Thursday, August 26, 2021

Magical and Medicinal Uses of Valerian

valerian, herbalism, herbal remedy, magic, witchcraft, herb magic, green witchcraft, hedgewitch, herb magic, herb magick, magick, magic, occult, wicca, wiccan, pagan, neopagan

Gender: Feminine
Planet: Venus
Element: Water
Powers: Dreaming, Healing, Love, Luck, Protection
Magical Uses and History: Valerian derives its name from the Latin valere meaning "be well" or "be strong." This is likely a reference to the medicinal uses of valerian, which are, historically, very numerous. It is often referred to as "all-heal" and has been used to treat shell-shock during World War I, headaches, anxiety, cramps, epilepsy, ward against the plague, and as an aphrodisiac. During the twelfth century, German herbalist St Hildegard of Bingen suggested valerian be used as a sleep aid, much as it is used today. In the sixteenth century, John Gerard wrote "no broth of medicine be worth anything if it did not contain Valerian, again hinting at the belief that valerian was essentially a cure-all. Due to its numerous medicinal properties and historical uses, valerian can be used in healing spells and rituals. Hang valerian root in a sick room or place under the bed of someone who is ill to aid in their recovery.

The belief that valerian could heal as well as prevent illness and its pungent scent, led to the belief that it could also protect against evil spirits. The Ancient Greeks hung bundles of valerian in their windows and around their homes to prevent evil and other unwanted guests from entering, while the Celts believed valerian would protect against lightning strikes, much like the sacred oak. As such, you can use valerian in modern protection rituals and spells and hang it in your home for protection against evil or negative energies and spirits. Sprinkling a fine dust of valerian across your front door will prevent uninvited guests from entering. The smell, which is off-putting to some, may be enough to keep those pesky inlaws away.

Apart from its uses in healing and protection magic, valerian is also believed to promote love and amorous feelings. During the Victorian period, women would wear sprigs of valerian in hopes that the men they passed would "follow like children." This idea of "following like children" is immortalized in the folktale regarding the Pied Piper of Hamelin. Rats adore the smell of valerian root and many believe the Piper rubbed himself with valerian or filled his pockets with it in order to coax the rats out of town. Cats, like rats, also love the smell of valerian root and treat it just as they would catnip. Due to the idea that it can attract animals and lovers, valerian is a potent herb for love and luck spells or just drawing something to you in general. It can also be used in cat magic, to quell a quarreling couple, and bring general harmony to the home.

Finally, the sedative properties of valerian make it perfect for sleep and dream magic. Include valerian in sleep pouches or drink as a tea to relax the nerves prior to sleep.

Valerian can be used in a number of spells including:
    Protection Spells
    Love Spells
    Dream Magic
    Healing Spells

Medicinal Uses: Valerian root is one of the most commonly used nervine, a fact recognized by its inclusion as a sedative in many pharmacopeias. It can be used to reduce tension and overexcitability as well as relieve anxiety and hysteria. It naturally heals sleep, making it effective in treating insomnia and can be combined with passionflower to increase its potency. It is also antispasmodic, making it useful in treating cramping, both intestinal and those brought on by periods, especially when combined with cramp bark Finally, valerian is a mild pain reliever and can be used to treat headaches and migraines. 

Preparation and Dosage: Valerian is taken internally as an infusion or tincture. To make an infusion, combine 1-2 teaspoons of dried root with one cup of boiling water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Consume as needed. As a tincture, take 2-4 milliliters up to three times a day. People respond differently to valerian with some feeling its effects at a low dose while others feeling nothing. It is suggested you begin with a low dose and work your way up slowly. Furthermore, for some people, valerian can act as a stimulant.

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  1. Terrific post. I so adore your herbology entries (and the fact that you provide an instantly pinable image for them).

    If one was going to designate an appropriate plant for 2021, I cannot help but feel as though valerian would be in the running as the top contender. Who amongst us can't use some extra soothing, relaxation, and extra/deeper/better sleep during these immensely challenging times?

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    1. It would be interesting to see the sale numbers for different herbs that help treat anxiety and help induce sleep. I'm sure everyone is clamoring to get resolve these issues which are made worse by a pandemic!


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