Original Paper

Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 380-385

First online:

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

  • Hiroaki TakemotoAffiliated withSchool of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kitasato University
  • , Toru YaguraAffiliated withTakeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited
  • , Michiho ItoAffiliated withDepartment of Pharmacognosy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Science, Kyoto University Email author 

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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 chinensis Spikenard Sedative effect Inhalation Spontaneous motor activity Volatile compound