A Glossary of Essential Terms used in Herbalism & Natural Medicine
Valeriana officinalis from the Valerianaceae family is a hardy, sweetly scented plant with white or pink flowers. The part that is used for healing is the root of the plant, and it has a long tradition as a healing herb.
Valerian is called an all-heal and is most treasured for its relaxing properties. Amongst many things, it relieves the symptoms of stress, helps against migraines, calms the central nervous system, it is a pain reliever and a mild sedative. It is a common remedy for insomnia. In some cases it helps immediately, but with some ailments it helps after several weeks of usage.
Cats are attracted to the essential oil of valerian the same way as to catnip.
The yellowish-greenish-brownish oil from the root is the valerian elixir. The roots should be dried below a temperature of 40°C (105°F).
The tea, which tastes sweet, spicy and bitter at the same time, should not be prepared with boiling water, in order to not weaken the potency of the oil. Boil the water, then let it cool some. It should also be noted that the tea has an unplesant smell. The odor only develops during the drying process. Adding chamomile to valerian tea is also common.
Valerian is generally considered a safe herb. Chronic use is not recommended, neither are large doses. The result from such can be mild apathy or stomach ache. Allergic reactions are extremely rare.
Verbena officinalis of the Verbenaceae family, called Common Verbena or Common Vervain is of European origin and prefers limey soils. Other names include "the Vervain", Simpler's Joy and Holy Herb, this plant has an ancient tradition as a powerful healing herb throughout history. Medically, it is mostly used in form of herbal tea.
The relaxing effects of the herb are supposed to help writers who suffer from writer's block.
In the old days artists sometimes took it right before their performance. It was said that their performance would be more powerful.
Verbena officinalis should not be taken during pregnancy, as it can cause miscarriage!
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