatile oil in Austria, and Valeriana Wallichii, Indian Valerian, in Great Britain.
Valerian in large doses depresses the central nervous system. The activity, due to the volatile oil, is not of a character demonstrable by experimental pharmacology. It is thought its action in medicinal dosage is a reflex one, and it is classed as an antispasmodic and nervine.
A carminative valuable in hysterical conditions. Valerian has an established reputation in the treatment of the hysterical and hypochondriacal, as well as in functional "nervousness." Some cases of neuralgia yield to the drug. In these indications the fl. is given in an average dose of 30 minims, the tr. in doses of 1 fluidrachm, and the ammoniated tincture in doses of 30 minims.
The Valerianates (ammonium, iron, sodium, quinine, zinc), officially (ammonium and zinc) known as valerates, are preferred by many, especially in the treatment of neuralgia, chorea, and epilepsy. Ammonium valerate is given in an average dose of 8 grains, zinc valerate 2 grains, the ferric salt 1 to 3 grains, and the quinine salt 1 to 3 grains. A soda salt is little used.
Oil of Valerian is given in 2- to 5-minim doses. It is the better form of the drug when used as a carminative; it is given suspended in cinnamon water.