Botanical Name: Valeriana hardwickii
Species: V. wallichii
Habitat: Valeriana hardwickii is native to E. Asia – China to the Himalayas.It is usually found amongst herbaceous vegetation on humus-rich soils, 1900 – 3100 metres in Kashmir. Grassy slopes, forest margins, by streams; 900-3800 m. Chongqing (Nanchuan), Fujian (Chong’an), Guangxi (Damiao Shan), Guizhou, SW Hubei, W Hunan (Qianyang, Xinning, Xuefeng Shan), Jiangxi (Wugong Shan), Sichuan, S and SE Xizang, Yunnan [Bhutan, India, Indonesia, Laos, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan, Thailand, N Vietnam].
Valeriana hardwickii is a perennial herb, growing to 1.5 m (5ft). Caulescent, erect herb; stem ribbed and hollow. Leaves cauline, decussate, pinnate, chartaceous; petiole to 4 cm; leaflets 5-9, lower ones alternate, ovate, to 6 x 4 cm, base cuneate-truncate, margin serrate-dentate, apex acuminate; petiolule to 15 mm. Cymes diffuse, 16 x 11 cm; peduncle to 15 cm; bracts to 10 mm. Calyx-limbs more than 10. Corolla white, 5 mm wide; lobes 5, broadly ovate. Stamens 3. Ovary 1-celled; ovule 1. Achene 3.5 mm.
The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). and is pollinated by Insects.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and only just cover the seed because it requires light for germination. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant out into their permanent positions in the summer if sufficient growth has been made. If the plants are too small to plant out, grow them on in the greenhouse or frame for their first winter and plant them out early in the following summer. Division in spring. Larger divisions can be planted out direct into their permanent positions. We have found that it is best to pot up smaller divisions and grow them on in light shade in a greenhouse or cold frame until they are growing away well. Plant them out in the summer or the following spring.
The root is bitter, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, nervine and stimulant. It is used as a nerve tonic and in the treatment of conditions such as epilepsy and hysteria. It is also used in the treatment of rheumatism and low blood pressure. The pounded rot or leaves are used as a poultice to treat boils. The plant is antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, emmenagogue, diaphoretic and stimulant. This plant is an effective substitute for V. officinalis. The uses of that plant are as follows:- Valerian is a well-known and frequently used medicinal herb that has a long and proven history of efficacy. It is noted especially for its effect as a tranquilliser and nervine, particularly for those people suffering from nervous overstrain. Valerian has been shown to encourage sleep, improve sleep quality and reduce blood pressure. It is also used internally in the treatment of painful menstruation, cramps, hypertension, irritable bowel syndrome etc. It should not be prescribed for patients with liver problems. Externally, it is used to treat eczema, ulcers and minor injuries. The root is antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, hypnotic, powerfully nervine, sedative and stimulant. The active ingredients are called valepotriates, research has confirmed that these have a calming effect on agitated people, but are also a stimulant in cases of fatigue. The roots of 2 year old plants are harvested in the autumn once the leaves have died down and are used fresh or dried. The fresh root is about 3 times as effective as roots dried at 40° (the report does not specify if this is centigrade or fahrenheit), whilst temperatures above 82° destroy the active principle in the root. Use with caution, see the notes below on toxicity.
Known Hazards: Some caution is advised with the use of this plant. At least one member of the genus is considered to be poisonous raw and V. officinalis is a powerful nervine and sedative that can become habit-forming.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.