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rachael hamblin
Posts: 129
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We have some valerian growing in our yard and we're wondering if there are uses for parts of the plant other than the root, since we'd rather not kill the plant to use it.  I've been trying to find information on valerian leaves and came across it used in a couple of herb formulas but haven't found any info on its use.  Does anyone know anything about this?  I'm also wondering about whether it would be okay for the plant to cut it back at this point in the season, since in a few weeks or so its going to start smothering the strawberries. 

Thanks!
 
rachael hamblin
Posts: 129
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I've found the answer to part of this:  I was told that if you cut back the valerian top to about 3 or 4 inches high a few times over the summer, it increases the size of the root.  So a) it can be cut back without harming the plant and b) this would be good if one was planning to harvest the root.  Still trying to find out about use of the leaves, though apparently in Fight Club it was prescribed to Jack to help with insomnia, wouldn't trust that to determine usage but it would imply it might be useable...
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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This is purely anecdotal, but I've heard that when the Bullock kids were little they would occasionally have tantrums. Apparently, simply handing them a valerian flower to sniff would calm them down pretty quickly.

Next time you pick up a copy of Newsweek and feel like throwing a tantrum grab a flower and give it a sniff. See if it helps...

Dave
 
Kelda Miller
Posts: 769
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I'd second Dave's story.

Valerian is a great choice for the Puget Sound area, as I've seen big patches of a native variety growing at Mt. Rainier Nat'l Park.

So I picked a bunch up while backpacking, was fingering it as I walked, and 15 minutes later am wondering to my friends: 'golly, I'm feeling So tired all of a sudden, what's up?'

oh yeah
 
Leah Sattler
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thats some pretty powerful stuff! I know it is used in horses (and is not allowed for animals showing). if it will knock out a horse then it got some punch.
 
Dave Boehnlein
Posts: 294
Location: Orcas Island, WA
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On another note, you should be able to get at the roots of a mature plant without killing it entirely. I would dig up the root and rhizomes and take some for medicine. If you put a few sizable chunks back in the ground they should re-sprout again next year and grow more for you.

Dave
 
Rebecca Dane
Posts: 211
Location: Missoula Montana
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Valerian is a natural form of Valium.  It should not be taken by persons who have had or are prone to seizures as valerian can cause siezures.

It can be made into a tea or tincture dropped into water or tea to help one sleep.  It is very stinky and smells like rotten gym socks.
 
                            
Posts: 33
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Is there any truth in the claim that valerian helps lower blood pressure?  Does it really work or does it simply put you to sleep- like so many prescription BP drugs do?
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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I take the capsule form of Valerian - would love to find the plant or seeds to grow my own.

I DO NOT RECOMMEND THIS TO ANYONE - JUST MY OWN EXPERIENCE:

Years ago I worked with a praticularly awful witch and the only way to get through my day was to take valerian root at least once a day.  In my mind it couldn't be any worse than perscription anti-depressants.  It does not make me tired.

I describe the feeling like this:  The problems have not gone away, I am still alert and can deal with them, but I just don't give a @#$%. 

I still keep a bottle at work and another at home - just in case.

There have been numerous studies done on ADHD and other such afflictions and how they react to valerian root.  The pharmacutical companies cannot make a bunch of money on it though so I don't expect to see much research - if valerian is too successful they might make it illegal.
 
Heather Holm
Posts: 13
Location: Nova Scotia
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We use valerian capsules for sleep. My husband now uses it instead of prescription sleeping pills, and is very glad not to have the side effects. I use it occasionally when I need to. It's a bit of a diuretic, so I usually have to get up during the night to pee, but then I go back to sleep easily. Not all drug stores carry it because people don't know about it. Pity. If you need an antidote to it, coffee is perfect.

I have valerian growing in the flower garden. If i let it go to seed, little valerian plants pop up everywhere - in the lawn, in other gardens.... I'd like to develop a way to make it useful - without having to taste it too much or drink it in a tea. So I'll try cutting it back to make the roots bigger. Thanks for that tip.
 
Lisa Allen
Posts: 224
Location: San Diego, CA USA
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Indeed, you can use the Valerian uppers - you can place them fresh for tincture in Brandy, Vodka, electuary in Raw Honey or make an elixir by combining Brandy with the honey.  It is milder than the roots, and I agree - this can provide a more conscientious plant use!  Then, if you tincture, just use something like 10-30 drops in water - or make a tea with Catnip, Chamomile, Passionflower, Fennel, Spearmint, etc. and add the drops to that.  If it is with honey, you may need more, like a teaspoon - figure out your own doses and use caution first, and increase gradually.

