Valerian

Valerian

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Valeriana officinalis, Also known as Garden Heliotrope. Delicate-looking, low-growing plants give rise to 4-foot, charming clusters of tiny pale pink flowers June-September; very attractive in borders or herb gardens. Extracted fragrance of the flowers was used in perfumes in the Renaissance. Valerian was touted for its medicinal properties for centuries, and modern research has confirmed its value. The root has been the part most used, having been recommended as a pain reliever, sedative, and to allay migraine, but most importantly to relieve insomnia. (We make no recommendation and any use of herbs should be undertaken only under medical supervision.) Valerian is a hardy perennial growing to about 5 feet. The stems are succulent, hollow and grooved. The deeply divided leaves are larger at the base, becoming progressively smaller on the flower stalks. Seven to ten pairs of lance-shaped leaf segments characterize the fern-like leaves. The tiny, fragrant flowers are pink, white or lavender and are borne in flat, umbel-like clusters. Valerian flowers from late May through August. Widely used to allay pain, nervous unrest, migraine and insomnia. Roots should be simmered very lightly for 10 minutes. Pungent flowers. Best to let roots size up for a few years.