Friday, August 19, 2011


*Valerian (Valeriana officinalis)

*best in zones 4-7
*an odd plant in that it generally smells terrible and yet the flowers are very beautifully scented

Parts Used:
*roots, fresh or dried

*sun to light shade
*moist, well-drained loam soil or compost-rich soil

*can be propagated easily by seed. You can either transplant outdoors in late spring or sow directly into the soil in early spring

*divide mature plants in autumn or early spring
*moderate to heavy watering is necessary
*be warned: cats LOVE valerian more than they do catnip! Make sure your valerian plants do not get damaged close to the roots or the cats will come quickly and roll all over the plant until it is crushed.
*cut back after flowering (in the summer) to prevent it from self-seeding, if desired
*can be grown in a container if it is large enough for the root system: use soil-based potting compost. Position in partial shade so that the compost does not dry out. Water regularly, esp. in the summer

*harvest the roots in the fall of the first year or the spring of the second year
*gently rinse the roots and dry them in a 200 degree Fahrenheit oven with the door left ajar. Grind if desired.

*excellent remedy for stress, insomnia, and anxiety
*great for healing the nervous system and the digestive system
*it is used as a strong sedative and pain-reliever
*it is used for headaches
*it can be made into a diluted tea and added to pet food for anxious/restless pets, espeicially if you are about to travel with the pet, because it calms them

For more information, see: references and warnings

Valerian root

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