Valerian Root and Essential Oil

Valerian is good to know about during the holiday season. Or whenever you feel stressed or have trouble sleeping. It's been used since the days of ancient Greece to help with nervous exhaustion, anxiety, depression, migraine and insomnia.

It’s like nature’s Valium—although the word ‘Valium’ isn’t derived from valerian. ‘Valium’ is a completely made up word.

Valerian is an easy plant to grow. Just give it about six hours of sun each day and nitrogen-rich soil. Bees and butterflies love the flowers—that smell a bit like vanilla. The leaves smell musty.

The root smells like decaying dog feet. It’s been known to attract rats. Supposedly, the Pied Piper used valerian to get the rats out of Hamlin.

Unfortunately, the root is the part with the most relaxing properties. Many people drink it as a tea. Yuck.

On the other hand, once the root has been distilled into an essential oil, smells woody, green, spicy and musky. It blends well with patchouli, orange, lemongrass, lavender, cardamom and cedarwood.

Below are some of the valerian blends I've come up with. 

My favorite:

1 part valerian
1 part cedarwood
2 parts lavender
1 part cardamom 

Also fab:

1 part valerian
1 part vetiver
1 part ylang ylang

1 part valerian
2 parts grapefruit
1 part may chang
1 part pettigrain

1 part valerian
2 parts holy basil
1 part anise
1 part black pepper

1 part valerian
1 part ho wood
2 parts patchouli
1 part lemongrass

And here's some finished valerian soap.

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