Cultivation and properties of valerian

No presentation required. Valeriana officinalis is, after chamomile, one of those infusions that are never lacking at home.

We all have times or moments of excessive stress in which we sleep but do not rest and have taken valerian.

The question we ask ourselves is: Do we know what valerian looks like beyond the “tea bag”?

Let’s see it and incidentally we encourage you to cultivate it.


Before entering flour, it is convenient to know that unlike many other medicinal and aromatic plants whose properties are found in leaves or flowers, in valerian, what interests us for its calming and anti-stress properties are the rhizomes.


I’m going to be sincere with you. Until not many years ago, I thought that what was interesting as an infusion of valerian were leaves, as in tea.

That is the great disadvantage of knowing the valerian in its commercial bag and not in its natural state.

It is like some children who do not live in the countryside and believe that the milk already comes in the bricks directly.


This plant is a native of Europe and Asia mainly that has ended up being cultivated in almost any corner of the world.

It is perennial so after the harsh winter we will once again enjoy its presence in the garden.

In addition to the medicinal interest that its roots have, the plant and especially the flowers, are an ornamental complement in the garden that are undoubtedly worthwhile.

It is a slender plant that can easily reach heights close to one meter and can be grown together with other aromatics such as rosemary or lavender and lavender.


Valerian is a very complex chemical compendium. In the essential oil we find more than 150 compounds such as terpenoids, iridoids, amino acids and alkaloids. We leave you some of those that contribute to the calming effect although as we say there are many more:

  • Valeranone: one of the sesquiterpenoids that make up the essential oil although not the most abundant)
  • Valerenic acid
  • Valepotriatos: a group of compounds such as valtrato, acevaltrato and dihydrovaltrato among others, which are largely responsible for the effect of valerian. These three were isolated for the first time from the variety Valeriana wallichii.


Valerian is not a complicated crop, as long as the climatic and soil conditions are more or less suitable, within an order.

It is a plant that develops very well in very loose, airy, cool and humid soils . It is the almost forest type of soil, shady and moist.

You will already be able to intuit that if your climatic zone is warm, you will need to provide it with constant watering. It does not handle the drought well .

Its natural habitat corresponds to the type forests of central Europe and Eastern countries.

The flowers dress the garden a lot with aromatics but if you want to get the most out of the root, it is advisable to cut them to give more “strength” to the root growth.

As the consumption of valerian is sporadic, my advice is to leave them because I think you will have enough and you will also enjoy the flowers.


In autumn , it will be time to literally mow down the vegetative part of the plant and dig up part of the rhizome for drying.

It can be done naturally or forced.

In no case should the temperature exceed 30-35 ºC during drying. The cooler and more airy the better.

We have to warn you of its very strong smell, especially, once dry, which depending on the smell can be unpleasant.

I’ve heard people say it smells like old cheese and even feet.


We don’t want to alarm anyone.

Valerian is not bad, although we cannot consume it continuously  because it can create addiction and its excessive consumption and in high doses does not seem to be recommended.

It is also not advisable to eat 3 kilos of oranges a day, we can suffer from hypervitaminosis. Everything in high doses is bad.

Valerian should be consumed in very specific situations of periods of increased stress, worry, insomnia.

It is not recommended that you consider that every night you take a valerian to sleep better, if you do not have any specific insomnia problem. It must be a punctual consumption in specific situations of nervous alteration.


The easiest and simplest way to take advantage of this plant is through the infusion of valerian. It has multiple benefits and helps us to enjoy the moment of relaxation.

  • Depending on whether it is consumed fresh or dried, the amounts may vary, but we recommend around 20 gr of crushed root per liter of water.
  • Do not boil the water.
  • Let stand for 3-4 minutes.

By the way! If you have a cat you know that they go crazy with the smell of valerian. It has psychotropic effects on them!

They literally get high!

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