Valerian Root

A sacrament for muscle relaxation and massage

Valerian Root - A sacrament for muscle relaxation and massage

• Family: Valerianaceae (Valerian family).

• Botanical Name: Valeriana Officinalis.

• Synonyms: Valerian and vandal root.

• Geographical Location: Northern Hemisphere— America, England, and especially Europe.

• Habitat: Warm temperate regions near stands of water. The sides of riverbanks and irrigated fields; dry pastures; sun.

• Botanical description: A perennial about 2 to 4 feet high with a yellow-brown, tuberous rootstock that rises to a hollow, angular, furrowed stem with leaves growing in pairs that are pinnate and sharply toothed. The flowers are small and clustered together at the top of the stem and are rose-colored to reddish, sometimes white.

History

The dried rhizome and roots of this herb were historically used as a nerve sedative and antispasmodic and a remedy for hysteria and other nervous complaints. It was also used for menstrual periods, and to heal both internal sores and outside wounds. Boiled with licorice, raisins, and anise seed, it was used as an expectorant for phlegm in difficult coughs and lung congestion.

Its odor is very unpleasant, much like that of dirty feet. Cats, however, find it preferable to catnip, and

it can be stuffed into pillows for them.

Chemistry

The plant contains several alkaloids and glycosides as well as several resinous bodies and a brownish-yellow volatile oil. The oil is very similar to that found in valium. The total alkaloid content is only 0.1% and is composed primarily of chatinine and valerine. The volatile oil consists of formic, acetic, butyric, and valeric acid esters of borneaol, as well as pinene and camphene. Exposure to air causes decomposition of the oil.

The oils seem to excite the cerebrospinal system -making the head and spine perfect places for a massage!

Primary Effects

Muscle relaxant and mild tranquillizer. Feeling of "floating in air." Preparation

Since the oils are volatile and evaporate at fairly low temperatures, the root is generally placed in non-boiling water and allowed to steep for 20 minutes. Be sure to cover the pan so that the oils won't evaporate. Normal quantities are 1 tablespoon of valerian root per cup of water, which is approximately equivalent to a #10 Valium (10 mg).

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