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Valerian





(Valeriana Officianalis)


Indicated for:
Anxiety, Insomnia, Stress, Panic Attacks, Muscle Tension, Cramps, PMS, Menopause, Hypochondria, Migraine, Croup, Convulsions.

Why it works:
Valerian is an ancient sedative, and although the exact compound that has the tranquilizing effect has yet to be identified, recent studies have found traces of a substance similar to THC (the active ingredient in marijuana).

How to use it:
Valerian is popularly bought as a ready prepared tea.

Infusion or Decoction:
Infuse the dried roots to make a decoction. 1 tsp chopped herb to 1 cup boiling water. Infuse 15 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day

Capsules:
1 capsule 3 times daily.

Extract
10 drops in water or juice daily.

Culinary uses:
None.

Growing notes:
Native to Britain and Europe and doesn't like extremes of climate, so may need shelter from harsh winds and excess sun. It thrives however in poor soil. Growing from seed is an expert's job, so buy plants or divide from a friends' in Spring. However once Valerian is established it will flourish with little attention, and makes a very attractive addition to the garden.Can reach 5 feet tall! You can make a spray of Valerian decoction to strengthen your other herbs.

Safety:
This is a herb for occasional use. Long-term use can cause headaches, hallucinations, nightmares, and spasms. Do not exceed the stated dose.

Storage:
Keep clean roots very dry. Best stored dried quickly. You can do this in a microwave or very cool oven. It is theoretically possible to sun-dry Valerian however the harvest time is fall, so this is only feasible in unusually hot weather.

History:
Recommended by Culpeper for Plague! Some older versions of the Pied Piper of Hamlyn story give it as the herb carried in his pockets to lure the rats. It does work on Cats just like Catnip, I've watched my cats roll for hours in the Valerian bed.

Notes:
There is a herb known as Indian Valerian which although it has similar properties is NOT related. It can be differentiated by its far pleasenter smell, and is used primarily as an incense or anointing oil. This Indian Valerian is the Spikenard mentioned in the Song of Solomon.

Despite the similar usage there is no connection between Valerian and Valium. Valerian is the safer of the two by far, and does not react with alcohol as Valium or similar pharmaceutical tranquilizers do.