Fragrant Valerian is from the Valerian Family, the Valerianaceae.
The legendary Pied Piper of Hamlyn was reputed to have drawn the rats out of Hamelin, not just because of his enchanting music, but by putting magical Fragrant Valerian Root into his pockets. Rats, cats, and obviously children too, just love Fragrant Valerian root, and this is why they simply could not resist the Pied Piper as he piped his way out of Hamelin.
Valerian Root was widely used during the 15th and 16th centuries, and was regarded as something of a ‘cure-all’. Because of its wide-ranging uses, is also known as ‘All-Heal’.
Because of its anti-spasmodic properties, Valerian Root was commonly used to treat epilepsy in bygone times. Other conditions of the nervous system, such as hysteria, nervous spasms, and convulsions were treated with Valerian root, or ‘All-heal’; Lung infections which accompany colds and flu were often treated with Valerian root; An infusion of the root has even been used as an enema to rid the intestines of thread worms.
Some of its other names are ‘Vandalroot’, ‘Germain Valerian’, ‘English Valerian’, and ‘Great Wild Valerian’.
Valerian Side Effects:
There are some serious side effects to using Valerian root, so it must be used with caution. Valerian root for medicinal purposes should be reserved for use in the event of a crisis, when there may be no other help available.
Valerian was used in the First World War to treat soldiers suffering from shell shock. Valerian was used widely also during the second World War period, to treat people suffering nervous disorders which often resulted from bomb attacks.
Valerian can be addictive, so it must not be used for long periods as a regular medicine. Symptoms of poisoning may occur if Valerian is used for long periods. For these reasons, commercial products which contain Valerian should not be taken over long periods either.
The herbalist John Lust lists Valerian root for use as a mild sedative, and he also recommends that the herb be used no longer than two to three weeks at the most, with a dose of one to two cupfuls of tea per day.
Because it is an antispasmodic, Valerian Root has been used in the past to treat cases of epilepsy.
Recipe for Valerian Sedative
Note: Only the rootstock of the Valerian plant is used.
I have found two different recipes for using valerian root as a sedative.
John Lust uses a method of infusion whereby 2 teaspoons of the freshly dug root is soaked for half a day in a pint of cold water.
Infusion of Valerian Dosage: Of this infusion, only one cup is taken per day. Because you need to be careful with valerian, I would use only one cup per day, and divide the cupful into two doses of half a cup each: Half a cup in the morning and half a cup at night to help treat anxiety, or insomnia.
Recipe Number Two for Valerian Root Tea Sedative: Here is another recipe for using valerian as a sedative. Again, I have never tried this myself. The recipe is adapted from a New Zealand Herbal published in the 1980’s.
First, you dig up your valerian root. This must be dried before using, according to this New Zealand herbal. The best way to do this is by drying in a cool-to- warm oven for several hours.
Valerian Dosage: Take only one teaspoon of dried Valerian root. Soak this in half a cupful of water for half a day. Strain the liquid off and discard the Valerian root. Drink this tea at night.