Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Flower of the day: Valeriana officinalis
Valerian (Valeriana officinalis, Caprifoliaceae) is a perennial flowering plant, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers that bloom in the summer months. Valerian flower extracts were used as a perfume in the sixteenth century.
Native to Europe and parts of Asia, valerian has been introduced into North America. It is consumed as food by the larvae of some Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) species including Grey Pug.
Other names used for this plant include garden valerian (to distinguish it from other Valeriana species), garden heliotrope (although not related to Heliotropium) and all-heal (which is also used for plants in the genus Stachys). Red valerian, often grown in gardens, is also sometimes referred to as "valerian", but is a different species (Centranthus ruber) from the same family and not very closely related.
Valerian, in pharmacology and herbal medicine, is the name of a herb or dietary supplement prepared from roots of the plant. Crude extract of the root is often sold in the form of capsules. Valerian root has sedative and anxiolytic effects. It can also be classified as a drug, since its consumption produces a sedative or medicinal effect, while it is not exclusively a type of food. These effects are suspected to be mediated through the GABA receptor. The amino acid valine is named after this plant.
Valerian has been used as a medicinal herb since at least the time of ancient Greece and Rome. Hippocrates described its properties, and Galen later prescribed it as a remedy for insomnia. In medieval Sweden, it was sometimes placed in the wedding clothes of the groom to ward off the "envy" of the elves. In the sixteenth century the Anabaptist reformer Pilgram Marpeck prescribed valerian tea for a sick woman.
The name of the herb is derived from the personal name Valeria and the Latin verb valere (to be strong, healthy).
Source and More : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valerian_%28herb%29