Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) – review




Valeriana officinalis L., Valerianaceae, chemical composition, therapeutic significance, biological activity


Valeriana officinalis L. s.l. is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Valerianaceae family. It is widely distributed in Ukraine and around the world. The official medicinal raw material derived from Valeriana officinalis consists of the dried, whole, or fragmented underground parts of the plant, including the rhizome along with the roots and stolons. To meet the standards outlined in the European Pharmacopoeia, this raw material must be standardized based on its essential oil content (a minimum of 4 ml/kg in dried preparations) and sesquiterpenic acids (a minimum of 0.17 percent by weight, calculated as valeric acid, in dried preparations).

The aim of the work was searching, systematizing, and generalizing information from the specialized literature on the chemical composition, biological activity and therapeutic use of Valeriana officinalis.

Valeriana officinalis has sedative, mild analgesic, hypnotic, antispasmodic, carminative, and hypotensive effects. Historically, it was used for hysterical conditions, hyperexcitability, insomnia, hypochondria, migraine, spasms, intestinal colic, rheumatic pains, dysmenorrhea, and especially for conditions accompanied by nervous excitability. The main classes of biological substances identified in Valeriana officinalis are valepotriates, iridolactones, alkaloids, phenolic acids, sesquiterpenes, flavonoids, terpene coumarins, lignans, terpene and flavonol glycosides. It has not yet been established which components of Valeriana officinalis are responsible for its pharmacological effects. Current opinion is that the overall effect of valerian is due to several different groups of components and their different mechanisms of action. Therefore, the activity of different preparations of valerian will depend on their content and concentration of several types of components.

Conclusions. Summarized and systematized original works related to pharmacognostic study, phytochemical analysis, and medicinal use of underground and aerial parts of various species of Valeriana genus. The analysis of the material shows that in recent years, scientists from all over the world have paid attention to the above-ground part of valerian and have chosen it as an object of in-depth study. This approach opens new possibilities for the use of the herb Valeriana officinalis in medicine.

Author Biographies

V. O. Kokitko, Zaporizhzhia State Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Ukraine

Graduate Student of the of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology and Botany

V. M. Odyntsova, Zaporizhzhia State Medical and Pharmaceutical University, Ukraine

PhD, DSc, Professor of the Department of Pharmacognosy, Pharmacology and Botany


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How to Cite

Kokitko VO, Odyntsova VM. Valeriana officinalis (Valerian) – review. Current issues in pharmacy and medicine: science and practice [Internet]. 2024Feb.23 [cited 2024Jun.21];17(1):79-87. Available from: