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True Wild Valerian Root, Valeriana officinalis
The name "Valerian" is derived from the Latin valere, which means "to be strong" and refers to both the health benefits of the plant as well as its distinct odor. The plant was known as "All-Heal" during the Middle Ages in Britain. Historically, it has been taken for its soothing, beneficial effects. It was also used as a condiment during medieval times, and as a perfume during the 16th century. It is claimed that valium was named after this herb. Valerian root is still used in today's world, throughout Europe and the United States.
The strong smell of Valerian apparently attracts cats and rats. Legend states that the Pied Piper carried Valerian to induce the rats to follow him. People have used it in the past to attract the rodents away from their dwellings. It has also been reported that once a cat smells the plant, it will happily destroy the plant.
True wild Valerian root is found in high pastures and dry heathland. It flowers in late spring. The principle part used is the rhizome which is typically harvested in September.
Valerian is also known by the folk names: All-Heal, Amantilla, Bloody Butcher, Capon's Trailer, Cat's Valerian, English Valerian, Fragrant Valerian, Garden Heliotrope, Phu, Red Valerian, St. George's Herb, Sets Wale, Set Well, Vandal Root.
Valerian has the magickal powers of love, sleep, purification and protection. It is of the feminine gender, the element water, and is governed by the astrological planet Venus.
The main magickal uses of Valerian are based on sympathetic magick (the maxim that like produces like) with respect to the medicinal uses. It is used to help induce sleep as an ingredient in a sachet placed in the pillow. Placed in their vicinity, it can have a calming effect on quarreling couples. It is also used in protective sachets, especially when placed about the home to protect against lightning. It has uses in love magick, and when powered, can be a substitute for "graveyard dust."