A couple of years ago at an herb gathering on Vancouver Island I was sitting around with a few

 practicing herbalist talking about our favoured hypnotics. Herbs for sleep. Everyone but me

avoided valerian.


“It’s too tricky.” They nodded their heads in agreed. “You never know what it is going to do.”


The Energetics of Valerian

A few years earlier at an herb gathering in Arizona, when I first began to explore energetics, I learned

the energetics of the Valerian. Valerian is warming. It also has a rising energy. It is particularly

warming to the head. Therefore, people who think a lot, like those who lay in bed at night thinking,

will not do well on this plant. Those who just lay there, not thinking, will find relief with Valerian.

Since then I have found focusing on Valerian’s energetics a more reliable way of using this trickster herb than its indications.


However, even after learning this mostly reliable method, Valerian still had a trick to show me. A rather unpredictable trick!


Once working a woman who was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis and suffered with severe bladder spasms in the night, particularly when first climbing into bed. I offered her 10 drops of valerian to take just before bed. The valerian worked like a charm. With a small dose of valerian, the spasm disappeared. Over a couple of months, valerian cured the spasms all together.


Valerian and The Medium

When my Mom developed bladder spasms, I gave her some valerian with the same instructions. She was so pleased with Valerian. Not only did the spasm go away, but she was sleeping through the night as well.


 So well in fact, she called all her friends. They began calling me for valerian. (Try to explain to your Mother that herbal medicine is not over the counter medicine).


But, what happened over a couple of months amazed me! My mom started receiving visits from dead people. Living in a seniors’ apartment building where many people have died over the last 45 years, her apartment became quite crowded! When we discovered valerian had opened up my Mom’s considerable unwelcomed mediumships abilities, she dumped her tincture down the drain and stopped singing Valerian’s praises to her friends.


Valerian and Culpepper

Back to the drawing board, I went in trying to understand this plant. I was determined to understand it! Knowing the energetics of Valerian definitely was not enough.


Then one dreary March afternoon I was grazing through Culpepper and the planets aligned.  I finally, intuitively, understood this trickster of a plant.


Culpepper writes This under the influence of Mercury. Dioscorides saith, That the Garden Valerian hath a warming faculty. – Culpeper’s Complete Herbal 1653


Suddenly Valerian suddenly made sense to me. Of course, it’s mercurial.


Valerian Mercury

Here are a few synonyms for the word mercurial: fickle, volatile, temperamental, unpredictable,

quicksilver, inconsistent, flighty, whimsical, ever-changing. Sounds like Valerian’s character to me!


Mercury, besides being the planet next to the Sun in our solar system, is an ancient Roman god.

He is the god of poetry and eloquence, communication, messages, boundaries, luck, thieves, and

commerce. He is the guide of souls to the underworld.


Astrologers think of mercury as bringing energy – lots of it! This can be good, as mercury energizes.

Or mercury can be bad, as it creates restlessness. Mercury is quick thinking, quick with words and quickly moves us from one task to another.  Mercury’s energy drives in casual everyday communication. Mercury is more like snap chats and tweets! Mercury is not the deep thinking of the solar system.


How does this ancient Roman god, and planet Mercury relate to Valerian? Well, think of the herbalist complaint. “You never know what it is going to do!” Remember how the herbalist avoid valerian as it can either cause restlessness or sleepiness.


Consider my Mom’s experience. Valerian opened up her boundaries and showed her all the souls needing guidance. (Ghosts have a hard time finding their words – usually). It also helped her sleep. My Mom often forgets her words.


Valerian and The Nervous System

Valerian acts on the nervous system. It doesn’t, like most other plants, have an

affinity for any other system. It is a pretty one much dimensional plant (although

it helps us cross dimensions). Sort of like mercury, remember mercury is not a deep



Also, Mercury, as a planet, rules the nervous system. Our nervous system, although

quite complex when we get outside of the mechanics of it, is quite simple. It is

designed to help us get what we need, food, sex and sleep. The basics of life one

could say. Again, the nervous system is not particularly interested in the big questions,

like meaning and purpose.


A Final Distillation

That March afternoon I suddenly distilled a sure fire way of using valerian as a hypnotic. It is for people who are so tired they forget their words!


I hope I have not just confused you further on how to use Valerian as a hypnotic. Mercury is after all retrograde at the moment!

Valerian, Mercury, and Sleep

Contact: 613-286-5691                                         abrah.arneson@gmail.com