Valerian is a delicate white or pink flower that blooms in the summer and releases a sweet scent. But your cat will be more interested in another part of the flower - the root.
Cats find the scent of valerian root irresistible. Just a pinch of cut up root will expose your cat to the active oil, actinidine, which will turn your kitty into an ecstatic drool machine.
Valerian root is a stimulant, which means that it will send your cat dancing and rolling around your house. We bet you’d never seen your cat as happy as he is on valerian root!
photo courtesy of @max_maxthecat
Valerian root has a very long history, and and is perfectly safe for your cat to smell and rub on.
Always pamper your cat in moderation: only use a sprinkle, and don't let your cat ingest valerian in any other form (like pills and liquids intended for human consumption). Valerian has a similar effect on cats as the better known catnip! This makes valerian root an excellent alternative to catnip if your cat is one of the many that are unaffected by the stimulating effect of catnip.
Like catnip, the valerian root oil is more effective the fresher it is. Just take a whiff yourself - the root should have a strong smell that might make you think of wet earth (a small caveat: you will probably either love it or hate it!). So if you get your cat some root to enjoy, choose fresh over dried, and store it away from the sun in an airtight container.
Not Just For Cats
Valerian root is used in a number of human products, but for the opposite effect - it’s a sedative that’s most often used to treat sleep problems.
Can’t fall asleep? Brew some warm tea with ground up valerian root, add honey, and enjoy a relaxing cup and a good night’s sleep. You can even add it to your bathwater to release some tension!
The herb is suspected to have benefits for many issues, from anxiety and depression, to headaches, asthma, and even mild epilepsy. The herb’s name is actually from the Latin word meaning to be strong and healthy.
Of course, as with many natural remedies the jury is still out over how effective the herb is at treating any of these, but at the very least you can enjoy the pleasantly bitter earthy taste as you watch your cat’s joy. That sounds like an excellent way to end the day to us.
- by Yuliya