Is there a use for valerian leaves

tammyrichardsmt9
tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 109 ✭✭✭
edited October 2020 in Herbal Medicine-Making

My valerian is beautiful this season (really wasn't sure it would grow). I know the roots are used, but is there a use for the leaves? Or do they just get composted?

Comments

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @tammyrichardsmt9 The root is the medicinal part. There are some suggestions that the leaf and flower could be used but I can find no references to the actual medicinal properties that might be in the leaves. I personally have never heard of using the leaf or flower. Is yours flowering? They don't always flower in the first year. You are also supposed to cut off the flowers as they appear so as to put more energy into the root instead of making seeds. Its hard cutting the flowers as they are so beautiful. I know many people don't like the scent of the flowers but I do.

  • Lisa K
    Lisa K Posts: 1,919 ✭✭✭✭✭

    According to monographs from Herb Mentor and Natural Herbal Living Magazine traditionally it has been just the roots but both also say that the leaves and flowers can be used

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,463 admin
    edited July 2020

    I've used the leaves both in tea and smoking mixtures. ***** recommendation revoked, see notes in post below*****

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @judsoncarroll4 What is your experience using the leaves? Similar to using the root?

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    I never thought about the leaves for smoking @judsoncarroll4 . How does it flavor the blend? I actually have some valerian essential oil, but I don't remember what part of the plant it is from. It is not unpleasant as the root smells (like dirty feet to me lol). I've not experimented with it but I hope to be getting back to my essential oils once the space is rearranged so I can find things. I'll try to remember to look at what part is used and post it.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,463 admin

    Yes, only more mild. They don't taste or smell great, but they are relaxing.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,463 admin

    The smell of the leaves is not as strong. They blend well with hops bud. The smell is how I find valerian in the woods... sniff it out!

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,463 admin
    edited July 2020

    I'm surprised - I just checked my books and favorite herbal websites and I'm not seeing the leaves listed as a part used, anywhere. I found a couple of references to the flowers and seeds, but it is all about the root. I did find that the leaves were once commonly used as a salad herb. I was taught that the entire plant was useful. But, maybe the folks in the very isolated area of Appalachia who taught me herbs, from oral traditions and folk medicine (basically a mix of Scotts-Irish, Cherokee and German, usually), blended the uses over time. I never had any ill affects from the leaves (except the occasional intense dream, which is par for the course with valerian). I'd just pick the leaves when there weren't many plants or they were not large enough to harvest, coming back for roots when they were more abundant. So, I guess I should withdraw my recommendation, since I can't source it! I suppose, if one wishes to experiment with the leaves, one should go slowly and use caution.... but, as always, I offer no medical or safety advice whatsoever... use you own judgement and common sense.... "Insight guided by experience," as Nero Wolfe said.

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    Sometimes there are uses that are not commonly listed for a variety of plants. I love learning from Indigenous elders as they have all sorts of little gems of information that might be specific to their nation, clan or even family. The folk-roots in Appalachia might have that kind of traditional knowledge that has never been widely acknowledged or studied for its scientific properties. They just know it works.

    I just looked again and some of the First Nations in BC may have used the leaves in combination with the root. Stems and leaves were macerated for use on cuts, wounds and other abrasions. Interestingly, a wash of valerian (doesn't say which part) was used to disguise the scent of human hunters in the bush. Something for you to try on your next hunt @judsoncarroll4 and let us know how it works. :)

    @seeker.nancy - Central Texas I think the EO is made from the root. I'm not sure that I have ever seen it for sale in any local stores, but I don't use many EOs so I don't pay that close attention. It says 2-4 drops in a carrier oil applied topically to the forehead for headaches and nervous tension or can be used in a diffuser for insomnia, restlessness or anxiety.

  • judsoncarroll4
    judsoncarroll4 Posts: 5,463 admin
    edited July 2020

    Well, I would.... but from what I have read, the scent of valerian attracts rats and cats. We don't have many rats in the mountains, but we do have huge bobcats and mountain lions!

    @seeker.nancy - Central Texas hereis some info on EO from valerian http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/v/valeriana-officinalis=valerian.php

  • Torey
    Torey Posts: 5,641 admin

    @judsoncarroll4 Apparently, the Pied Piper of Hamelin carried valerian in his pockets and that was what he used to attract all the rats and lead them from town. Didn't know about the cats, though. Cats seem to leave it alone in the garden but perhaps it is more attractive after picking. Kind of like catnip.

  • tammyrichardsmt9
    tammyrichardsmt9 Posts: 109 ✭✭✭

    Thank you all! I guess I will use some of the leaves (maybe dry them), but wait for the roots!

  • seeker.nancy - Central Texas
    seeker.nancy - Central Texas Posts: 795 ✭✭✭✭

    Thank you @torey and @judsoncarroll4 for the info on the essential oil! It was a rare offering from my essential oil provider for my business. I think every order I placed I also ordered something unique that I wasn't familiar with lol. I love trying new stuff 🤩