Valerian

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Valeriana officinalis

Best-known as a natural sleep aid, valerian can be used alongside other remedies, especially when pain is preventing you from getting the rest you need. While it is potent and has been compared to valium, it is non-habit-forming. Because it relaxes smooth muscles, valerian is also useful for menstrual cramps.
Parts Used: Roots
Precautions: Valerian is generally considered safe, but it can act as a stimulant in certain individuals. See how this herb affects you before relying on it for relief from insomnia.
Identifying/Growing: There are several different valerian cultivars, or varieties, all with similar medicinal effects. The plants feature fern-like leaves and small clusters of white to pink flowers. Capable of growing to heights of 5 feet, these attractive plants add beauty to your garden while providing an ample harvest of natural medicine. To grow valerian, sow the seeds into warm soil after all danger of frost has passed. Keep your young seedlings watered, and you’ll be rewarded with beautiful plants that emit a fragrance that might remind you of vanilla and cinnamon. Harvest the roots in autumn.

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