Can Valeriana officinalis root extract prevent early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after CABG surgery? A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Psychopharmacology (Berl). 2015 Mar;232(5):843-50. doi: 10.1007/s00213-014-3716-x. Epub 2014 Aug 31.


Rationale: We hypothesized that valerian root might prevent cognitive dysfunction in coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery patients through stimulating serotonin receptors and anti-inflammatory activity.

Objectives: The aim of this study was to evaluate the effect of Valeriana officinalis root extract on prevention of early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after on-pump CABG surgery.

Methods: In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, 61 patients, aged between 30 and 70 years, scheduled for elective CABG surgery using cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB), were recruited into the study. Patients were randomly divided into two groups who received either one valerian capsule containing 530 mg of valerian root extract (1,060 mg/daily) or placebo capsule each 12 h for 8 weeks, respectively. For all patients, cognitive brain function was evaluated before the surgery and at 10-day and 2-month follow-up by Mini Mental State Examination (MMSE) test.

Results: Mean MMSE score decreased from 27.03 ± 2.02 in the preoperative period to 26.52 ± 1.82 at the 10th day and then increased to 27.45 ± 1.36 at the 60th day in the valerian group. Conversely, its variation was reduced significantly after 60 days in the placebo group, 27.37 ± 1.87 at the baseline to 24 ± 1.91 at the 10th day, and consequently slightly increased to 24.83 ± 1.66 at the 60th day. Valerian prophylaxis reduced odds of cognitive dysfunction compared to placebo group (OR = 0.108, 95 % CI 0.022-0.545).

Conclusion: We concluded that, based on this study, the cognitive state of patients in the valerian group was better than that in the placebo group after CABG; therefore, it seems that the use of V. officinalis root extract may prevent early postoperative cognitive dysfunction after on-pump CABG surgery.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cognition / drug effects*
  • Cognition Disorders / diagnosis
  • Cognition Disorders / etiology
  • Cognition Disorders / prevention & control*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / adverse effects*
  • Coronary Artery Bypass / psychology
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / therapeutic use*
  • Plant Roots
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valerian*


  • Plant Extracts