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Lavender – Lavandula officinalis L


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Lavender Lavandula officinalis L. (Lamiaceae)

Common names: Lavender, English lavender, garden lavender, true lavender.


Syn: L. angustifolia Mill, L. vera DC

Related species:

L. multifida (French Lace Lavender); L. dentata (Grey French Lavender); L. intermedia (Fat Spike Lavender); L. stoechas (Spanish Lavender).

Botany:


Habitat: Native of the Mediterranean area, and today is widely cultivated in gardens and land-escapes. It is found on dry, well-drained alkaline soils in sunny locations.

Description: Bushy and fragrant perennial, growing 2 to 3 feet tall. It has gray-green to silver-gray opposite narrow leaves, and pale-lilac to purplish-blue flowers in clusters on spikes at top of stems

Cultivation: it is propagated from seeds or cuttings and needs a sunny position


Actions: Carminative, anti spasmodic, anti-depressant, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, circulatory stimulant

Parts Used:


Flowers (gathered before fully open), Essential oil

Constituents:


Volatile oils (1.5 – 3%) – over 40 constituents, including cineole, linalool, linalyl acetate, nerol, borneol, cis & trans β-ocimene, α-terpineol, camphor, limonene.

Tannins (5-10%)

Coumarins

Flavonoids (luteolin)

Phytosterols

Triterpenes

Pharmacology:


Essential oil: antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti-allergic; it reduces pain and nervous excitability. The oil, linalool, and linalyl acetate inhibit stimulation by caffeine. Inhalation of the oil has sedative effects, and reduces cholesterol content in aortic tissue in experimental models.

Flowers (as a whole) are antibacterial and antiseptic, calm the nervous system, reduce muscle tension, and relieve gas and cramps. Topically, have rubefacient and insecticidal effects.

Uses:


For restlessness, insomnia, irritability, headaches, to alleviate depression. For the treatment of functional circulatory disorders.

Its relaxing effects make it useful for some types of asthma, esp. with excessive nervousness. Sooth indigestion and colic, and relieves gas and bloating. A few drops of the essential oil in the bath helps relieve muscle and nervous tension and encourages a good night sleep, useful for rheumatism and as first aid remedy (an antiseptic for burns, wounds, sores, to relieve pain and inflammation of insect bites/stings). It can be used to treat scabies and head live. Ten drops of oil in a diffuser sooth, calm, and relax nervous system. Its fragrance is used in toilet water, perfume, colognes, soaps, potpourri, sachets for linens and lingerie


History & Folklore:


Ancient Arabian, Greek, and Romans used lavender as antiseptic, and in the 16th century, lavender flowers were quilted into hats to “comfort the brain”. The essential oil was prescribed to relieve headaches and cramps. It is believed that Queen Elizabeth was fond of lavender conserve due to its reputation as mild tranquilizer, and tension reliever. Lavender water was used to dispel intestinal gas, and as a gargle; and Victorian ladies would sniff the water to when felt fainting. The early Romans scented their bath water with lavender, and was first used as perfume by ancient Phoenicians and Egyptians.

Pharmacy:


Essential oil: Rub on temples to relieve headaches, on wounds, burns as antiseptic and speed up healing.

Infusion: 1 tsp/cup water; infuse 15 min. dose: 1/3 – ½ cup day

Tincture: 1:5 @40%; Dose: 2 – 4 ml 3 times/day.

    Tonic Bath: 30g/pint water; infused, strain, & add to bath.

Massage oil: for painful muscles, neuralgias, rheumatism

Combinations:

With Rosmarinus, Avena, and Cola for depression.

With Valeriana for migraines headaches.

With Filipendula and cimicifuga for rheumatism.


Cautions, contraindications and toxicity:


Cautions/warnings:

Internally, essential oil may be poisonous (no more than 2 undiluted drops should be taken internally).



Contraindications: high doses during pregnancy, and the essential oil should be avoided internally during pregnancy.

Toxicity: none reported











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