Effect of valerian, valerian/hops extracts, and valerenic acid on glucuronidation in vitro

Xenobiotica. 2007 Feb;37(2):113-23. doi: 10.1080/00498250601050420.


Valerian preparations alone or in combination with hops are popular over-the-counter products used for sleep disturbances or anxiety. Therefore, it is important to characterize the effect of these products on the activity of human drug-metabolizing enzymes. The inhibitory effects of valerian and valerian/hops extracts as well as valerenic acid (a major constituent of valerian) on glucuronidation were evaluated in human liver microsomes and with expressed uridine 5'-diphosphate (UDP)-glucuronosyltransferases (UGT). Methanolic extracts of two herbal preparations caused significant reductions in the rate of formation of acetaminophen, oestradiol, morphine, and testosterone glucuronides. Oestradiol glucuronidation at the 3-hydroxy position was inhibited by nearly 87% in microsomal incubations. In addition, marked reductions in UGT1A1 and UGT2B7 activities were observed in the presence of the herbal extracts using oestradiol and morphine as probe substrates, respectively. Valerenic acid also demonstrated significant inhibitory effects on the glucuronidation of acetaminophen, oestradiol, and morphine with both microsomes and expressed UGTs. The relatively low IC50 values obtained for valerenic acid in microsomal incubations may indicate that this essential oil contributes to the effects observed with herbal extracts in inhibiting glucuronidation in vitro. Overall, these findings suggest that valerian-containing products may interfere with the glucuronidation of endo- and xenobiotics.

MeSH terms

  • Acetaminophen / metabolism
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / adverse effects
  • Estradiol / metabolism
  • Glucuronides / metabolism*
  • Glucuronosyltransferase / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Humans
  • Humulus
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Indenes / adverse effects*
  • Kinetics
  • Microsomes, Liver / drug effects
  • Microsomes, Liver / metabolism
  • Morphine / metabolism
  • Phytotherapy / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects*
  • Recombinant Proteins / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Sesquiterpenes / adverse effects*
  • Testosterone / metabolism
  • Valerian / adverse effects*
  • Xenobiotics / metabolism*


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Glucuronides
  • Hova
  • Indenes
  • Plant Extracts
  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Sesquiterpenes
  • Xenobiotics
  • valerenic acid
  • Acetaminophen
  • Testosterone
  • Estradiol
  • Morphine
  • UGT1A1 enzyme
  • UGT2B7 protein, human
  • Glucuronosyltransferase