Valarian, though insignificant in appearance has been widely used as a medicinal herb. This herb can be found throughout Europe and Britain near damp places. The herb’s name comes from a Latin work meaning “powerful and healthy” which is accurate in describing its properties. It was also thought to relieve headaches, stress, palpitations and anxiety. Today, many herbalists say it is the Valium of today.

There is also a red valerian also called ‘bloody butcher’, but is less potent. With floral bouquets, valerian symbolizes accommodation.

What to look for:
Though easy to grow, it is not a common plant since it has a fairly nasty smell. It does, however, have some pretty white or pink flowers. It has a light green, leaves that are feathery to the touch and floppy. The flowers bloom from June to late August and appear in clusters.

How Mother Nature loves it:
Valerian seeds aren’t the fastest of all to germinate, so don’t expect all of the seedlings to germinate. The earth should be damp, and as with all herbs, well drained.

How to use it:
If you keep a compost pile, you can use the top part of this plant to speed up the decomposing process since it’s full of phosphorus. You can also use it to protect your soil from erosion, as well as heat or cold. For kitchen or medicinal uses, you can use the rhizome (the chunky part of the root) to relax, sedate or calm your nerves in a tea. If you decide to keep this herb in your home, be sure to keep it air tight or outdoors since the stench can be quite strong.

Sonya Lee

Since a child, Sonya has been traveling from the corners of Canada to the far east Asia. Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, she led a normal family life with her brother, mother and dad. A well received job opportunity in Hong Kong for her father put the compass in action from a young age. Sonya loves good food, and I mean GOOD simple food. She loves an occasional drink, be merry and enjoy the good times. Having recently healed herself from a large ruptured cyst, her favorite foods include fresh carrot juice, grilled vegetables, sauteed portabello mushrooms and truffle french fries. Her philosophy? Healthy food makes a healthy body. Read more on the Editor page. When she's not fretting over WAFT, she runs a small design agency called mowie media and shares the good times with her dog, Monster and 3 cats Sabi, Kaeli & Misty.

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