One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A Eurasian plant which typically bears clusters of small pink or white flowers.
Family Valerianaceae: several species, in particular common valerian (Valeriana officinalis), a valued medicinal herb, and the Mediterranean red valerian (Centranthus ruber), grown for its spurred flowers which attract butterflies
- ‘The herbs chamomile, valerian, yarrow, nettle, comfrey and dandelion can help make a success of your compost heap.’
- ‘Unless it's the drug-like catnips and valerians, most cats ignore growing things.’
- ‘A huge number of red and white valerian seedlings have germinated and are waiting to be thinned out, which is a bit of a chore but worth it for their frothy pink and white flowers.’
- ‘Plant red valerian and centranthus, with their domes of nectar-rich flowers against walls or in cracks and crevices.’
- ‘Down by the pool, sown among the large white rocks that were dug out of the hillside to accommodate it, are white valerians, more grasses, lavenders and sages.’
- 1.1mass noun A drug obtained from the root of common valerian, used as a sedative and antispasmodic.
- ‘Unlike synthetic sedatives, valerian is not considered addictive.’
- ‘In animal and clinical studies, valerian has proven to act as a mild sedative and tranquilizer, thereby aiding sleep, even among chronic pain sufferers.’
- ‘An alternative remedy for insomnia is valerian, a herbal medicine that has some reported positive effects but has not been exhaustively clinically investigated.’
- ‘Take 75 mg of kava-kava or 150 to 300 mg of valerian, both in capsule form.’
- ‘Only one independent group has tested valerian.’
Late Middle English: from Old French valeriane, from medieval Latin valeriana (herba), apparently the feminine of Valerianus ‘of Valerius’ (a personal name).
(d.260), Roman emperor 253–60; Latin name Publius Licinius Valerianius. He renewed the persecution of the Christians initiated by Decius.
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