Red Valerian

Origins and main characteristics of red valerian

The red valerian is a perennial herbaceous plant, belonging to the Valerianaceae family. The plant is native to the Mediterranean basin and is widespread in southern Europe, Africa and Asia. The red valerian has large tufts, formed by elongated and arched stems, which reach a maximum height of about ninety centimeters. The leaves have an oval shape and a color between green and gray. Flowering occurs during the spring period, generally in the middle of May. The flowers produced have a star shape, usually pink, although there are plants that produce red or white flowers. The red valerian it is used both as an ornamental plant and as a therapeutic plant, thanks to its rich medicinal properties.

Red valerian display and watering

The red valerian loves bright and sunny places, adapting discreetly even to semi-shade. The plant resists cold temperatures well, but it is not recommended to grow it in excessively cold environments, which do not constitute its natural habitat. The red valerian does not need constant watering. In fact, rainwater is sufficient for the plant. In addition, red valerian can develop properly even in extremely arid places, withstanding drought excellently. For a correct development of the plant we recommend watering every twenty days. If grown in pots, the red valerian needs weekly watering, while as regards the exposure, also in this case it is suggested to keep the plant in a sunny and bright place.

Soil, fertilization and care of the red valerian

Red valerian is usually grown in the garden, but it can also grow properly in pots. As for the substrate, a compound consisting of universal soil and peat is sufficient, which must be able to ensure proper drainage, since water stagnation could cause the death of the plant. To obtain a good level of flowering, it is advisable to fertilize the red valerian every thirty days, using a liquid type fertilizer. During the winter it is preferable to suspend the fertilization or, at least, to carry it out only if necessary. The cultivation of red valerian is simple: periodic pruning is not required and the treatments are limited to cutting the stems in the period before the arrival of winter, in order to strengthen the roots of the plant.

Red Valerian: The therapeutic properties of red valerian

In addition to looking good and withstanding cold, wind and drought well, red valerian has excellent therapeutic properties. The active ingredient of the plant is a particular essential oil, contained within its roots. Red valerian possesses important sedative properties of the nervous system and is also endowed with antispasmodic and antineuralgic powers. Having a strong sedative action, red valerian-based products, such as decoctions or infusions, should be taken with due caution and limited to two daily doses. It is preferable, before starting the intake of red valerian, to seek the advice of your GP, so as to avoid unpleasant side effects, however very rare, such as tachycardia and liver problems.

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