Harvesting valerian roots from your garden isn’t that difficult and it’s satisfying to be able to use home grown valerian roots to make herbal tea or extracts.
In this article I’ll tell you when valerian roots are ready to harvest, the best way to harvest them, and give you tips for storing and using valerian roots from your herb garden.
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Valerian (Valeriana officinalis) is a perennial herb that is native to Asia and Europe.
It can grow up to 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall and produces white or pink flowers that are great for attracting pollinating insects to your garden.
Valerian roots have been used for centuries to make herbal remedies, and they are still widely used today.
Valerian has a distinctive smell that some people find unpleasant but I actually like the aroma of a nice cup of valerian tea.
Valerian root can be used to make herbal remedies for insomnia, anxiety and other nervous system problems.
When to harvest valerian roots
Harvesting valerian root is best done in the fall when the plants have finished growing for the season.
How to harvest valerian roots
Cut the stems off near the base of the plants using a pair of garden shears.
This makes it easier to access the roots.
Gently dig up the roots of each plant you’ve chosen to harvest using a spade or garden fork to lift the roots from the soil.
If the roots break off you can use your hands to gently remove the remaining roots.
Shake off the soil and then rinse the roots with your garden hose.
After the roots have been rinsed you can bring them into your kitchen and pat them dry using a paper towel.
How to dry valerian roots
There are a few different ways to dry valerian roots:
One of the fastest ways to dry valerian roots is to use a dehydrator.
Spread the roots out on the trays and it should only take about three hours for the roots to be fully dried.
2. Oven drying
If you don’t have a dehydrator you can lay the roots on a sheet in a single layer and dry them in your oven.
Use the lowest temperature setting and check the roots every hour until they’re dry.
Group the roots into small bunches and hang the bunches by their stems using string.
Leave them for a week or two until they’re fully dried.
4. Air drying
Lay the roots on a plate or tray and leave it somewhere that is dry and has plenty of air flow.
It will take about two weeks for the roots to dry out.
How to use valerian roots
Once the roots are completely dried, remove the dried roots from the stems.
Dried valerian root can be stored in an airtight container for up to two years.
The best way to use dried valerian root is to make herbal tea.
To do this, use one teaspoon of dried root per cup of water and steep for 5 to 10 minutes in boiling water before straining the roots and drinking.
You can also use powdered valerian root to make your own herbal capsules.
So there are my tips for harvesting and using valerian roots from your garden.
If you have any questions about harvesting valerian roots or tips of your own to share, please leave a comment below.