Valerian is well known for its strong distinct aroma which only develops after the roots are dried. One of the most calming and deeply relaxing herbs we know of valerian is often used in bedtime formulas and sleep pillows.
Botanical name: Valeriana officinalis L.
Botanical Family: Valerianaceae
Common name: valerian
Synonyms: garden heliotrope garden valerian fragrant valerian
The Plant: Valerian was used for more than 2000 years in a variety of ways – including as a food medicinal herb perfume and spice. Its modern uses are related to its relaxing effects on people and animals.
The name valerian (which did not come into common use until the 9th or 10th centuries) comes from the Latin word valere meaning to be well or to be strong. Valerian root was official in The United States Pharmacopoeia from 1820 till 1936. Today its one of the best studied of the traditional healing herbs. Its also one of the most popular herbal remedies in Europe and the United States.
The common name of valerian is used to denote several species of valerian that are used interchangeably. Mexican valerian (V. edulis) Pacific valerian (V. sitchensis) and Indian valerian (V. wallichii) or (jatamansii) may be found in commerce under the name valerian so its important to check the botanical name when looking for a particular species. European valerian (V. officinalis) is the species commonly used in the United States and Europe. Its native to Europe and Asia and is naturalized in North America.
A perennial herb valerian grows six feet tall and has longitudinally grooved hollow stems deeply divided leaves and fragrant small white to pink flowers borne in clusters on a flowering stalk. The parts of the plant used as a traditional herb are the below-ground roots stolons and rhizomes. Valerian is easy to grow and likes a rich