Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 380–385

Evaluation of volatile components from spikenard: valerena-4,7(11)-diene is a highly active sedative compound


  • Hiroaki Takemoto
    • School of Pharmaceutical SciencesKitasato University
  • Toru Yagura
    • Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
    • Department of Pharmacognosy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical ScienceKyoto University
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s11418-009-0340-x

Cite this article as:
Takemoto, H., Yagura, T. & Ito, M. J Nat Med (2009) 63: 380. doi:10.1007/s11418-009-0340-x


Valerena-4,7(11)-diene and β-maaliene were isolated from spikenard for the first time, and the effects of inhaling these compounds were investigated. Both compounds reduced the locomotor activity of mice dose-dependently, even at a low dose. Valerena-4,7(11)-diene had a particularly profound effect, with the strongest sedative activity observed at a dose of 0.06%. Caffeine-treated mice that showed an area under the curve (AUC) for locomotor activity that was double that of controls were calmed to normal levels by administration of valerena-4,7(11)-diene. The continuous sleep time of pentobarbital-treated mice was prolonged by about 2.7 times with valerena-4,7(11)-diene, an effect similar to that of chlorpromazine administered orally.


Nardostachys chinensisSpikenardSedative effectInhalationSpontaneous motor activityVolatile compound

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer 2009