Botanical Name: Valerian officinalis
Common name(s): Valerian
- Perennial, herbaceous | Zones 4-7 | Partial shade | 3-4’ clumping | blooms late spring / early summer (white flowers with a touch of pink, very fragrant)**
- Woodland plant. Can tolerate sun as long as it stays wet.
- Direct sow. Space plants 12-15” apart.
- Harvest root in the fall of the first year or the spring of the second. They deteriorate in quality by fall of the second year.
- Clean thoroughly and dry in the shade.
- The root has a very strong, unpleasant fragrance.
PREPARATION / DOSAGE
Infusion: pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 tsp of the root, let infuse for 10-15 minutes.
Alternative Infusion: let 1 teaspoon soak in a cup of cold water, covered and placed in the fridge for 12 to 24 hours. This way none of the essential oils will evaporate.
Tincture: 2-4ml (10 drops – 1 tsp), 3x/day
Combinations: skullcap (tension), hawthorn berry (high blood pressure), cramp bark (cramps), passion flower and hops (insomnia)
Constituents: Isovalerenic acid, valerenic acid, caffein acid, tannins, sesquiterpenes, glycosides, essential oils, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins
Actions: strong sedative and pain reliever
Uses: stress, tension, insomnia, nervous system disorders, irregular heartbeat and anxiety that causes it, high blood pressure, muscle relaxant, headaches, pain, menstrual cramps, some forms of epilepsy
Cautions: avoid taking large doses for an extended period of time (causes headache, heaviness, and stupor). Irritating and stimulating to some people.
Spicy, bitter, warm
- Homegrown Herbs, Tammi Hartung
- Medicinal Herbs, Rosemary Gladstar
- Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
- A Modern Herbal, Mrs. M. Grieve
- *The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra (gives botanical name as Scuttelaria baicalensis)
**A Modern Herbal says it blooms from June – September. Will have to verify. It also says may not flower the first few years, but propagates like strawberries.
I received a valerian plant from a friend and planted it down by my stream (the picture above is that plant). I went back recently and I can’t find it! I’m sure it’s there, and I’ll be pleasantly surprised some day at the citizen of the forest it has become. I also spread a bunch of seeds in my new orchard. They came up – not very strong yet – and I’m waiting to see how they come back next year.