Valerian Root Tincture

We’re currently potting up some of our young valerian and tincturing some of the older plants.  We’ve got plenty to share with you!  Small pots are $3, medium pots are $5 and large pots are $8.

Valerian grows very tall with beautiful, showy flowers in the summer.

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Valerian is one of my favorite herbs to help bring on peaceful, deep slumber or to relieve anxiety.  I keep it by my bedside to use when I wake up in the middle of the night so I can go back to sleep more quickly.  I also have a blend of valerian mixed with hops and chamomile that is nice to take in preparation for sleep.

Some people say valerian flower can be used to make tincture  (I have made one, but have yet to try it out), but the root is used more traditionally.

We made some tincture today so I thought I would share the process.

In spring, before the plant flowers, dig up the roots of a plant that has been growing for at least a year.  Some people find the smell very unpleasant (like dirty socks), but others don’t seem to mind!

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Margaret helps to wash the root.

Wash the roots very well to remove the dirt.

Chop the roots into smaller pieces.  At this point, they could be placed into the dehydrator to dry for tea, or you can place them into a jar to make a tincture. (It might be worth wearing some gloves for this process in case cutting the roots makes you sleepy!)

Fill the jar 3/4 full with the fresh root (if you’re using dried root to make a tincture, you’d only need to fill it halfway full).

Pour 50% alcohol (I use vodka) to the top of the jar.  Shake regularly and let sit for at least 4 – 6 weeks.

At that point you can strain and bottle and take about a teaspoon before bed.

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I like to suggest to people to start with a smaller amount and work your way up. It is said that about 5-10% of the population actually has the opposite reaction to valerian and it makes them excited!  For sleep troubles, I generally recommend trying 5-10 drops an hour before bed, and repeating the same amount of drops right as you go to sleep.  You can always increase the amount taken if you find you need a little bit more.  The standard dose is closer to a 1 – 1.5 teaspoons.

This is by no means an exhaustive look at valerian. Check out this article for more information and let me know if you have further questions!

If you’re local, come on out and pick up your own pot of valerian to grow in your garden!

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