Herbs > Valerian Herb

Information on, uses of and how to grow valerian:

Name
Valerian officinalis.

Family
Valerianaceae.

History
Valere is the Latin verb to be healthy. The root of Valerian which has an unpleasant smell has historically been used as a medicine.

Growing pattern
Perennial.

Seeds
Buy Valerian Seeds from The Green Chronicle (Pay in $US, £, Euro).
Herbs, Seasonings and Spices - Buy Valerian Root from Mountain Rose Herbs ($US).

How to grow
The seed of Valerian are slow to germinate. Sow them in spring under glass and plant out in summer to 60cm apart. Harvest the roots at the end of the second season then dry the rhizomes.

Soil condition/position
This herb is native to marshy soil. It likes a sunny, damp but well drained place. Cut off the flowering heads as they appear. Valerian can be grown in a container but it needs to be kept watered.

Appearance
Valerian has pink flowers from June to August. It can reach a height of 75cm.

Uses
Valerian has traditionally been used as a tranquillizer and is supposed to promote sleep. Valerian tea can be drunk before retiring for a few days but not over a long period of time. An ointment made from the leaves or roots is said to heal skin complaints.