Valeriana officinalis. N.O. Valerianaceae.
Synonym ► Capon’s Tail, Great Wild Valerian.
Habitat ► Found in many damp places such as low-lying meadows and woods, about the banks of rivers and lakes, and in marshy, swampy ground generally.
Features ► A handsome plant, growing from two to four feet and more high, whose stalks are round, thick, furrowed, and of a pale greenish colour. The leaves are pinnate with lance-shaped leaflets, growing opposite each other from the stem. The pink-white flowers (June to August) blossom in large tufts at the stalk head. A sweetish, disagreeable taste and unpleasant characteristic odour are given from the short, thick, greyish, many-fibred rootstock, which is the part used medicinally.
Action ► Nervine and antispasmodic.
Valerian promotes sleep and is much valued in hysteria, neuralgia and nervous debility, especially when combined with Scullcap, Mistletoe and Vervain. An infusion of 1 ounce to 1 pint of boiling water is taken in wineglass doses three or four times daily. Larger doses should not be taken.