Turkey Valerian (Valeriana phu L.) is a herbaceous species belonging to the Caprifoliaceae family.
From a systematic point of view it belongs to:
V. fù species.
The terms are synonymous:
– Valeriana hortensis Lam.;
– Valeriana laeta Salisb.;
– Valeriana laevicaulis Stokes;
– Valeriana uliginosa Wender., 1846
The term Valerian comes from the medieval Latin valerian, attested from the 10th century, at the origin of the vulgar name in many European languages including Italian, of a disputed etymology; the most accredited hypothesis traces it back to the diocletian province Pannonia Valeria, in western Hungary, where the plant would have been abundant; others connect it to the verb to be in good health, due to its officinal virtues (more likely a case of a posteriori paretymology); others to different characters named Valerius or Valerianus; others derive it from ted. baldrian (and not vice versa), which could be connected either with the god of light Baldur or with the hero Wieland, alluding to the magical properties of the plant as a demon-warder.
The specific epithet phu comes from φυ phu, a Greek interjection that manifests disgust, nausea: in reference to the intense smell of the plant.
Geographic Distribution and Habitat –
Valerian phu is a native plant of Europe and northern Asia.
Its habitat is that of humid soils such as the banks of rivers, woods, prairies, clearings of wetlands throughout Italy, in the Alps and the Apennines, up to 2400 m.
Valeriana phu is a herbaceous plant with erect and very branched stems, up to 100 cm, which bear light yellow spring foliage.
These opposite leaves then acquire a greener color by June.
The flowers are gathered to form a particular type of inflorescence called corymb; they are hermaphrodites, with reduced calyx and corolla with 5 petals, tubular and creamy white in color; the androecium is composed of 3 stamens, the gynoecium by a tri-carpellar pistil with an inferior and unilocular ovary. Flowering occurs in July-August and pollination is entomogamous (through Insects).
The fruit is a striated achene with feathery bristles deriving from the modification that the small teeth of the calyx undergo with maturation. Their presence helps their dispersion by means of the wind.
Valerian phu is a perennial herb prized for its pale yellow foliage and erect, branching stems.
It can be grown in rich and cool soils, with good humidity and also adapts to the sun if the humidity is satisfactory.
It is an ideal plant for semi-shaded flower beds and bright undergrowth.
When arranging flower beds, it should be planted with distances between the plants of 60 cm.
Propagation occurs by seed.
Customs and Traditions –
Valerian phu is a plant that, like others of its kind, has medicinal properties.
Its root is used medicinally. It has a beneficial diuretic effect and serves to combat stranguria.
Especially once it was used against breast diseases where it was cooked in wine combined with wheat bran and taken as a decoction.
This plant contains, like other species of the genus:
– essential oils (esters of valeric acid, valerenic acid, caryophyllene, terpinolene, valerenol, valerenal and terpenic compounds known as iridoids);
– some alkaloids (valerine, actinidine, cathinine and alpha-pyrrylketone);
– flavonoids (linarin, 6-methylapigenin and hesperidin).
Preparation Method –
Valerian phu uses the roots that can be collected and dried for later use and from which decoctions are prepared or essential oils can be extracted.
– Acta Plantarum – Flora of the Italian Regions.
– Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
– GBIF, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.
– Useful Tropical Plants Database.
– Conti F., Abbate G., Alessandrini A., Blasi C. (ed.), 2005. An annotated checklist of the Italian vascular flora, Palombi Editore.
– Pignatti S., 1982. Flora of Italy, Edagricole, Bologna.
– Treben M., 2000. Health from the Lord’s Pharmacy, Advice and experiences with medicinal herbs, Ennsthaler Editore.
Warning: Pharmaceutical applications and alimurgical uses are indicated for informational purposes only, they do not represent in any way a medical prescription; therefore no responsibility is taken for their use for curative, aesthetic or food purposes.