Folk Names: All-Heal, Amantilla, Capon’s Trailer, Cat’s Valerian, English Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Phu, Red Valerian, St.Georges Herb, Sete Wale, Set well, Vandal Root, Wender Root
Properties: Love, Sleep, Purification, Protection, Enchantment.
The Greeks named the Plant, ‘Phu’ as in, ‘Phew!’ due to it’s strong odour. The flowers it blooms however, smell sweet, & were widely used as a perfume in the middle ages. The Latin valere from where the common name originated means, ‘to be healthy.’
Valerian was used by the Germanic Tribes as a tranquilizer to bring a restful sleep. It was discovered that the Native Americans were using the plant as a medical preservative, & topical wound treatment before the colonists arrived, & the roots were used as food & flavouring to their Tobacco. It was even said to be used in the treatment of the plague. Modern Herbalists use Valerian as a stress reliever in tea form. It is considered an excellent sedative & it is because of these very properties that one should not be driving any vehicle whilst under it’s influence. Tests of Valerian have indicated that it can lower blood pressure, but those with high blood pressure should seek a physician first.
Protection: The rather Ill-smelling Root is powdered & added to protective Sachets. Hung in the home to prevent lightning from striking it.
The Greeks hung a sprig of the Valerian under a window to ward off Evil.
A few leaves of the plant, placed in ones shoes prevent the wearer from contracting colds & flus.
Sprinkled at the front door, Valerian prevents disturbances from unwanted visitors.
Love: The Leaves are hung around the home to maintain harmony amongst loved ones.
The Root is said to aid in self acceptance & is commonly used in spells related to ending guilt & other negative thought patterns such as self hate.
Added to Love Sachets & given to quarreling couples to bring calm. Mixed with basil & boiled, it is said to have much the same effects.
Purification: A great cleanser, Valerian can be used to cleanse Ritual spaces, also used in self purifications as a tea form. It is one of the herbs said to be used by King Solomon when tending his Temple.
Sleep: Probably the most widely known use of Valerian is for it’s sleep inducing properties. It is a common ingredient in a vast number of modern medical prescriptions. Placed in Pillows or added to Dream Sachets to help aid in sleep.
Mild sedation in the relief of Insomnia & Anxiety. Studies have also shown the plant can relieve muscle spasms.
Enchantment: Small mammals are attracted to the plant, especially Cats & Rats. According to early German Folklore, it was stored in the pockets of the pied Piper as he lured the Rats. Said to be useful in Animal Magick, especially Cat Magick & invoking Animal Spirits.
Misc: Powdered, the Root can be used as a substitute for Graveyard Dust in Ritual & Magickal Workings.
Valerian grows as a tall perennial, producing clusters of white, to light pink flowers that attract Bees & Butterflies. Valerian enjoys a spot that sees all day sunshine. It also likes plenty of moisture with well draining soil. Be sure to give this plant plenty of space, it can grow to about five feet high & a foot across!
Spring & Fall are the best times to harvest Valerians roots, along with any plants needed.