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Valeriana officinalis L. Family: Valerianaceae, All-heal, baldrian, cat's valerian, common valerian, garden heliotrope, garden valerian, hardy heliotrope, St. George's herb, summer heliotrope, valerian, vandal-root, and wild valerian.Prior to the 9th or 10th century CE, the plant known as valerian was variously called phu, fu, amantilla, setwall (or setewale), thericaria, marinella, genicularis, and terdina.


Valerian, not to be confused with Red Valerian, can be grown from seed sown in spring, from softwood cuttings taken from new shoots in spring, or from established clumps divided in spring or autumn. Either sow seed directly where plants are to grow, in mid to late spring, or sow in containers under cover in early spring and grow on to plant outside in late spring to early summer. Valerian will also self seed, so you may find new plants turn up from one single plant growing in your garden. It is native to Asia and Europe, has naturalized in northeastern America, and is extensively cultivated in Belgium, The Netherlands, France, Germany, Eastern Europe, Japan, and the United States. It may have been named for the German physician and botanist Valerius Cordus (15151544).5 Others believe that the name is derived from the Latin word valere meaning “to be in health.”


The Greeks used valerian to ward off evil, hanging valerian bunches in windows. The Celts hung it in their homes to ward off lightning. One belief regarding its power was that if you tossed it into a fight, those involved would cease instantly. The herb was included in both love and sleep potions. Legend has it that the Pied Piper of Hamlin had valerian on him to attract the rats. The intense smell is also the reason why the valerian plant was often hung by Nordic peoples above the house door as protection against bad spirits in olden times. If you carried a piece of the plant with you, it was said to protect you from evil witches and the devil. According to folklore, if a hanging bunch of valerian moved in a room, an invisible ghost or an evil witch was said to have entered.


The valerian herb has been utilized since ancient times as a cure for a wide variety of health conditions, which earned it the moniker of "all-heal". Scientific studies have corroborated valerian benefits for mood and sleep disorders, also showing its potential for other medicinal uses. Extensive scientific research on valerian properties has helped identify the origin and full scope of its sedative action, as well as other potential applications. As such it is excellent as a nervine and used for all manner of stress, insomnia and anxiety. It is also great for relieving muscle pain such as menstrual cramps and epilepsy symptoms. Please take precautions when consuming. Valerian may increase the effects of other sleep aids. It also increases the sedative effect of depressants, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines and narcotics. Valerian can interfere with some prescription medications. And it may interact with other dietary supplements, such as St. John's wort.


Magical uses include purification, such as consecrating ritual tools, promoting peace, breaking hexes, and providing stability and happiness. Valerian is used for grounding during emotional turbulence and for aiding in creativity. It is also employed to help in communication during conflict and connect humans to beings in the Other Realm. When seeking the truth behind secrets, valerian is thought to help one access hidden knowledge. The main energies are protection, love, sleep, purification, harmony, wisdom and a calm mind.


Valarian is both medicinally and metaphysically used in a wide range. The physical and spiritual implications of this beautiful plant are most likely why it is nick named “All-Heal”. It heals not only your body but your mind and spirit. Working together it can bring balance to your life. It has been a “must have” among spiritual and pagan practitioners for centuries. Not only for its sedative properties but also for dream work and soothing the mind and spirit.


Medicinal Herbs; A Beginner’s Guide; Rosemary Gladstar, Pages 208-211

The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies; The Healing Power of Plant Medicine; Nicole Apelian, Ph.D & Claude Davis, Pages 141-142

Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine; Andrew Chevallier, FNIMH, page 148

Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs; Scott Cunningham, page 250.

Plant Witchery; Juliet Diaz, pages 318-319

The Magic of Flowers, A Guide to Their Metaphysical uses & Properties; Tess Whitehurst, pages 351-356

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