Latin: Valeriana officinalis L.
Synonyms: All-heal, setwall, amantilla, great wild valerian.
Single grooved cylindrical, hollow and hairy stems arise from the root stock and reach 1m-130cm, branching into right angled pairs of flowering stems.
Leaves appear in pairs composed of pinnate lance like segments and are varied in width, but up to 10cm in length. Deeply veined and with margins indented with teeth.
Flowers arranged in cymes terminating each stalk.
Parts used: Root (Radix).
Valepotriates – valtrate, didrovaltrate
Break down rapidly into inactive compounds (producing the distinctive odour of valerian preparations as a byproduct of this process).
Volatile oil – including valerinic acid.
Alkaloids – valerine, actinidine, valerianine, chatinine.
Also: sterols / tannins / choline.
Sedative / hypnotic via action on benzodiazepine rec.
Mild anodyne / antispasmodic
Also: hypotensive / heart tonic / antibiotic
Insomnia – getting to sleep and prolonging time asleep.
Relaxing in nervous conditions – action found to be comparable to diazepam.
Muscle relaxant for heart palpitations, spasmodic cough and in cystitis.
Protective against nerve damage associated with Parkinson's.
May potentiate the effect if diazepam and temazepam d/t action on benzodiazepine receptors.
Rare cases of hepatotoxicity.
Thought to be the 'spikenard' mentioned in the bible.