Lavendula offiinalis (angustifolia)
Common name: Lavender, French lavender
Parts used: Flowers
Lavender is a classic herb for cheering the heart, easing emotional pain and promoting relaxation within the nervous system, digestion and the mind.
Lavender is an attractive and aromatic shrub with a long history of cultivation for both horticultural and medicinal means. It is native to Spain, Gibraltar, north-western Africa, Israel and parts of Arabia and is part of the mint family. Due to the extensive cultivation of the plant, it has naturalised across the Mediterranean, Australia, New Zealand and California. The plant can grow up to 1m in height and width and has strong woody branches that then produce long flower stems. The leaves are small, toothed and a grey-green colour. The flowers occur in clusters along the top of the plant stems and range from violet to blue in colour, are small and delicate and have a characteristic pleasant scent. This species is of particular value to pollinating bees.
How it Works
Lavender is high in levels of naturally occurring essential oils that have a profound effect upon the central nervous system. Lavender essential oil contains linalool which demonstrates sedative and anti-spasmodic effects upon the central nervous system and also the enteric (digestive) nervous system. It is this component that has made lavender such a renowned relaxant.
The essential oil is high in antioxidants that can provide protection against free radical damage within the nervous system but also the digestive system. The antioxidant properties of the plant have demonstrated protective actions within the brain, particularly in chronic degenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and dementia.
When applied externally, it displays anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that are effective against wounds, bruising and burns.
Into the Heart of Lavender
Lavender is a nootropic. Nootropics enhance emotional and mental well-being whilst also promoting cerebral circulation. Traditionally, they are used to protect the brain and improve cognitive functioning alongside mood.
Lavender is effective in clearing anxiety, depression and insomnia through gently strengthening and tonifying the nervous system. It will treat states of nervous debility and exhaustion. It is of particular benefit for those who experience symptoms such as insomnia, hypertension, indigestion and tension headaches as a result of stress or anxiety. Lavender is effective for children and the elderly at promoting a more restful sleep, encouraging sleep and preventing frequent waking.
The pungency of lavender essential oil makes it an excellent remedy for physical and emotional stagnation within the body. It will decongest a stagnant digestive system, relieving symptoms of nausea, bloating and indigestion. It will also revive states of nervous congestion such as stagnant depression and reoccurring anxiety and post-traumatic stress.
Nervous: Lavender is indicated in anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, insomnia and all forms of nervous or stress related exhaustion. Lavender will tonify and strengthen the nervous system whilst also relaxing it, allowing time for the restoration of the nerves.
Digestive: Indicated in symptoms of stress that manifest within the digestive tract such as nausea, bloating and indigestion. The pungent essential oils present in lavender will help to shift stuck congestion though stimulating the digestion but also calming the enteric nervous system.
Brain & Cognitive: Lavender is indicated in chronic degenerative conditions of the mind such as Alzheimer’s and dementia, but may also be helpful after head trauma or injury. Lavender stimulates the cerebral circulation and provides a high antioxidant value that protects against further degeneration.
- External Indications: Apply (as oil, strong infusion or tincture) to eczema, acne, varicose ulcers, nappy rash, minor infections, impetigo, Tinea infections, scabies, styes, burns, sunburn, cuts, wounds, sores, ulcers, insect bites & stings, head lice, bruises, sprains, tension headaches, gout & arthritic pain, shingles. Added to baths for muscle tension & spasm or after childbirth; rubbed on chest & inhaled for chest infections, coughs, colds & catarrh; tea or dilute tincture as a gargle for sore throats, tonsillitis & hoarseness, mouthwash for mouth ulcers & inflamed or infected gums, douche for leucorrhoea.