The Valerian

The Valerian (Valériana officinalis), is part of the family of valerianaceae. It can be attributed to different synonyms: cat grass, little valerian, murderous grass, Saint-Georges grass.

Origin and Description of Valerian

This plant with a mystical reputation, meets in Europe and in temperate Asia. Most often in wet and shaded environments.

It is a beautiful perennial plant tall from 70 cm to 1 m. Its high stems crown small pink-white flowers with ambiguous fragrance. Its roots are so thick and odorous that many pharmacists refuse them in their dispensary.

The constitution of the Valerian

These roots contain an aromatic essence rich in sesquiterpenes, in particular, valerenic acid and valerenone, and in monoterpenes, such as bornyl acetate, as well as iridoids, valepotriates, highly unstable and extractable by alcohol, not water. The plant also contains traces of alkaloids and acids-phenols.

Traditional use of valerian centuries ago

In the past, the valerian was advocated by Italian doctors at XVIIe century as antispasmodic one powerful one, capable of curing the epilepsy. We will therefore use it against this affection, and also against the hysteria and dance of Saint-guy. It seems to decrease the production of urea and Cazin, doctor at XIXe century, recommend against lean diabetes. Febrifuge, the root was also used against intermittent fevers.

For external use, its leaves were once used against varicose veins, which it apparently reduced very well against wounds by penetrating objects (thorns, arrows, bullets) and to reduce the painful swelling of the gout.

The therapeutic properties of valerian

Valerian is an excellent antistress. It is an effective sedative of states of nervousness and arousal, useful in the treatment of palpitations, tics, choking, asthma attacks, in that of painful stomach contractions and nervous manifestations accompanying vermin infections. It makes it possible to find sleep by removing the hauntiness of worries and obsessions. It also has hypotensive virtues. L’ESCOP advocates the use of roots against nervous agitation and sleep disturbances.

The active ingredient of valerian is not precisely determined. Several of its components would act in synergy.

How was Valerian prepared centuries ago ?

ATTENTION: These preparations should not be reproduced without the presence of a pharmacy expert.

Internal use

The root loses part of its properties by drying. This is why the plant was generally used in a pharmaceutical form, which allowed it to retain its entire action. However, it was possible to use the dry root in herbal or dyeing.

In decoction

A tablespoon or 10 g of dry root for a bowl, boil for three minutes, then infuse for 10 minutes. Drink one or two bowls per day, preferably at night.

In cold maceration

10 g root, let macerate for 10 hours in a glass of cold water. Take glass per day. Ability to sweeten and flavor with orange blossom water or a few drops of mint alcohol if you don’t like the taste and smell of valerian.

In dye

200 g of a fresh cut root, macerated 15 days in 1 l of white living water. Filter and take 40 to 50 drops at bedtime.

External use

At the time, they applied crushed fresh leaf poultices to the affected areas. They could also use a strong infusion, 50 g to 80 g per liter of boiling water for 10 minutes, followed by maceration for eight hours, to make calming enemas.

Did you know ?

The well-being of the people through the roots of Valerian is at the origin of his Latin name, Valeo, “to be in good health”. In addition, this cat grass has another property: it excites and euphorizes cats.

Other species

Valerian Phu (Valeriana Phu), also known as a large valerian or valerian garden, and sometimes grown in the garden. Its root is much more developed than that of the valerian officinale, but its scent is less strong. It is no longer used for medical purposes.

The red centranth (Centranthus Ruber), or red valerian, and commonly grown in ornamental gardens under the name of Lila of Spain. The plant is also medicinal. Its underground parts contain large amounts of valepotriates and possess the same virtues as those of the valerian officinale.

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