Valeriana officinalis | ‘Garden Valerian’, ‘Valerian’, ‘Valerian Root’ | 10g dried root
A flowering perennial herb of the Caprifoliaceae, Valeriana officinalis is a historically medicinal species which is native to Asia and Europe. It’s often described as native to the UK too, although it was apparently only introduced to the country in the 19th century. This listing is for dried ‘Valerian Root’.
Valeriana officinalis has been used as a medicinal herb by many cultures, including the ancient Greeks and Romans. Consequently, it’s been used to treat a variety of ailments, including anxiety, convulsions, coughing, “envy of the elves”(!), insomnia, migraine, pain and plague. ‘Valerian’ derivatives have been used to develop several useful medicines and the plant is also attractive to many cats too (in a similar fashion to Nepeta cataria, aka ‘Catnip’).
Commonly known by names such as ‘All-heal’, ‘Garden Heliotrope’, ‘Garden Valerian’, ‘Setwall’, ‘Valerian’ and ‘Valerian Root’, officinalis reaches a maximum height of roughly one and a half metres, producing sturdy, straight stems which bear lovely, fern-like green foliage. Magnificent clusters of pink-white flowers bloom between spring and summer, releasing a wonderful fragrance (described by many as reminiscent of almond and/or vanilla) which can linger for weeks. These flowers – unusual in that they demonstrate neither bilateral nor radial symmetry – are especially attractive to bees, birds, butterflies, hoverflies and moths.
‘Valerian’ plants can be propagated by rootball division, cuttings and seed (although it’s usually comparatively slow to germinate). Naturally, the species grows alongside ditches and in wet meadows in USDA Hardiness Zones 4-9, where it requires a moist soil with a neutral (~6.6-7.5) pH level, in full sun to partial shade.
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