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Thread: Valerian

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    Default Valerian

    Having trouble sleeping and was wondering if Valerian grows wild in AK. If so where might one find some of these much needed rhizomes? Thanks..

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    Don't know if it grows wild in AK. I get mine from Freddy's. Don't know if you've ever taken it, but it has a horrendously nasty smell, and I assume tastes about the same. I give it to my dog on occasion, but have to hide it in a substantial piece of cheese. I've seen her eat a turd, but she won't eat valerian. I can't even imagine trying to take some myself based on the smell. Nasty!!!!!
    Last edited by Frostbitten; 09-28-2011 at 16:00. Reason: my spelling sucks today!!

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    Ha! Yeah it smells pretty raunchy. I usually take it in pill form but kind of want to make a tincture with it. I used to work on a trail crew and couldn't sleep for a spell so one of my crew mates gave me smoke. That was... interesting. Slept like a baby though.

    Didn't know you could give dogs valerian. My dog got a big gash on his pad the other day and besides Betadine and Neosporin, there hasn't been much I know to do. Can't really keep a year and a half old puppy of his paws for long, so that would be awesome if I could give him something to knock him out while it heals..

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    Valerian root (valeriana officinalis) is native to Europe and Asia, it doesn't grow wild in North America, although it's been introduced in some areas. You can grow it but it's a fussy tincture to make well, so it's easier to buy it prepared.

    The smell comes from the volatile oils that contain most of the active ingredients. Although the dried capsules are stronger, the liquid tincture doesn't smell or taste nearly as bad. The tincture also works faster, if taken on an empty stomach.

    Consider trying Hyland's Calms Forte http://www.hylands.com/products/calmsforte.php instead of valerian. It's not quite as strong, but if it works for you, then it's cheaper and has fewer side effects. Should be on the same store shelf as the valerian.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCrazy View Post
    Having trouble sleeping and was wondering if Valerian grows wild in AK. ..
    I'd never once heard of Valerian until I watched the movie "Hanna" recently. Great movie.

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    Dude, that movie was awesome. Makes me want kids..

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCrazy View Post
    Dude, that movie was awesome. Makes me want kids..
    Oops.

    Yes, I agree with you Hanna is an awesome movie.

    But I correct myself. Valerian was mentioned in the movie "Get Low", not "Hanna". My mistake. Both good movies though Hanna was better.

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    Well I made a double extraction tincture with Chaga and for giggles I put Valerian in half of it. It's super strong! I took eight drops in my tea last night and was passed out in 15 minutes! I slept like a dead man until about 11 today. Any other ideas on herbs I can put in the rest of the Chaga tincture?

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    Member Alaska Grandma's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishCrazy View Post
    Well I made a double extraction tincture with Chaga and for giggles I put Valerian in half of it. It's super strong! I took eight drops in my tea last night and was passed out in 15 minutes! I slept like a dead man until about 11 today. Any other ideas on herbs I can put in the rest of the Chaga tincture?
    Valerian does indeed grow wild in AK, at least it does in my area in the Eastern Interior. There is a huge difference between the wild root and the domestic variety. Wild valerian's potency and strength vary greatly from plant to plant and area to area so it is very difficult to determine an accurate dosage! An overdose can make you really sick!

    Although I am no expert...
    In my opinion it really is not a plant to just play around with.
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    You guys do know Valerian is where we get Valium, it can be adicting and in high concentrations dangerous.

    However as a long time insomniac Valerian tea is an excellent sleep aid and can be part of a healthy herbal based medicinal lifestyle. Orther herbs that work well? Well herb works for most, amps me up but for 99% of the world it works great. The others have mixed effect and I found of little use.
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    I am a life long Alaskan and mother of four . I also am a instructor for NAOI . I teach the medicinal uses of the native plants.

    Valerian is a herb that is addictive and can be dangerous in large multiple doses. So Caution is advised. On the flip side of things it is a very useful plant that works wonders for headaches, pain, epilepsy, bronchial spasms and as a sleep aid. This plant does indeed grow here in Alaska and needs to be harvested with caution due to the other family's of plants growing with it. Also in a way that insures the life of the plant.
    I teach classes in the spring through fall but would be happy to help with questions any time.
    I do sell herbs as well in small quantities.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaska Grandma View Post
    Valerian does indeed grow wild in AK
    Quote Originally Posted by shelley View Post
    This plant does indeed grow here in Alaska
    Grandma Lori and shelley, I know that introduced Valerian now grows wild, since I've harvested it in several areas. (It was sloppy of me to mix the words "native" and "wild" in my earlier post.) Now I'm curious whether the wild Valerian we're finding is the European valeriana officinalis used in most commercial tinctures that escaped from earlier settlers' gardens, or whether it's a different native variety of Valerian other than the officinalis type. I suspect that it's a non-native transplant that escaped to run wild but have no way to check.
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick P View Post
    You guys do know Valerian is where we get Valium
    Sorry Rick P, but that just ain't true. Valerian and Valium are both sedatives that work by acting on GABA receptors, but Valerian is a simple plant extract, while Valium is a complex chemical reaction, not a plant-based drug. Valium is actually one of several marketing names for the drug Diazepam, a benzodiazepine created by Roche (Hoffmann-La Roche, the Swiss pharmaceutical giant) in 1963 to replace Librium. What IS true is that Valerian should NOT be mixed with any other sedatives!
    Inspiration is simply the momentary cessation of stupidity.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Seraphina View Post
    Grandma Lori and shelley, I know that introduced Valerian now grows wild, since I've harvested it in several areas. (It was sloppy of me to mix the words "native" and "wild" in my earlier post.) Now I'm curious whether the wild Valerian we're finding is the European valeriana officinalis used in most commercial tinctures that escaped from earlier settlers' gardens, or whether it's a different native variety of Valerian other than the officinalis type. I suspect that it's a non-native transplant that escaped to run wild but have no way to check.
    I have no idea whether the valerian up here was introduced or indeed truly wild. I live very remote in an area that has not/does not see much human traffic so I suspect my local herb is wild, but like you with no real way to check that out. Plants do and can migrate over years and years with wind/water/animals so it is possible.
    If God had intended us to follow recipes,
    He wouldn't have given us grandmothers. ~Linda Henley

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    There are three recognized species of the genus Valerian in Alaska, the most common is Valeriana sitchensis, which is spread throughout much of western north America. (California up to AK and the western NW territories, primarily moist subalpine areas)

    All 3 species are "native" in the generally understood sense of the word. There are no thriving human introduced populations of Valeriana officinalis, in Alaska, unless you can offer some hard evidence, and even then, it would just be a very isolated population.

    V. sitchensis has similar sedative properties to V. officinalis...but, to clarify, there is no evidence of it being human introduced. It has been widespread for thousands of years.

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    That stuff grows all over the place. I use it for my compost pile. I like the pink kind.

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