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Valerian Officinalous  RSS feed

 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I was able to splurge again today and spent 4 whole dollars on a 4 inch pot with a nice looking Valerian plant which I intend to be an addition to by burgeoning pharmacopeia. Only problem is I've never grown it before. The roots are the harvest part if I am not mistaken. Tips for growing? Manor of growth? Like does it spread by rhizomes or will I have to wait for it to go to seed and then scratch the ground around it up to get more plantlets? Collected distilled knowledge of this plant goes here:
 
Christopher G Williams
Posts: 69
Location: Ossineke, MI
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Well, it's a shame no one has shared their experiences yet because this is a wonderful plant. They put on wonderful long standing blooms that attract pollinators and actually smell quite nice, especially compared to the roots. Evidently even just smelling the flower can produce a relaxing effect, although I have never experienced this and not for lack of trying.

They are one of the first things up in the garden here in zone 4/5. I think they do spread a bit by rhizome but where they really shine is self seeding. We turned one plant from a farm stand 3 years ago into what looks like scores, or at least dozens now.

If you are growing them to harvest the roots you will have to wait 2 years to get a good yield. Fun fact that you may already know about the roots: They smell fine, even nice when they are in the ground, only when you harvest them and they contact the oxygen do they develop the 'sweaty gym socks' smell they are so notorious for.

Hopefully people will add more info because it really is a lovely and useful plant.
 
Adam Moore
Posts: 123
Location: Mansfield, Ohio Zone 5b percip 44"
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I'm in Ohio and my Valerian is over a foot high already! It really is the first thing that comes up in the spring except for the spring flower bulbs. One thing I have noticed is that it attracts aphids. My Valerian plants are always covered with aphids sucking out the sap and their guardian ants and that's a good thing because the aphids don't bother any thing else. The Valerian doesn't even seem to mind the aphids. I use it as a "trap" plant. Another thing I like is that I get these super small bee/wasps insects that love the Valerian flowers. I have never seen them before in my garden until I started growing Valerian. I have never harvested the roots though. The flowers do smell really sweet.
 
Doc Jones
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Location: Buhl, Idaho
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I've been growing it for several years here in Idaho. It's difficult to propagate from seed...at least for me. It does self seed a bit here on my place but yields from such are more accidental and are uncommon. IF you do use seed, use it asap as it really suffers with age.

It's an attractive vigorous plant. Root cuttings are the best way to propagate...just leave some after each harvest.

My plants are principally for demonstration purposes/herb walks as my clinical needs far surpass what I'm producing. I use it a lot for insomnia, anxiety and pain cases.

Doc
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Awesome! Glad folks finally replied!

I planted out my little 4 inch pot start last week in some fairly sandy soil under a grand fir. It gets direct and/or mix mottled light for most of the day and some moderate but nowhere near full shade. It looks to be doing fairly well.
 
Doc Jones
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Landon Sunrich wrote:Awesome! Glad folks finally replied!

I planted out my little 4 inch pot start last week in some fairly sandy soil under a grand fir. It gets direct and/or mix mottled light for most of the day and some moderate but nowhere near full shade. It looks to be doing fairly well.


Mine seems happy in full sun.

Doc
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1976
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
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I have some that grows well in a pretty shady area.

I might be the only person who like the smell of valerian root. Maybe it's just because I associate it with relaxing and a good night's sleep.
 
Doc Jones
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Matu Collins wrote:I have some that grows well in a pretty shady area.

I might be the only person who like the smell of valerian root. Maybe it's just because I associate it with relaxing and a good night's sleep.


I don't mind it either and my wife likes it. I actually find it works much better in people who aren't offended by the smell. Perhaps a bit of pharmocognasy going on there.

Doc
 
Victor Johanson
Posts: 377
Location: Fairbanks, Alaska
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I planted a root back in the 80s, and never saw it come up. Moved away for 8 years, and when we came back, it was all over the place. Mine grows 6+ feet tall and self seeds prolifically. Fairbanks winters don't bother it at all.
 
Judith Browning
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Location: Arkansas Ozarks zone 7 alluvial,black,deep loam/clay with few rocks, wonderful creek bottom!
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Doc Jones wrote:
Matu Collins wrote:I have some that grows well in a pretty shady area.

I might be the only person who like the smell of valerian root. Maybe it's just because I associate it with relaxing and a good night's sleep.


I don't mind it either and my wife likes it. I actually find it works much better in people who aren't offended by the smell. Perhaps a bit of pharmocognasy going on there.

Doc


that's interesting because I got some for my husband...powdered root in capsules and he can't get past the smell. I have used it a few times with great results for both pain and sleep, I wouldn't say I like the smell but it isn't off putting. For me it is a bit like eating a feverfew leaf...the bitterness is worth the feel good phase. Is that what 'pharmocognasy' means?

edited to correct spelling.
edited to correct spelling, again
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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I could be totally mistaken as I only heard the term for the first time in this thread - but I think pharmacognacy means more or less that your brain/senses instinctivly know whats good for you. Ie if your short on vitamin A all of a sudden you get a hankering for carrots and the carrots taste REALLY good.

Edit:Changed I to Ie and corrected spelling of 'pharmacognacy'
 
Doc Jones
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Landon Sunrich wrote:I could be totally mistaken as I only heard the term for the first time in this thread - but I think pharmacognacy means more or less that your brain/senses instinctivly know whats good for you. Ie if your short on vitamin A all of a sudden you get a hankering for carrots and the carrots taste REALLY good.

Edit:Changed I to Ie and corrected spelling of 'pharmacognacy'


Spelling: pharmacognosy.

Yup, that's what it means. From "Pharmakon" (medicine) + "Gnosis" (knowledge)...in other words, knowing instinctively what's good for you. Animals do it too (they call it zoopharmacognosy...err...they actually don't call it anything but we call it that when they do it). There are some really amazing examples in nature. Perhaps the most remarkable is the chimps of Tanzania who will travel outside their normal feeding ranges to seek out a plant that the locals call "goat killer". It's an extremely toxic plant. The chimps avoid the deadly leaves and open the stems to eat the pith. The pith kills a malaria-like parasite they get.

So how did the chimps know? It wasn't by trial and error..."Hmmm, Bobo died when he ate the leaves. Jiji died when she ate the roots. I wonder what the pith would do." It certainly wasn't from watching the goats (who are apparently much less adept at zoopharmocognacy than the chimps). How do they do it? They just know. People just know as well. Listen to the little voice in your head. Listen to your cravings. Eat more bananas and pick the lice from the head of a friend. Before you know it, you'll be back in touch with your own body.

I read a study once where people were given herbs for treatment of some ailment. As they improved (and presumably needed the herbs less) they found the herbs to be increasingly less palatable.

Doc
 
Landon Sunrich
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Location: Western Washington
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Damn it! I knew I should have studied Greek!

Thanks for enlightening post Doc
 
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