Making your own valerian preparation

I have read that valerian is great to help you sleep. How do you actually prepare it to use?

I know it is mainly the roots that are used, but the leaves can be used as well.

It is a weed here and there are hundres of plants, so I might as well put it to some use.

Can you just chop up the leaves and put them into/ontop of a supper dish?

I know the root gets dried, but how long will it take, does it need to be dried as a whole root? What do you use to grind it to a powder with etc


any other hints for preparing it appreciated.

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  • thanks. I have a dehydrator with a cool setting for herbs and seeds, so will plonk it in that.

    Is there another option to a tincture as we can't drink alcohol?

    You mention a percolate, how would you do that I have a lot of wierd and wonderful items that might be able to be put to a different use.

    • A percolate is also made with ethanol unfortunately.

      There are other options, but ethanol is the best commonly available solvent for extracting constituents from herbs.

      One option  is to make a decocotion by simmering the herb in water for a few minutes then steeping for a few hours or over night, the resulting liquor should be stored in the fridge and will need to be consumed within a couple of days.

      Otherwise you can simply make a paste with the powdered herb and water or, if you have a capsule filler, you can put it into capsules.

    • i guess a paste is probably going to be the only option - perhaps I can disguise it mixing it with horse-raddish or something


      thanks Off to pull up some roots.

  • Hi Moggy,

    The best way to prepare Valerian Root as home is through maceration. A 1:2 percolate is better but difficult to make at home without specialist equipment.

    Dry the cleaned and sliced root by spreading out on clean paper or mesh screens and leave in a moderate temparature with plenty of ventilation, turn roots daily. They should dry witht in a week or so and should be hard and brittle.


    Take the dried root and grind it up as fine as you can.

    Steep it in an ethanol solution of around 45% (nice strong vodka or white rum will do), the ratio should be 1 part root to 5 parts ethanol solution.

    Ensure all equipment (including hands!) are thoroughly cleaned and dried before use.

    Steep this for a couple of weeks in  a cool are away from the light, strain of the liquid and you will have a 1:5 tincture.

    The dosage for this is 5-15ml/day. Take at night bfore bed to aid sleep.

    Check with an appropriately qualified health professional before taking.

    Hope that helps!

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