Evaluating the antidepressant effect of Valeriana officinalis root extract with forced swim test
Objective: Herbs are used as a traditional treatment methods from ancient times, especially in Egypt, in Sumer and in China. One of these herbs is Valeriana officinalis used for its anxiolitic and gastrointestinal spasmolytic effects and as a sleep aid. This study was performed to investigate especially the antidepressant effect of valerian extract used for insomnia.
Methods: Twenty male Sprague-Dawley rats were divided into two groups randomly and every morning one group took Valeriana officinalis root extract and the other took %5 dextrose solution. A forced swim test (Porsolt) was applied on the 11th and 12th days.
Results: On the first day, the freeze duration of the valerian group was significantly shorter than the placebo group (42.4±27.1 and 145±91.3 second respectively) (p=0.00963). There was also statisticaly significant difference between the freeze duration of the first 5 minutes of the first and the second days between the two groups (F=8.941, p=0.009) and the two treatments (F=6.888, p=0.018). The first 5 minutes freeze duration of the valerian group in the first day was 3±3.92 seconds and 14±25.5 seconds in the second day, whereas in the placebo group it was 20.9±23.1 seconds in the first day and 44.9±32.1 seconds in the second day.
Conclusions: The shorter freeze duration in valerian group in the first 5 minutes and in the total period of the first day show the existence of an anxiolytic effect. The fact that, the freeze duration of the valerian group was statisticaly shorter than the freeze duration of the placebo group, may indicate an antidepressant effect.