Valeriana officinalisCommon Names: garden valerian, garden heliotrope, all-heal

Scientific Name: Valeriana officinalis, Valerianaceae

Identification: This plant can be spotted by its sweetly smelling pink and white flowers that bloom over the summer. The leaves are green and fern-like. The plant itself is small in comparison to others in the garden. It can be classified as a drug due to its sedative effect when consumed.

General info: Valerian is a perennial native to Europe and parts of Asia, and has been introduced to North America.

Parts Used: Oil from the root

Uses: Used in pharmacology, herbal medicine, as a dietary supplement and sometimes as a sedative.

Growing: This plant can grow up to five feet tall. It grows wild in damp meadows or ditches near small streams or creeks. It can become invasive if not controlled. Garden Valerian grows best in full sun and moist soil.

Storage: It is not advised to store Valerian without a professional as it is a known tranquilizer.

Medicinal Uses: used most often to treat insomnia and anxiety. It can also be used in place of benzodiazepines per doctor’s orders. It is also useful in treating pain associated with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and as a muscle relaxant.

Safety: If using this herb at home, be careful to measure it very carefully. It can cause dizziness and depression.

Books on Valerian: Valerian: The Relaxing Herb: The Herbs and Health Series by Christopher Hobb