Monday, September 29, 2014

Herb of the Week: Lavender


Lavender is a wildly popular herb not only for it lovely scent, but for it therapeutic effects.  Lavender is derived from either the Latin lavare, meaning to wash or livendula meaning livid or bluish. In ancient Greece, Persia and, Rome, it was used as a perfume in baths and laundry and as antiseptic. In Medieval and Renaissance Europe, the washing women were known as "lavenders" and they used lavender to scent drawers and dried the laundry on lavender bushes (History of lavender, 2013).Ancient Egyptians created mummification casts by soaking linen in oil of lavender containing asphalt, then wrapping the bodies with these and drying them in the sun until the casts were hard (Basch, 2013).  It has been used in cosmetically and medicinally throughout most of know history.  The most common species of lavender is English lavender ( L. angustifolia). Lavender had many uses in historical medicine :

Acne, angioprotectant, anticonvulsant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial , antioxidant , antipyretic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant, asthma, bronchitis, burn treatment, carpal tunnel syndrome, cholagogue, cicatrizant, circulation problems (balneotherapy), cleanser (douche), colic, common cold, diabetes , diuretic, dizziness, emmenagogue, exercise recovery, fatigue , fever, gas, hangovers, heart disease prevention (decrease in heart rate), heartburn, HIV, hypotension, indigestion, infections , infertility, inflammation , insect repellent, lice, menopause, menstrual period problems , migraine, motion sickness, mood , nausea, neuroprotection, parasitic infection, psychosis, Roehmheld's syndrome, sedation, snake repellant, sores, sprains, tension headache, toothache, varicose veins, vomiting, warts (plantar), wound healing( Basch, 2013).
In Folk methods its therapeutic use of essential oil of English lavender for pain, infection, relaxation, and sedation dates back centuries (Basch, 2013). Lavender is rich in volatile oils and has been used as a fragrance and medicinal herb. Linen bags containing lavender flowers were commonly placed under pillows for their alleged soporific properties (Basch, 2013).

In current times, lavender is used as an anxiolytic and sleep aid. Its oil is still used in therapeutic methods for pain infection, relaxation and sedation. Lavender oil is also used as aromatherapeutic anxiolytic and hypnotic, including in the hospital setting (Basch). In modern times, lavender is cultivated around the world and the fragrant oils of its flowers are used in : aromatherapy, baked goods, candles, cosmetics, detergents, jellies, massage oils, perfumes, powders, shampoos, soaps, and teas (Basch, 2013).  In Phase I human trials  constituent perillyl alcohol (POH) found in lavender, for cancer have suggested safety and tolerability (up to 1,200mg/m2 four times daily) ( Basch, 2013) although, efficacy has not been demonstrated (Basch, 2013). The weight of the evidence suggests a small positive effect, although additional data from well-designed studies are required before the evidence can be considered strong in the support for cancer and in how lavender working in relaxation (Basch, 2013).

How to use lavender in modern healing. This week we will touch lightly on all the wonderful things that lavender can do.

It can be used in a wonderful tea, which we will make later the week.
In a tincture to help promote relaxation and sleep
Adding the dried herb to homemade pillows or sleep masks to help promote relaxing sleep.
It can be made into a mist with water or into lavender water. To make lavender water follow the steps we used to make rose water and substitute lavender for rose. This mist can be lavender water or water with some lavender essential oil added to it. Use spray on burns to offer relief. A strong lavender tea can be cooled and used as a scalp rinse to help prevent dandruff
For a nice soak, add a few drops of lavender essential oil or a cup of strong brewed lavender tea and a cup of epsom salts to a bath helps relax sore muscles.
Dried lavender flowers sewn into small satchels can be sued to keep clothes smelling fresh or in place of dryer sheets in the dryer
Lavender essential oil can be used topically to help with acne or skin irritations it is also wonderful for headaches, when rubbed at the temples.
Do not use lavender essential oil internally. Please consulate with your doctor in all case about your health.
Have a berry orange day,

Sú talún

Basch, E., Conquer, J., Costa, D., & Foppa, ,. (2013). Natural Standard - Database Home. Natural Standard - Database Home. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from
The History of Lavender. (2013). The History of Lavender. Retrieved November 12, 2013, from

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