Valerian refers to an herbal remedy derived from the dried roots of the valerian plant, Valeriana officinalis.
It has been used for over a thousand years as a mild sedative and hypnotic, a preparation that brings on sleep. Valerian is native to Europe and parts of Asia; it has since been introduced in the United States, placed under cultivation and now growing in the wild, as well. It is usually cultivated for its pinkish white or lavender flowers as well as for its medicinal uses. The name "valerian" is thought to derive from the Latin verb valere, which means "to be well." It is also sometimes said to derive from Valeria, the province of the Roman Empire where the plant may have originated.