A large, bold
plant that announces itself not only through its size but its
scent, valerian's root contains Jupiter's planetary metal (tin).
As such, this magick herb is good for protection and consecration. It is also associated with Samhain (probably
because of the smell of the roots) and Yule (the Jupiter aspect), Dioscorides considered this herb to be a good
protection amulet against witchcraft when hung in the house. The
Pied Piper of Hamlin Town carried this root in his pockets to
entice the rats out of town. Cats also love this root when dried.
This European perennial herb has been
used since Ancient Greece
to calm restlessness, improve sleep without
causing a hangover, and as an ingredient in scents. In small doses it is a stimulant.
The strong-smelling root contains a number
of chemicals with proven hypotensive and sedative effects and
is also often used in perfumes. This herb has become naturalized in North America. It grows
up to 6 ft/2 m high once it forms rhizomes and will grow almost anywhere but especially favors rich,
well drained soil. To promote bigger roots (the part
that is usually harvested), pick off flower heads. Harvest in
autumn and dry thoroughly before using. This plant is also known as allheal,
garden heliotrope, English valerian, great wild valerian, German
valerian, and vandalroot. Top.
How to grow it. Just barely
cover the seeds (light helps in germination but NOT direct sunlight).
They should germinate in 1-4 weeks at
room temperature (65F/18C). Germination rate is usually low with
this plant, around 30%. Some people do a one-week soak in cold water
that is changed for fresh daily; others do a cold stratification
to increase germination. Sow in the
spring or on Winter Solstice (see special
directions on the Solstice Sowing
page). Set transplants in sun or part shade 18-36"/45-90cm apart.
This plant grows 4-6ft/1.2-1.8m tall and can be grown throughout most
of the continental US. General growing
Go to the essential oil
Witchcraft & Magic:
Samhain & Yule
© 2004, 2013 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission