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Analysing chemical composition of valerian and dandelion growing in Latvia

The researchers from the Institute for Environmental Solutions and SIA “Field and Forest” analyses chemical composition of valerian (Valeriana officinalis L.) and common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) samples which were gathered in Latvia in 2017. The results were compared with parameters of medicinal and aromatic plants that are included in the European Pharmacopoeia standard.

The leading researcher Arta Kronberga from SIA “Field and Forest” highlights that the results of analysis proves the assumption that we can find different characteristics between same medicinal and aromatic plants growing in Latvia’s territory. To give an example, a valerian from the Raunas municipality contains of 46% of the minimum amount required Ethereum, while samples from Lēdmane parish, Renda parish, and Jaunsvirlauka parish, extend the minimum requirements of more than 250%.

Analysis of common dandelion samples show similar results. Researchers analysed amount of three phenolic acids (antioxidants) in the roots of gathered dandelions and found that it differs more than two times from sample to sample. The biggest amount of phenolic acids was found in the dandelions that were gathered in the Priekuļi municipality, Amata municipality and Kuldīga municipality, but the least percent of phenolic acids was found in the samples from the Talsi municipality and Vecumnieki municipality.

The samples were collected in various areas in Latvia with different soil characteristics, hydrological regime, compositions of plants, and management methods, therefore, researchers cannot make very precise assumptions of genetic potential of gathered plants, not yet. To find more precise conclusions, further research is needed. Thus, the researchers are currently making the experimental sample sites, where they will be able to compare the samples of plants within the same growing conditions.

Chemical analysis and the research is a part of the project “Growing genetic diversity of medicinal and aromatic plants” (Nr.1.1.1.1/16/A/307). It is supported by European Regional Development Fund, as a part of Measure 1.1.1.1 “Industry-Driven Research” of specific objective 1.1.1 “To increase the research and innovation capacity of scientific institutions of Latvia and their ability to attract external funding by investing in human resources and infrastructure”.