The Yellow Farmhouse Garden

June 26, 2007

A Calming Influence

Filed under: Uncategorized — bob @ 6:36 am

One crop that is new to our herb garden this year is Valerian. Many of you probably have seen Valerian in capsule form in the vitamin and health supplement department.

Valerian is widely used as a very effective natural sleep aid. I use it myself on occasion, especially if I have had too much coffee to drink late in the day.

We planted our crop last year into trays from seed and moved the seedlings into the garden last summer. They over-wintered and grew to what you see here:

Valerian in full flower

We decided to cut down these plants before they formed seed. We were concerned that with all of that seed producing potential, we could easily end up with a Valerian weed problem.

There was a lot of plant material as you can well imagine. Unfortunately, only the roots are used for their herbal value. So the 6′ tops went into the compost.

Those flowers by the way, have been out for weeks. They gave off an unusual fragrance, smelling sweet and bitter at the same time.

The jury seems to be out on the optimum time for harvesting the roots. Farmers in Europe have one theory, while farmers in other parts of the world have theirs. I think I’ll just harvest them when I get some time later this fall.

In the meanwhile, their tops should grow back and put more energy into root production rather than seed production.



  1. so how do you prepare the roots for use? do you make tea with them or something?

    Comment by vanessa — June 28, 2007 @ 11:10 pm

  2. Vanessa,
    As far as I can tell, the roots are dried and prepared like most other herbs. You can make a tea or grind them into a powder and consume them that way. They can also be eaten fresh. I did try a small part of a root, it had a kind peppery taste. They also have a distinctive odor which is unique to Valerian.

    Comment by Bob — June 30, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

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