See also: Valerian and valerían


A valerian plant in bloom.
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From Old French valeriane or Medieval Latin valeriāna, a reinterpretation of what is found as German Baldrian after valēre (to be powerful) or also the gentilic name Valerius, which is seemingly borrowed in the Dark Age period from the late 6th to early 8th century from Turkic or Proto-Mongolic, when the Pannonian Avars were direct neighbours to the Germans, notably also present in Hungarian bojtorján (burdock), ultimately from Proto-Mongolic, reflected as
Middle Mongol ᠪᠠᠯᠴᠢᠷᠭᠠᠨ᠎ᠠ (balčirɣan'a, false hellebore; angelica), composed as ᠪᠠᠯᠴᠢᠷ (balčir, infant; young, tender, fresh, rank) + plant name suffix  ᠭᠠᠨᠠ ( ɣana),
Mongolian балчиргана (balčirgana, false hellebore; angelica), composed as балчир (balčir, infant; young, tender, fresh, rank) + plant name suffix -гана (-gana).

See Ottoman Turkish بالدران(baldıran, hemlock) for Turkic cognates.



valerian (countable and uncountable, plural valerians)

  1. A hardy perennial flowering plant, Valeriana officinalis, with heads of sweetly scented pink or white flowers.
    • 1936, Rollo Ahmed, The Black Art, London: Long, page 112:
      In the event of anyone wishing to invoke the very Prince of Spirits, the following ingredients were prescribed to be burnt - Juice of Hypericon, Saffron, Artemisia, and the root of Valerian.
  2. More generally, any plant of the genus Valeriana.
  3. (uncountable) The root of Valeriana officinalis, used in herbal medicine.
  4. An extract of the dried roots of the Valeriana officinalis used in herbal medicine as a sedative.