Could valerian have been the first anticonvulsant?

Eadie, Mervyn J. (2004) Could valerian have been the first anticonvulsant?. Epilepsia, 45 11: 1338-1343. doi:10.1111/j.0013-9580.2004.27904.x

Author Eadie, Mervyn J.
Title Could valerian have been the first anticonvulsant?
Journal name Epilepsia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0013-9580
Publication date 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.0013-9580.2004.27904.x
Volume 45
Issue 11
Start page 1338
End page 1343
Total pages 6
Editor R. S. Fisher
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publisher Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
320799 Neurosciences not elsewhere classified
730104 Nervous system and disorders
Formatted abstract
To assess the available evidence for the belief that valerian, highly recommended in the past for treating epilepsy, possessed real anticonvulsant effectiveness.

Review of available literature.

In 1592, Fabio Colonna, in his botanical classic Phytobasanos, reported that taking powdered valerian root cured his own epilepsy. Subsequent reports of valerian's anticonvulsant effectiveness appeared. By the late 18th and early 19th centuries, it was often regarded as the best available treatment for the disorder. Valerian preparations yield isovaleric acid, a substance analogous to valproic acid and likely to possess anticonvulsant properties, as isovaleramide does. In favorable circumstances, high valerian doses can be calculated to have sometimes provided potentially effective amounts of anticonvulsant substance for epilepsy patients.


Valerian probably did possess the potential for an anticonvulsant effect, but the uncertain chemical composition and content of valerian preparations, and their odor and taste, made it unlikely that they could ever prove satisfactory in widespread use.
Keyword Clinical Neurology
Isovaleric Acid
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Excellence in Research Australia (ERA) - Collection
2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Medicine Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 03:43:46 EST