Local Name: Sugandhawaal

Scientific name: Valeriana officinalis

Family: Valerianaceae


It is a perennial herb to 45 cm tall with, horizontal, nodulat and aromatic root stock. Basal leaves with ovate-heart shaped acute blade, 2.5 - 8 cm, and toothed or wavy-margined, long stalked; stem leaves few, small, entire or pinnate lobed. Flowers white or pink tinged, in terminal clusters, borne on erect nearly leafless stem. Fruits small with persistent pappus like calyx.

Valerian gets its name from the Latin word for "well-being"alerian was best known to ancient classical authors as a diuretic and treatment for menstrual difficulties. As late as the nineteenth century, valerian root was also the chosen treatment for hysteria and vapors, two "female nervous conditions."

Clinical research shows that valerian root improves overall sleep quality, shortening the length of time it takes to fall asleep and helping people sleep more soundly. Overall, valerian root seems to help poor sleepers the most. 44% of the test group reported "perfect" sleep and 89% noted significant improvement after taking valerian root, in comparison with placebo. A large multimember study has also demonstrated valerian root's effectiveness in children with sleeping problems related to nervousness.

Valerian root's popularity as a sedative herb seems to be increasing along with the stresses of modern life.

Valerian essential oil is obtained from the steam distillation of the dried rhizome and roots of Valerian officinalis.

Flowering and fruiting: February - May

Parts used: Rhizome and roots.

Distribution in Nepal: 1500 - 3300 m, east to west.

Collection Period: sept - Oct, when the lower part of the plant start to fall with yellow color.

Specification of Valerian
1. Organoleptic Properties
Appearance Fluid to slightly viscous liquid
Color yellowish-green to brownish-yellow
Aroma Heady, unpleasant
2. Physico-chemical Properties
Specific gravity 0.930 to 0.970  at 20° C
Optical rotation (-) 35° to (-) 10° at 20° C
Refractive index 1.470 to 1.485 at 20º C
Acid number 0.5 to 2.5
Ester number N/A
Ester number after acetylation 40 to 65
Solubility Soluble in alcohol and oils. Insoluble in water.
3. Chemical constituent
Acetic acid, ascorbic acid, beta-ionone, calcium, caffeic acid, magnesium, manganese, quercitin, valeric acid
4. Uses:
  1. Valerian reduces insomnia, mild anxiety or restlessness, muscle spasms and  cramping, menstrual cramps, intestinal cramping/colic
  2. Rhizomes and roots contain cyclopentapyrans, acacetin-7-0-rutinosides, valtrate, didrovaltrate, linarin iso valerinate, valepotriates and an iridoid ester glycoside-valerosidatum. Main acids present in the oil are isovaleric acid and (+)-β-methyl valeric acid. Other acidic constituent are formic, propionic, butyric, palmitic and stearic acids and isovaleryl ester of D (-) α-hydroxyvaleric acid. Essential oil from roots with rootlets contain β-sitosterol, substantial amount of α- β- and r -patchoulene and maaliol in traces (Husain et al., 1992)

Essential Oil