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Valerian

Valeriana officinalis
MEDICINAL: Valerian is a relaxer, and is very effective for insomnia. It is often used as a tranquilizer, but it leaves no sluggish effects on the user. It is used for nervous tension, pain relieving, strengthening the heart, lowering blood pressure, IBS, diverticulosis, menstrual cramps, and for muscle spasms. It should not be taken over a long period of time, as it can cause mental depression in some people after long-term steady use. It is not habit forming.

RELIGIOUS: Valerian is used to get fighting couples back together, in spells of love, and in purification baths.

GROWING: Valerian is a perennial plant that grows to 3 feet tall. It prefers full sun, and average to rich well-drained soil. Root cuttings are best for propogation, and once the plants are established, they self-sow and spread by root runners. Valerian has a similar effect on cats as catnip, so you may need to protect your patch with chicken wire. Harvest roots for medicinal use in the fall of their second year.

Vervain

Verbena officinalis
MEDICINAL: Vervain is used to treat the liver and diseases related to the liver, exhaustion, fatigue, fever, insomnia, asthma, post-natal depression, as well as painful or irregular menses. It will also help increase the flow of a mother's milk. The Chinese use it to treat malaria, dysentery, and congestion. It is also a pain reliever and to reduce inflammation. Do not use during pregnancy.

RELIGIOUS: Vervain is used for cleansing incenses and baths. Buried in a field, it will make your crops abundant. It is burned to attract wealth, and hung above a bed to prevent nightmares, and above a baby's crib (out of reach!) to offer protection for the little one, and will enable the child to grow up with a love of learning and a happy outlook. Hung in the home it offers protection from negative spells, and is used as a pledge of mutual faith when given to a friend.

GROWING:Vervain is a perennial herb that grows 1-2 feet tall. It prefers full sun, average to rich soils, and is grown throughout temperate North America. It is rather short-lived, but self-sows. Harvest leaves and flower tops as the plants bloom.

Violet

Viola odorata
MEDICINAL: Violet is effective in healing internal ulcers. It is used both internally and externally for pimples, abscesses, tumors, and swollen glands. It is useful in treating malignant growths as well. Native Americans soaked corn seed in an infusion of yellow violet to prevent insects from eating the seeds.

RELIGIOUS: Violet in a pillow will help ease headaches away. Carrying the flowers brings a change in luck, and mixed with lavendar makes a powerful love sachet.

GROWING: Violets are a perennial, prefer partial shade, average to rich well-drained soil, and grow to 8 inches tall.

Vitex

Vitex agnus-castus
MEDICINAL: Vitex is a normalizing herb for the reproductive system. It is most commonly used in treating infertility, PMS, menopausal problems, and hormonal imbalances. It is most effective when taken over a period of time, and in conjunction with other herbs used for the same purposes. It is also known as chaste tree fruit, or chaste berry.

RELIGIOUS: Vitex blossoms and branches were strewn in temples during festivals to honor Demeter. Hera is said to have been born under a Vitex tree. Vesta carried twigs of Vitex as symbols of purity.

GROWING: Vitex is a small shrub or tree native to Asia and Europe. It has been introduced in the United States, and has naturalized throughout the southeast, as far north as Maryland. It typically grows 9 to 16 feet tall, but may grow larger in the warm areas of the deep south.

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