Valerian, Valeriana officinalis
DESCRIPTION AND CULTURE: This hardy perennial grows by underground stems and spreads, making larger clumps, but is not aggressive, unless you let it re-seed. It is starting to spread around my countryside, so I think birds are eating the seeds and spreading them around. Cut off the light purple flowering tops, if you want to avoid creating an “invasive species” in your area. The flowers are deeply aromatic, though, so you can use them for bouquets! A common name is “Garden Heliotrope”, named after the charming, old fashioned, purple flowering plant, and valerian is reminiscent of that scent- yum! Valerian grows to about 15 inches and is mainly upright.
PART USED: root
FUNCTION: Valerian is famous for making ones nighttime experience more relaxing and restful. It has also been used in times of extreme stress to stay calm. This aromatic root circulates heart chi and relieves irritability and anxiety, releases constraint, calms spirit and promotes rest. About 10% of the population is adversely affected by valerian, causing them to get agitated. I find these people to be more sensitive and etherial.