Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) aka all-heal is native to Europe and Asia.
The flowers have a sweet scent, sickly sweet according to some sources, where as the root and the crushed up plant are both said to smell like sweaty socks. Hover flies are attracted to Valerian. The larvae of many butterfly and moth species enjoy munching on Valerian. The name ‘Valerian’ comes from the Latin valere (strong, healthy).
The crushed up plant (and the root) smell of sweaty socks… Ewwww!
Valerian is both a garden plant and a wildflower. In the wild, valerian thrives in damp grasslands. Valerian can grow quite tall – up to 1.5 metres but usually average around one metre in height.
The flowers are in branched clusters of small white, lilac or bright pink/magenta blossoms.
Valerian has a long history of being used as a medicinal plant and is mentioned by Hippocrates, Galen and Culpeper. Though one of the most common uses is the treatment of insomnia, the effect has been disputed. I certainly didn’t find the preparation I tried to make any difference but it is hard to know how much of the active compounds (valerenic acid, valepotriates, and their derivatives) is actually in the preparation you buy from a health food shop. How much of the active compounds you can derive from each plant depends on growing conditions as well as harvesting methods.
Traditionally, it is the root that is used medicinally. However, according to one source I came across in my research, the active compound needs to be extracted from the plant since there is no active ingredients in the dried root.
Valerian is known to have a sedative and anxiolytic with effects similar to alcohol. Other known areas of treatment are IBS, stress anxiety and depression. Research is also being done for the use of Valerian to treat Parkinson’s and PMT.
A WORD OF CAUTION:
As with many plants, if you go over a certain limit, Valerian displays its more toxic side. In the case of Valerian, liver damage can occur with long-term use. This is really important to point out since you can buy extract of Valerian root in much health food shops and while it may say in the fine print to not use the remedy for longer term, many people simply either don’t read the fine print or choose to ignore it if the remedy seems to be working.
Do not use at all while pregnant or breastfeeding. Consult your GP before starting a course of treatment with Valerian. I am not a doctor or medical professional. The information in this article is for information only and not to be taken as medical advice.
Tarot, Angel & Chakra Correspondences
If Culpeper is right and Valerian corresponds with Mercury, the corresponding Archangel would be Archangel Raphael. Personally, I feel Archangel Asariel, ruler of Neptune, might be a better choice for herbs that supposedly help induces sleep. However, Jupiter’s Sachiel is also a strong contender (see below).
The chakra correspondence based on the colour bright pink (magenta) would be higher heart/thymus chakra. This would also fit with Neptune being the higher octave of Venus/Anael, ruler of the heart chakra.
In Witchipedia, the corresponding Tarot card is The Star (Aquarius). Again, if we go with Asariel/Neptune, the corresponding Tarot card would be The Hanged Man (Asariel/Element of Water).
Valerian is known as a herb that has the power to turn one’s luck and health from bad to good. According to Witchipedia, Valerian is ideal for spells that fall under the auspice of Jupiter, as well as any Water Element spells. Improvement of luck certainly fits with Jupiter.
As you can see, this herb with the nick-name ‘all heal’ has varied magickal uses. I suggest using your own intuition for the best way to use the herb in spells. It would certainly work very well for any spells cast on behalf of your cat familiar since Valerian has an effect on cats that is similar to cat nip!
Unicorn Blissings ✨🦄✨
Lisa (aka Kallista)