Valerian is a powerful medicinal herb we use often in herbalism and herbal formulas. It’s main use in our experiences is as a sleep aid, and that is probably what it’s known most for, however it has also been used as a muscle relaxant, a sedative, and to sooth stomach and intestinal issues. It is considered a nervine in the world of herbalism—meaning that it interacts with the nervous system in humans (coffee is probably the most famous nervine, poppy is also another one).
The parts used in this plant are the roots and the rhizomes. Carefully dig up plants that are at least two years old, try not to damage any roots, very carefully rinse and clean roots, and then dry them. You can make an herbal infusion or decoction with them (both forms of tea).
If you have cats, they LOVE the roots, possibly even more than catnip!! The flowers are a wonderful white with a slight pink hue. Some people love the smell (us included) and others think they smell like dirty gym socks! In either case, this is a powerful medicine when you have those days where it’s hard to get to sleep, and you don’t wake up feeling groggy like many drugs that help for sleep!