Journal of Natural Medicines

, Volume 63, Issue 4, pp 380–385 | Cite as

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

  • Hiroaki Takemoto
  • Toru Yagura
  • Michiho ItoEmail author
Original Paper


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 



This work was supported in part by the Takeda Science Foundation (For M. Ito, 2007).


  1. 1.
    Touhara K, Sengoku S, Inaki K, Tsuboi A, Hirono J, Sato T, Sakano H, Haga T (1999) Functional identification and reconstitution of an odorant receptor in single olfactory neurons. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 96:4040–4045PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Komori T, Matsumoto T, Motomura E, Shiroyama T (2006) The sleep-enhancing effect of valerian inhalation and sleep-shortening effect of lemon inhalation. Chem Senses 31:731–737PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Hiroaki T, Michiho I, Tomohiro S, Toru Y, Gisho H (2008) Sedative effects of vapor inhalation of agarwood oil and spikenard extract and identification of their active components. J Nat Med 62:41–46Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Harada H, Eura Y, Shiraishi K, Kato T, Soda T (1998) Coherence analysis of EEG changes during olfactory stimulation. Clin Electroencephalogr 29:96–100PubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Buechi G, Greuter F, Tokoroyama T (1962) Terpenes. XVII. Structure of calarene and stereochemistry of aristolene. Tetrahedron Lett 3:827–833CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Paul C, König WA, Muhle H (2001) Pacifigorgianes and tamariscene as constituents of Frullania tamarisci and Valeriana officinalis. Phytochemistry 57:307–313PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Matsuo A, Nozaki H, Kataoka H, Nakayama M, Hayashi S (1979) (−)-Maalian-5-ol, a new enantiomeric sesquiterpenoid from the liverwort Plagiochila ovalifolia. Experimentia 35:1279–1280CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Houghton P (1994) Herbal products: valerian. Pharm J 253:95–96Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Koo BS, Park KS, Ha JH, Park JH, Lim JC, Lee DU (2003) Inhibitory effects of the fragrance inhalation of essential oil from Acorus gramineus on central nervous system. Biol Pharm Bull 26:978–982PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Screening information data set for high volume chemicals (2007) United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Accessed 15 Feb 2009
  11. 11.
    Rasch B, Büchel C, Gais S, Born J (2007) Odor cues during slow-wave sleep prompt declarative memory consolidation. Science 9(315):1426–1429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Sinha D, Efron D (2005) Complementary and alternative medicine use in children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. J Paediatr Child Health 41:23–26PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Japanese Society of Pharmacognosy and Springer 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Pharmaceutical SciencesKitasato UniversityTokyoJapan
  2. 2.Takeda Pharmaceutical Company LimitedKyotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of Pharmacognosy, Graduate School of Pharmaceutical ScienceKyoto UniversityKyotoJapan

Personalised recommendations