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Valeriana officinalis
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 info   Top

Valerian officinalis
100 seeds $3.75

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Uses in Witchcraft & Magic:

Protection Spells
Celebrating Samhain & Yule
Jupiter Herb

2004, 2018 Harold A. Roth; No reproduction without permission