As for blood pressure, hmmm.  Look into implementing raw apple cider vinegar and good quality water, and also herbally into Hawthorn, Motherwort, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric and/or Cayenne - and if needed, Sweet Clover (white or yellow, the Melilotus spp.).  While the nervine herbs can calm you, solving the underlying issues can go a long way.  Please work with someone knowledgeable since your situation may differ.
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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Astro, by uppers I'm guessing you mean the leaves.  I did find a small plant and I want to trim the leaves to stimulate growth so I am going to try your tip with the brandy.

It would be nice to find a way to use it that is not so stinky.
 
Heather Holm
Posts: 13
Location: Nova Scotia
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I was talking with a professional herbalist today. She said to hang the roots to dry without washing them. The dirt will fall off as they dry. Then you can grind them in a coffee grinder or by any other means when you want to use them. Alternatively, you can make a tincture with the fresh roots.

I told her that when we buy valerian, we find the brands with liquid extract in oval, plastic-looking capsules more effective than those with powder in transparent gelcaps. She suggested that the latter may be old stock that had lost its potency. The material will stay effective longer as whole roots than if it's ground up.

She hadn't heard of the cutting back trick to increase the size of the roots.

Then as we were walking around, we found a valerian plant in an old schoolyard!
 
Lisa Allen
Posts: 224
Location: San Diego, CA USA
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I meant the aerial part of the plant, above ground.  The freshly-blooming flowers in particular, along with the leaves and stems, can all be used.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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Almost all the anti-depressant drugs are based on the structure of Valerian .

It is also said that the Pied Piper carried it to attract the mice
 
ellen rosner
Posts: 136
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morganism wrote:
Almost all the anti-depressant drugs are based on the structure of Valerian .


Hello,
do you have some evidence to support this?

thanks,
ellen
 
                            
Posts: 37
Location: australia
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the leaf can be chewed...anyone who will gulp down stinky root sections or pills, could perhaps take a little leaf without too much risk, I find that the taste is actually good and the effect is instantaneous, if mild...smells and tastes are an integral part of searching out food...if you do not like it, spit it out, if you do, practise moderation
 
                            
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It is most effective on blood type O for sleeping. For others it may not do much.
 
Harper Stone
Posts: 24
Location: Whatcom County, Washington
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We've got little valerians sprouting all up over the garden. I've recently moved here and it took me a while to even identify the plant as valerian. But I have one question: I have read that there is a 'Valerian officinalis' which has the medicinal properties, and another one (perhaps the pacific nw native one? or 'Red valerian'?) which does not. Does anyone know how to tell the difference, or if it's even true that one is ineffective? They all have burgundy/maroon leaves right now, and had stalks 3 feet high that had gone to seed and dried by the time I moved in.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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can find the basics on wikipedia, but is also brought up in the bioethics talks too.

patenting nature by adding a hydroxyl group.

 
Corky Love
Posts: 63
Location: Tacoma, WA [8B-7B]
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Harper Stone wrote:We've got little valerians sprouting all up over the garden. I've recently moved here and it took me a while to even identify the plant as valerian. But I have one question: I have read that there is a 'Valerian officinalis' which has the medicinal properties, and another one (perhaps the pacific nw native one? or 'Red valerian'?) which does not. Does anyone know how to tell the difference, or if it's even true that one is ineffective? They all have burgundy/maroon leaves right now, and had stalks 3 feet high that had gone to seed and dried by the time I moved in.


Both are effective and one report I've read said that the native Valeraina sitchensis is even stronger in some ways than the officinalis. It's really all about what you're looking for in your medicine. I went to my book that I thought it was in, no luck, will keep looking and link it later.
 
Morgan Morrigan
Posts: 1400
Location: Verde Valley, AZ.
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you don't even need a brain to make anti-depressants work. Seratonin disruptors are stronger than we thought.

http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/340236/title/Brain_not_required_for_antidepressant_to_act
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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"I have read that there is a 'Valerian officinalis' which has the medicinal properties, and another one (perhaps the pacific nw native one? or 'Red valerian'?) which does not. Does anyone know how to tell the difference, or if it's even true that one is ineffective? "

I can add that there is a plant Centranthus ruber, common names Jupiter's Beard, and Red Valerian among others. From what I know, Jupiter's Beard/Red Valerian is not medicinally interchangeable with Valerian officinalis, the medicinal plant. I just did a quick web search, and found conflicting reports on the medicinal uses. I'd stay with Valerian officinalis for medicinal uses. And if you are going to try the Jupiter's beard, go carefully, with all precautions.

I used to think valerian was stinky, but I've been making tea from valerian root, and at first I put in hops and chamomile and lavender. I drank it with honey and soy milk. Now that is all too much bother. I just make the valerian tea and drink it straight. I guess I'm used to it. It does help me sleep, and funny enough I DO have type O blood.

As for killing the plant(s), or weakening them by digging the roots: Jupiter's beard is so invasive you could almost never be rid of it, and my friend who has true valerian in her garden says it is invasive and everywhere... and it is beautiful and she loves it, and is going to dig me some. YAY.

Thekla
 
Roge Luo
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Valerian officinalis was planted in China in bulk now, the harvest mostly was used to produce Valerian extract, it is a resourse of drugs named Valerian xxx, I think it is easier to buy them instead of plant them buy yourself.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Yeah, it is easier to buy than to do, but whenever there is something I CAN do, that's usually my choice.

Things from the US that are labeled "organic" often aren't, "free range" is a totally misleading misnomer. If it is from China, there is no reason to have any confidence in the growing practices, they are out for the buck! Wikiality and truthiness are a large part of what is said about the things that arrive here from China.

I have 2 acres of ground. The valerian flowers are beautiful. I prefer valerian plants to tumbleweeds, puncture vine, goat heads, sand burs cockleburrs, all the things that would grow if I diudn't have my chosen weeds in place. I live on a limited income. I have plenty of time. I drink valerian tea on a regular basis. I know of others who would prefer to have the things in their life primarily originate close to home, who would buy organic valerian root from me. The money I would have to spend to buy the easier choice, I would have to earn by selling something I produce. I won't end up with a bag of trash that was used to package the valerain I bought. The resources expended to process and package and transport the valerian in a bottle, the warehouse where the bottled valerian was stored, all these resources can be left in place, or expended towards something I CAN'T produce just a step out side my door.

I love the feeling of security that the things I need are right here with me, self replenishing and pristine, and I feel HAPPY just to look at what I have tended.

There are plenty of reasons to grow your own valerian and many other things. And yes, I am glad that there is a store that stocks all the things I make for myself, I enjoy the presence of the safety net, even if I never need it.

Thekla

 
Roge Luo
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In the past 20 years, something changed in China, Made in China became low-quality, not safe, it is the truth.
Some business man without conscience made many bad things, it was really shame of China, but everyone can not clare it never happened in your countries. It is only byproduct of rapidly development.
Now we are trying to fix it, although my own strength is little, but I think it will do some effect.
 
Corky Love
Posts: 63
Location: Tacoma, WA [8B-7B]
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My valerian is thriving in it's second year. A friend from out of state was visiting and we dug a chunk to share.

My cats went wild!

I caged the cat nip last year so they couldn't smother it, now I'm wondering if I'm going to have to cage the mother valerian! The cat was just spread out across the patch, sun bathing! Earlier, I'd seen our other cat basking and rubbing at the edge of the patch over the spot where we dug it up.

They're chasing the dragon.

I didn't know I was planting a garden of cat narcotics.
 
Thekla McDaniels
gardener
Posts: 1826
Location: Grand Valley of Colorado's Western Slope
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Hi Clover,
Cats are great aren't they?
Do you have room to plant LOTS of catnip, valerian and catmint? My cats love the stuff, and always come find me if I am cutting the catnip. They lick the cut stems, they rub against it, they lie on it. But I have so much, spread so widely, even together we could not make a dent in it!


Thekla
 
Patrick Thornson
Posts: 147
Location: Zone Five, B.C., Western Canada.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10761819

"In conclusion, treatment with a herbal extract of radix valerianae demonstrated positive effects on sleep structure and sleep perception of insomnia patients, and can therefore be recommended for the treatment of patients with mild psychophysiological insomnia."

Precautions- Should not be used by pregnant or nursing women or people awaiting surgery. "Valerian may potentiate the effects of anesthetics that act on GABA receptors, and presurgical valerian use may cause a valerian-anesthetic interaction."
 
Jeanine Gurley Jacildone
pollinator
Posts: 1422
Location: Midlands, South Carolina Zone 7b/8a
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The top of my valerian plant has completely died back.

It is now at the end of it's second summer with me. I'm not sure what to do.

I'm going to dig up the root tomorrow and see if it is O.K.

Any advice from valerian growers? This is my only plant.
 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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i love h ow it makes me relax
and it is is also used in biodynamic preperations
 
andrew curr
Posts: 288
Location: Deepwater northern New South wales Australia
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Jeanine Gurley wrote:The top of my valerian plant has completely died back.

It is now at the end of it's second summer with me. I'm not sure what to do.

I'm going to dig up the root tomorrow and see if it is O.K.

Any advice from valerian growers? This is my only plant.
divide and multiply keep moist and well drained
 
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