any plant of the genus Valeriana, as the common valerian V. officinalis, having small, fragrant flowers of white, lavender, or pink and a root that is used medicinally.
a drug consisting of or made from the root, formerly used as a nerve sedative and antispasmodic.

1350–1400; Middle English valirian < Medieval Latin valeriāna (herb) of Valeria (old Roman province, where plant is said to have been common); see -an Unabridged


(Publius Licinius Valerianus) died a.d. c260, Roman emperor 253–60. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
valerian (vəˈlɛərɪən)
1.  Also called: allheal any of various Eurasian valerianaceous plants of the genus Valeriana, esp V. officinalis, having small white or pinkish flowers and a medicinal root
2.  a sedative drug made from the dried roots of V. officinalis
[C14: via Old French from Medieval Latin valeriana (herba) (herb) of Valerius, unexplained Latin personal name]

Valerian (vəˈlɛərɪən)
Latin name Publius Licinius Valerianus. died 260 ad, Roman emperor (253--260): renewed persecution of the Christians; defeated by the Persians

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

late 14c., from O.Fr. valeriane, apparently from fem. sing. of L. adj. Valerianus, from the personal name Valerius (see Valerie); but Weekley writes, "some of the Ger. and Scand. forms of the name point rather to connection with the saga-hero Wieland."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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