PART 2. THE HERBS
Valerian is teeming with good stuff: calcium; magnesium; vitamin B; caffeic, isovalerenic, and valerenic acids; essential oils; sesquiterpernes; and glycosides. It’s most often considered “brain food” because its sweet spot is helping treat and support the nervous system.
Did You Know?
The earliest European colonists shipped valerian along with all of their belongings to start a new life in America. Because this herb is a natural stress and pain reliever that’s easy to grow, packing it as a cure-all was a no-brainer.
MEDICINAL: treats insomnia, stress, anxiety, headaches, nerve pain, depression, and nervous system issues; suppresses central nervous system activity; relaxes colon, uterus, and bronchial passages; relieves muscle and back tension; manages high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.
•Apply as a tincture, oil, poultice, or salve
•Drink as a tea
Valerian is safe for short-term use (no studies have been done on the herb longer than one month). Side effects in some people can include insomnia, headache, anxiety, and a morning-after sluggishness or “hangover.” You can’t really overdose on it, but if your muscles or limbs start to feel heavy or sluggish, you may want to cut back the dosage.
Locating & Growing
This perennial loves moist, rich soil and partial shade. Another self-sower, once you plant valerian, you’ll likely find it in abundance everywhere in your garden.