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, Set-wall, Vandal Root, All Heal, Radix Valerianae Minoris; Br. Valerianae Rhizoma; Fr. Vale'riane officinale, Racine de Valeriane; Radix Valerianae, Baldrian, (Wilde) Baldrianwurzel.
Va-le-ri-a'na. L. see etymology, page 578, of Valerianaceae.
Of-fi-ci-na'lis. L. see etymology of (Asagroea) officinalis, page 102. Plant. - Large perennial herb; stem .6-1.3 M. (2-4°) 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,
Fig. 398. - Valeriana officinalis.
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 pronounced, of valeric acid, stronger upon aging; taste sweetish, camphoraceous, somewhat bitter. Powder, grayish-brown; microscopically - numerous starch grains, .003-02 Mm. (1/8325-1/1250) broad, tracheal fragments, sclerenchymatous fibres, 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'urn latifo'lmm, Scabio'sa sue-ci'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.
Fig. 399. - Valeriana officinalis: rhizome, roots, and rootlets.
Volatile Oil. (Oleum Valerianae, official 1880-1890.) - 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, laevorotatory; contains: 1, a terpene - borneene, C10H16, boiling at 157° C. (315° F.); 2, an alcohol - borneol (liquid, and solid crystalline compound), C10H18O, 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 C10H18O; 3, an ether - borneol, or borneol oxide, (C10H17)2O, greenish syrupy oil, but colorless when rectified, along with formic, acetic, and valeric esters, which, by oxidation, form their respective acids. Recent investigators claim these components to he pinene, camphene, borneol, and the formic, acetic, and isovaleric esters of borneol. Dose, ej-5
(.06 .3 Ml. (Cc.)).
Valeric (Valerianic) Acid. - Acidum Valer(ian)icum, C5H10O2, official 1870-1880. 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 amy] alcohol with sulphuric acid and potassium dichromate. It is an oily liquid, volatile, with characteristic odor, salts sweet-tasted.
Fig. 400. - Valeriana: longitudinal and transverse sections.
Preparations. - 1. Tinctura Valeriana. Tincture of Valerian. (Syn., Tr. Valer.; Fr. Teinture de Valeriane; Ger. Baldriantinktur.)
Manufacture: 20 p. c. Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 101; menstruum: 75 p. c. alcohol. Dose, 5ss-2 (2-8 Ml. (Cc.)).
2. Tinctura Valeriana Ammoniata. Ammoniated Tincture of Valerian. (Syn., Tr. Valer. Amnion., Tinctura Valerianae Composita; Fr. Teinture de Valeriane ammoniacale; Ger. Ammoniakalische Baldriantinktur.)
Manufacture: 20 p. c. Similar to Tinctura Veratri Viridis, page 101; menstruum: aromatic spirit of ammonia. Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preps.: Abstract, dose, gr. 5-20 (.3-1.3 Gm.). Extract, dose, gr. 5-10 (.3-6 Gm.). Fluidextract (alcohol 80 p. a), dose, exv-60 (1-4 Ml. (Cc.)). Infusion, dose, ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (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, diarrhoea, urination, delirium, lessen motility, sensibility, and reflex excitability; the oil paralyzes the brain, spine, slows pulse, lowers blood-pressure.
Uses. - Hysteria, hypochondriasis, hemicrania, nervous coughs, whooping-cough, diabetes, delirium tremens, typhoid state, dysmenorrhoea, vertigo, epilepsy, worm convulsions, flatulence, reflex neuralgia.