Sedatives and Hypnotics

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Extracts of valerian plants are widely and successfully used as sedatives. Preparations of plant materials are, however, variable in composition and in effectiveness. Moreover, the active components have not been identified. Some isolated components, such as valepotriates, baldrinals and valerenic acid have been studied, but their sedative activity does not explain the potency of the original extracts. The overall effect of the extract is widely assumed to result from synergistic actions of several components, although this has never been demonstrated.



Researchers at the University of Strathclyde have identified highly active fractions from valerian extracts that contain novel, previously unidentified active molecules. These novel molecules act synergistically to prolong sleeping times. In addition, by isolating the molecules it has been discovered that novel combination products with reduced propensity for side effects can be achieved.


Key Benfits

  • Non-toxic hypnotic/sedative preparation
  • Novel mechanism of action
  • Can be used in combination with benzodiazepines: allows for dose reduction, reduces tolerance and  improves sedative action
  • Additional anti-anxiety effects


Markets and Applications

  • Sedatives
  • Anti-anxiety medication

Licensing and Development

The technology is protected by a patent application filed by the University of Strathclyde as WO03/061678. Contact is welcomed from organisations interested in developing, licensing or exploiting this technology. Please contact quoting reference number 0211.




Contact Information

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For further information please contact Research & Knowledge Exchange Services on 0141 548 3707 or email