VALERIAN Valeriana officinalis
Pliny aptly named this herb 'Phu', a most descriptive term to summarize its scent. However, only the dried root smells 'phu', and even here, it must be said, tastes differ: cats, rats and even trout apparently find it irresistible and go crazy over it. The Pied Piper probably lured the rats and mice of Hamlin as much with a secret stash of Valerian as with his music. According to old anglers yarn, treating bait with Valerian will ensure a good catch.
Valerian is related to Spikenard, the legendary anointing oil. The ancients called it 'all-heal' and thought highly of its powers as a healing and magical herb. As s key ingredients of Theriak, the miracle panacea of the Middle Ages, it was used for a wide range of ills. The name 'Valerian' is derived by association with the Germanic smith-god Wieland (as in 'Wayland smithy'), who used this herb for all kinds of healing and magic. Folklore has it that if one puts a little Valerian under the tongue and kisses the girl of one's dreams, she will surely be smittenâ'¦Valerian was of course also capable of warding off witches and to undo their evil works.
In aromatherapy, Valerian is mostly valued for its relaxing action on the nervous system. It is the perfect oil to treat 'the jitters' and is highly effective for hysteria, panic, anxiety and even shock, as well as insomnia, tension, restlessness and nervous exhaustion. It releases tension that has become locked in the smooth muscles and can be used in all cases where nervous tension results in cramps and blockages. Thus, it may also be effective in aphrodisiac blends for people who suffer frigidity or impotence caused by fear and inhibition. Use with caution. Do not use in strong concentrations. Avoid use over long periods of time.
Valerian can be used for exorcism and counter magic. It is said to protect against lightening and the evil works of witches. Valerian is an herb of peace, if two people drink valerian infused wine from the same cup they will immediately stop arguing and fighting. Valerian can be used as an offering to the Goddess Bast, or to delight your feline familiar or ally. Valerian is sometimes used as an aphrodisiac, though its action is relaxing rather than stimulating.
An earthy-musty, dark, balsamic bitter-sweet scent. Blends well with Patchouli, Oakmoss, Pine, Petitgrain, Lavender, Bergamot and Ylang Ylang.