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Video: Growing And Using Valerian
2023 Author: Sebastian Paterson | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-07-30 21:03
Valerian officinalis, or cat herb
There is probably not a single adult who has not taken valerian tincture or dry valerian tablets at least once. They help with nervous and cardiac excitations and diseases of the nervous and cardiovascular system.
True, not everyone who knows and uses this medicine clearly understands what it is made of. It helps - and okay. And these drugs, as well as valocordin and corvalol, are made from valerian. In Belarus, Valerian-Belmed brown effective tablets are produced.
Features of culture
And most people do not even imagine what a plant looks like, from the rhizomes and roots of which medicinal preparations are made. But in our country it grows in almost all places, except for deserts and regions of the Far North. Some experienced gardeners and summer residents even grow it in their beds.
This is Valeriana officinalis L., a herbaceous perennial, reaching a height of 60 to 150 cm and belonging to the Valerian subfamily of the Honeysuckle family. It is also popularly called cat grass. The official name comes from the words "valere" - to be healthy, and "officialis" - medicinal or pharmacy.
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Indeed, this plant contains many healing powers, which folk medicine has used since ancient times in the form of decoctions, infusions, tinctures to heal people. Preparations made from valerian are also actively used in traditional medicine.
It grows in flooded and marshy meadows, on damp forest edges, in bushes. Alas, due to the active uncontrolled procurement of medicinal raw materials from this plant, its reserves have significantly decreased. And now it is less and less common to find white or white-pink flowers of Valerian officinalis, collected in large caps of inflorescences, at the edge of the forest.
Therefore, those who want to constantly use the raw materials prepared from it for medicinal purposes according to folk recipes should think about growing this plant in their garden. It’s not that hard. The main thing is to get the seeds.
Growing valerian in the garden
She loves light soils - this should be taken into account by those who decide to grow valerian in their garden. And also the fact that its stems can rise to a height of up to two meters, shading the neighbors.
Valerian officinalis is propagated by seeds. In the garden for her, you need to choose a place with high humidity or, in the absence of such a corner, ensure regular moistening of the plantings. Soil - light loam, sandy loam, even better - black soil or soils close to it. In this case, the plant will be powerful, it will give several tall stems and large, bright inflorescences consisting of many white or pink fragrant flowers.
The leaves on the stem are opposite, in the lower part - petiolate, dissected, in the upper part - sessile. The plant forms a rhizome up to 4 cm long and up to 2 cm in diameter and many long roots - up to 20 cm. They are primarily used to obtain essential oils and other drugs. Experts believe that the greatest amount of essential oil and other useful substances valerian accumulates after the second year of life.
It is then that it is recommended to start harvesting roots and rhizomes. They are dug up in August or in autumn - in September. Freshly dug valerian rhizomes are cleaned of soil, washed, dried for 2-3 days in air with a layer of up to 15 cm, and then dried in a thin layer in the shade. After digging, they are light, almost odorless, and after they dry out, they become brown and acquire a characteristic valerian odor, which attracts cats so much, for which the plant received its second name.
The slower they are dried, the more persistent the valerian aroma of these roots. Thick rhizomes should be cut into thinner pieces for easier drying. Dry preferably in a place where cats cannot reach them. The roots and rhizomes contain essential oil, valerian acid, tannins and other useful substances.
In your garden, Valerian officinalis seeds can be sown before winter or in spring into prepared soil to a depth of 1-2 cm. Later, when valerian takes root on your site, self-seeding is possible - young plants may appear in unexpected places in the garden. If you want to grow several valerian plants, then you need to ensure the distance between them is at least 50 cm. It blooms depending on age from the end of May to August.
Valerian planting care is the same as for all other plants - weeding, loosening the soil, watering and feeding.
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Procurement of raw materials in nature
Since Valerian officinalis blooms from June to August, its fruits - an oblong-ovoid achene with a feathery tuft - ripen later: in July - September. Therefore, it is necessary to harvest raw materials in the wild (if necessary), in order to preserve this species, only after it has scattered its ripe seeds in the district, usually this is done in September.
Valerian can grow singly or in groups of three to six plants. When harvesting roots and rhizomes, you must leave some of the plants intact, you do not need to dig them all out, leave specimens for reproduction, so that this beautiful plant and a valuable healer always remains in nature.
Medicinal uses of valerian
Preparations from its rhizomes and roots are used as a sedative for disorders of the central nervous system, insomnia, tachycardia, as well as for asthma, migraines, disorders of the secretory activity of the gastrointestinal tract and for the treatment of neurodermatitis. The therapeutic effect of valerian is due to its tonic and choleretic effect, its root lowers the excitability of the central nervous system, promotes relaxation of smooth muscles. Valerian is a part of valocordin, Zelenin drops, its essential oil is included in Corvalol.
All these drugs are almost always available in the pharmacy, but if you have grown valerian officinalis on your site and dried its rhizome and roots, you can independently prepare its decoctions, infusions and tinctures.
To prepare it, pour one tablespoon of crushed roots into a thermos and pour a glass of boiling water. Insist for at least 12 hours. It is recommended to drink it for medicinal purposes three times a day, 1 tablespoon. With high excitability, the intake rate is increased to a third of the glass. The course of treatment is no more than two months.
In addition to an aqueous tincture of valerian, you can also prepare an alcoholic tincture of the roots of this plant. As observations have shown, the effect of its intake is noticeable faster - it acts on the body faster.
Alcohol tincture of valerian
To prepare it, you need a dark glass container. Crushed roots are placed in it and poured with 70% alcohol in a ratio of 1: 5. The container is tightly closed and left in a warm, preferably dark place for two weeks. In the future, the tincture must also be stored in a dark place. Take 20-25 drops 3-4 times a day. Both of these tinctures are used for heart pains, neuroses, insomnia, stomach and intestinal cramps.
A decoction of the roots and rhizomes of valerian
To prepare it, add 2 teaspoons of crushed root to a glass of water, bring it to a boil and boil for another minute. Then they insist for half an hour, filter and take for insomnia, palpitations, autonomic neurosis, 1 tablespoon three times a day.
There is a recipe that has long been known to people who have experienced stressful situations. It is recommended by both traditional healers and doctors for stress, nervous breakdowns. In addition to alcohol tincture of valerian, it also includes alcoholic tinctures of hawthorn, motherwort, and peony in equal proportions. Corvalol is also included in it, but in the amount of half a share, for example, 50: 50: 50: 50: 25 ml. This mixture is recommended to be taken 1 teaspoon before bed.
Warning: Valerian preparations, especially alcoholic ones, should be taken with caution by people who are busy with work that requires increased attention, for example, drivers. The fact is that repeated use of valerian tincture causes increased drowsiness.
It is not recommended to give valerian tincture to children under three years of age, valerian alcohol tincture is contraindicated for pregnant and lactating women. Overdose of the drug should be avoided. It can lead to constipation and nervous system disorders. Allergy sufferers need to take valerian preparations with caution in order to avoid allergic reactions.
In general, it will not be superfluous if you consult a doctor before using drugs according to folk recipes.
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