Some Herb Basics: Most herbs work better on an empty stomach. A few exceptions are garlic, goldenseal and cayenne due to stomach upset. Herbs work in a cumulative fashion meaning they are not a “one dose wonder.” They need to build up in the system a little, usually within 2-3 doses, before any real affect can be noticed. Fresh herbs always work better than old herbs and science is always proving the fact that a whole herb usually is more effective than one isolated compound of that herb.
Medicinal Properties: Studies show valerian to be an effective tranquilizer without causing an addiction like Valium, and so has been used to induce sleep and relieve headaches.
How to Use: Valerian smells and tastes like stinky feet or vomit. To drink a tea takes a strong constitution, but you can get somewhat used to it after a while. You can smell valerian the second a bottle or package of it is open. I would recommend capsules, definitely not tinctures or extracts. Try a weak tea and work your way up to something stronger. 1/2 tsp in 1 C. water to start. Do not exceed 1 tsp crushed root to 1 C water (see warning). Drink tea 1-2 times daily for no more than 1 week.
Parts Used: Root
Warning: Large doses may cause dizziness, stupor, vomiting and prolonged use could lead to depression. A regular dose, 2 to 3 times a week is perfectly safe.
Growing: Easy to grow from seed and readily self-sows. Likes partial or dappled shade and moderate water. In spite of the awful taste and smell of valerian root, the blossoms have a pleasant fragrance.
How to use herbs for maximum benefit. Short and sweet descriptions and uses written by our on-staff Nutritional Herbalist. Always remember that herbs should be treated as a medicine. Almost all of our modern-day medicines are derived from compounds found in herbs and plants. If you have not used a particular herb before, try a half dose at first to make sure you do not have an unfavorable reaction to it.