Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Growing up to one metre tall, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an evergreen woody shrub with green, narrow leaves and small violet-blue fl owers. Having many varieties, this hugely popular plant is cultivated worldwide, but was originally native to the Mediterranean regions. The proportion of its various constituents will vary according to the soil and conditions in which the plants are grown, for example alpine lavender is always higher in esters than plants grown at lower altitudes. Also commonly used in aromatherapy are spike lavender and lavandin, the latter of which is a hybrid with similar uses to true lavender – only being more penetrating and rubefacient with a sharper scent. The oil, which has a middle keynote, is extracted by steam distillation from the fl owers and stems.
Anti-convulsive, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, insecticide, nervine, parasiticide, parturient, sedative, splenetic, sudorifi c, tonic and vulnerary.
Main therapeutic uses
Abrasions, abscesses, acne, allergies, alopecia, asthma, athlete’s foot, boils, bronchitis, bruises, burns, carbuncles, catarrh, colds, colic, conjunctivitis, convulsion, cystitis, debility, depression, dermatitis, diphtheria, dysmenorrhoea, dyspepsia, ear infections, eczema, epilepsy, exfoliation, fainting, fl atulence, fl u, frozen shoulder, gangrenous wounds, glandular problems, halitosis, high blood pressure, hysteria, infantile earache, insect bites, insomnia, irritability, laryngitis, leucorrhoea, lumbago, migraine, muscular aches and pains, nausea, nervous exhaustion, tension, nose infections, oliguria, palpitations, panic, paralysis, PMT, psoriasis, rheumatism, ringworm, scabies, scanty periods, sciatica, shock, skin (sensitive, ulcerated, dry or greasy), stings, stomach cramps, sunstroke, throat infections, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, vertigo, vomiting, whooping cough and wounds.
Lavender is probably one of the most versatile essential oils as it benefi ts every body system and helps to restore mental and physical balance. It is an excellent skin antiseptic and rejuvenator and is particularly useful in the treatment of burns.