Parts used medicinally: Root and Rhizome
Valerian is a perennial plant native to Europe and Asia. It is highly regarded in herbal medicine as a sedative and is a wonderful herb to help calm both mind and body.
What is Valerian?
Valerian root is a mild sedative and has been used for this property throughout time. It was employed by historically famous physicians such as Dioscorides and Galen, who both wrote extensively about its properties and uses.
Herbalists often use valerian for its anxiety-relieving action. The root calms the nervous system and promotes rest and relaxation, making it perfect for supporting restful sleep. Not only does valerian relax the mind but it’s also able to ease tension of the smooth muscle in your body. Smooth muscle is found both in your gut and blood vessels. This explains why it is so valuable as an aid for tummy cramps, especially when they are related to stress.
Did you Know?
- Valerian was used to treat shell-shock after the First and Second World Wars.
- Valerian root has a pungent odour, often compared, by most people, to stinky cheese or dirt socks.
- Cats love valerian so if you do get some, expect your cat to follow you around like crazy in a state of ecstasy.
Valerian and Me
- Try a few drops of valerian tincture if you’re having a stressful time and finding it difficult to get to sleep.
- Dried valerian root is a great addition to a night-time hot chocolate. Simmer some milk with a teaspoon of valerian root and a square or two of dark chocolate for about 15 mins. Strain and add some honey or maple syrup to sweeten as you wish.
If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.