Valerian

Space Needed

2 plants/SF

Background

Originally, valerian was native to temperate climate areas of  Europe and northern Asia, it now grows freely as a weed throughout most of the US. zones 4-9.  

Medicinal Value

Valerian roots provide strong and gentle nerve and muscle relaxing properties. useful for: insomnia, pain, restless-
ness, headaches, digestive and muscle spasms. Specifically, it may be effective for treating epilepsy and restless leg syndrome. 
Because the root is rich in volatile oils, it should be steeped  rather than boiled for a long time. The fresh or dried leaf, steeped as a tea, will make a weaker medicine.

Ornamental Value

A 3’-4’ tall perennial that produces strongly perfumed flowers that exude a scent that people either love or hate. Not overly fussy; it prefers mostly sunny conditions with ample moisture and loamy soil. 

Cultivation

Although Valerian grows like a weed, propagation from seed can be difficult. If you attempt, purchase  fresh seeds and use them soon after purchase. Plant them in rich, well worked, loose soil to a depth of an 1/8 inch or so. Purchasing potted plants that have been propagated from root an easier way to go.

Harvest & Keeping

Either harvest leaves throughout the season, dry and use them to make tea or dig the roots in the fall and roots in the fall and use these as the basis for a tincture. (The dried roots may also be used as a tea—simmer for 15 min.)   Often, many opt to include lemon balm and tulsi ( holy basil) for taste and as adjuncts for anxiety, stress or for inducing sleep. 

Precautions

Do not consume for more than 2-3 weeks straight. Valerian should NOT be consumed during the day as it does promote sleep. Do not take during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Do NOT take with other sleep enhancing drugs as it will increase the effect of prescription drugs.  The red flowering form of Valerian does not have medicinal value. 

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