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Lavender: Lavandula Augustifola

Botany: 

Lavender grows to be between one to five feet tall and is beautifully adorned with light purple flowers. It is in bloom June through August and should be grown in a spot with access to full sun and in well-drained, moist soil. After the lavender has been pruned, the remains stay in a dense, ball-like hedge with wonderfully fragrant leaves for the remainder of the year. The flowers and essential oils are the parts of the plant that are used. The flowers are less potent than the oils but still have medicinal uses. The flowers are to be harvested toward the end of flowering when the petals have begun to fade.

Chemistry: 

The active agents are linalool, coumarin, volatile oil, and flavonoids. Its anti-inflammatory properties are due to some of the essential oils (specifically 1,8-cineol which is also found in Eucalyptus) and flavonoids. The linalool contributes to lavender’s antiseptic properties. The coumarin and volatile/essential oils give it the distinct fragrance and flavor. Many constituents act together to make up one of the most popular medicinal herbs, Lavendula Augustifola

Fun Fact:

Garden Lavender, has a variety of uses that range from a relaxant, to a aid, to treating depression and parasitic infection. It is a great antiseptic; in fact, its name is derived from the Latin word “Lavare” which means, “to wash.” In Ancient Greece and Rome, lavender was added to baths to be used as an antiseptic and a perfume.

History: 

Lavender has recorded uses throughout history. In Arab medicine, lavender is used as an expectorant. In European folk tradition it is regarded as a useful wound herb and a worm remedy. Lavender was used in making mummification casts in Ancient Egypt.  Tibetan Buddhist medicine it is still used to treat insanity and psychosis and is regarded as a healing agent in Tibet and India. Lavender is

 

Uses/Pharmacology: 

Garden Lavender has a variety of uses that range from a relaxant, to a sleep aid, to treating depression and parasitic infection. It is a great antiseptic; in fact, its name is derived from the Latin word “Lavare” which means, “to wash.” In Ancient Greece and Rome, lavender was added to baths to be used as an antiseptic and a perfume. The Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Review recommend adding lavender to bath water for relaxation.

Dosing/Recipes: 

Review suggests placing 6 drops of lavender oil and ¼ to ½ cup of dried lavender flowers in a hot water bath. The Complete Medicinal Herbal suggests a lavender hair rinse to aid in getting rid of lice. Dilute 5-10 drops of lavender oil in water as a rinse or use a few drops of the oil on a fine comb and brush thoroughly.  The Complete Medicinal Herbal also gives a recipe for a lavender tincture to treat headaches and depression: take up to 5 mL twice daily.

Contraindications/Interactions/Adverse Reactions: 

Although it has great medicinal uses, be cautious and avoid high doses of the herb when pregnant because it is a uterine stimulant.

References:

Ody, Penelope. Complete Medicinal Herbal. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 1993.

Monroe, Gary A. “English Lavender.” Plants National Database. 16 June 2003. 15 Apr. 2009 <http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symbol=LAAN81>.

Ulbricht, Catherine E. and Ethan M. Basch. Natural Standard Herb and Supplement Reference Evidence-Based Clinical Reviews. Philadelphia (PA): Mosby Inc., 2005.

Researched By: Sara Swick