Valeriana officinalis L. (Valerian) is widely used as a traditional medicine to improve the quality of sleep. Although V. officinalis have been well documented as promising pharmacological agent; the exact mechanisms by which this plant act is still unknown. Limited literature data have indicated that V. officinalis extracts can exhibit antioxidant properties against iron in hippocampal neurons in vitro. However, there is no data available about the possible antioxidant effect of V. officinalis against other pro-oxidants in brain. In the present study, the protective effect of V. officinalis on lipid peroxidation (LPO) induced by different pro-oxidant agents with neuropathological importance was examined. Ethanolic extract of valerian (0-60 microg/ml) was tested against quinolinic acid (QA); 3-nitropropionic acid; sodium nitroprusside; iron sulfate (FeSO4) and Fe2+/EDTA induced LPO in rat brain homogenates. The effect of V. officinalis in deoxyribose degradation and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production was also investigated. In brain homogenates, V. officinalis inhibited thiobarbituric acid reactive substances induced by all pro-oxidants tested in a concentration dependent manner. Similarly, V. officinalis caused a significant decrease on the LPO in cerebral cortex and in deoxyribose degradation. QA-induced ROS production in cortical slices was also significantly reduced by V. officinalis. Our results suggest that V. officinalis extract was effective in modulating LPO induced by different pro-oxidant agents. These data may imply that V. officinalis extract, functioning as antioxidant agent, can be beneficial for reducing insomnia complications linked to oxidative stress.