How to Use the Valerian Plant


While native to Europe and Asia, the perennial valerian plant also grows well in most areas of the United State. Used since the second century, valerian became popular in the 1600s as a remedy for anxiety, insomnia and restlessness. Today valerian can be grown in the home garden for either the beauty of the plant or as an alternative medicinal remedy for the same problems. The USDA considers valerian as "generally recognized as safe." Use valerian as a tincture or tea.

Make a Tincture

Step 1

Cut the valerian root into 1-inch pieces or grate the root into slivers.

Step 2

Place the chopped root onto a square of cheesecloth and tie the corners to secure the root in a cheesecloth ball.

Step 3

Place the ball in a 1-quart jar.

Step 4

Fill the jar with vodka and place the lid on the jar. Use the least-expensive brand of vodka for making a valerian tincture.

Step 5

Place the jar in a dark corner of your pantry or in a cabinet. Allow the jar to sit for at least 60 days.

Step 6

Strain the tincture though a layer of cheesecloth and store the liquid in small bottles away from sunlight.

Make a Tea

Step 1

Slice or grate approximately 1 tbsp. of dried valerian root.

Step 2

Place the valerian root into a tea ball and place the ball into a tea or coffee cup.

Step 3

Pour boiling water over the tea ball and allow the tea to seep for 5 to 10 minutes.

Step 4

Remove the tea ball from the cup and drink the valerian tea.

Tips and Warnings

  • Before taking any medicinal herb, check with your primary health provider. Many herbs interact with prescription medications and may not be safe for you to take.

Things You'll Need

  • Fresh or dried valerian root
  • Sharp knife or grater
  • Cheesecloth
  • Quart jar with lid
  • Vodka
  • Small storage jars
  • Tea ball
  • Teacup


  • University of Maryland Medical Center: Valerian
  • Purdue University: Valerian
  • "Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine"; Andrew Chevallier; 2000
  • "The Medicinal Garden: How to Grow and Use Your Own Medicinal Herbs"; Anne McIntyre; 1997
Keywords: valerian plant, valerian herb, medicinal roots

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.