Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

a.k.a Garden Heliotrope
(Valeriana officinalis)
Also see Red Valerian

CONTAINS: Rich in phosphorus.

PROPAGATION: By crown or runner division in spring or fall and by seed. Perennial.
NEEDS: Full sun to partial shade and rich, moist soil.
HARVEST: Rhizome in fall (remove fibrous root); used fresh or dried in tinctures.
PART USED: Fresh or dried rhizome.
FLOWER: White blooms in July.


Used as a natural tranquilizer> but NOT recommended for long term use.
Powerful nervine which has been used for tension, anxiety, insomnia, stress, colic, migraine, rheumatism, muscle pain, menstrual and intestinal cramps, bronchial spasms, lingering cough, and tension headaches.
Sedative (reduces time required to fall asleep.
Ability to depress central nervous system and relax smooth muscle tissue.
Has been used for asthma, stress relief and sleep disturbances. Often used in combination with other sedative herbs like hops, passion flower and skullcap. Usually taken 30 min. before bedtime.
Chronic use produces headaches, insomnia, excitability, uneasiness, and heart disturbances, although it is not addictive.
Valerian should be regarded as for occasional use only.
INFUSION 1 = 1 tsp root in 1 pint water and steeped for 2 hours; drink cold.
INFUSION 2 = 1 level tsp valerian soaked in 1 C. cold water; cover and place in fridge for 12 to 24 hours; strain and drink 1 hour before bed.
TINCTURE = 1:3 ratio of root to alcohol/water; take 2 tsp per cup of water.

Root used in the herbal bath to soothe and relieve tension.

Used to fragrance soap.

Tea from the root believed to enhance psychic ability. Attracts earthworms. Good to use in the compost (flowers are part of the Bio-dynamic preps).

a.k.a Jupiter's Beard, Keys of Heaven
(Centranthus ruber)
image 1 image 2

PROPAGATION: By seed and by division. Short lived perennial in the north.
NEEDS: Full sun to partial shade and good soil. Will tolerate some dryness.

Roots have been used as a sedative like Valerian. Flowers are diuretic and tonic.

©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH