Before World War II lavender was commonly used as an antiseptic dressing for wounds and to get rid of parasites. In addition to its wound-healing properties, lavender has been shown to exhibit activity against diphtheria, typhoid, pneumonia, staph, strep, and many flu viruses. The herb clears heat, calms the nerves and settles digestion. It also appears to stabilize or inhibit mast cell activity.
Topically, lavender tea can be used as a mouth- wash to get rid of bad breath, a footbath to relieve fatigue, or a douche, sitz bath, or enema to treat yeast infections, trichomonas, Gardnerella, or other types of infection. Lavender can also be used as a bath herb to soothe cranky children. It can be prepared as a fragrant shampoo or rinse to help prevent hair loss, as a salve to relieve inflammation (including that related to eczema and psoriasis), or as a massage oil to treat cellulite, earache, edema, rheumatism, and sore muscles.
Lavender essential oil is an excellent remedy for relieving pain, promoting healing, and preventing infection and scarring. It can be applied topically, undiluted, to treat acne, athlete’s foot, bee stings, boils, burns, cold sores, headache, infected wounds, insect and spider bites, joint soreness, scabies, and toothache. Placing a drop of lavender essential oil on the edge of the mattress of a teething baby can help calm him or her. Simply inhaling the scent of lavender essential oil from the bottle helps prevent fainting and relieves stress and depression.
Lavendel, Hunlavendel (Danish); Lavendel, Spijklavendel (Dutch); Lavendo (Esperanto); Tähklavendel (Estonian); Ostukhudus (Farsi); Tupsupäälaventeli (Finnish); Lavand (French); Lus-na-tùise (Gaelic); Lavendel, Lawendel (German); Levendula (Hungarian); Lofnarblóm (Icelandic); Lavanda (Italian); Lavendel (Norwegian); Lawenda waskolistna, Lawenda prawdziwa (Polish)
In the past, lavender has been used as a folk remedy for numerous conditions, including acne, cancer, colic, faintness, flatulence, giddiness, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, nervous headache, nervous palpitations, poor appetite, pimples, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, toothache, vomiting and worms.
Lavender salts have been employed for centuries as a stimulant to prevent fainting; lavender oil vapour is traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. A compound tincture of lavender (also known as Palsy Drops) was officially recognized by the British Pharmacopoeia for over 200 years, until the 1940s. Used to relieve muscle spasms, nervousness, and headaches, it originally contained over 30 ingredients.
Lavender ointments are rubbed into burns, bruises, varicose veins, and other skin injuries. The straight oil is dabbed on stops the itching of insect bites. Widely used as a tea for stomachache, especially colic in babies, when it sometimes is administered even before the mother’s milk starts. If the baby will not take the tea from a bottle, it can be rubbed on the mother’s nipples or administered to the child by squeezing from some clean cotton. The tea is also excellent for alleviating gas or acid indigestion in adults. The tea relieves harsh, gagging coughing fits and nausea.
Flavonoids (luteolin), essential oils (linalool, camphor, eucalyptol, geraniol, limonene, cineole), tannins, coumarins, triterpenoids
Carminative. Spasmolytic. Antidepressant. Antirheumatic.
Amenorrhea, anxiety, asthma (related to nerves), colic, convulsions, cough, depression, dizziness, fainting, fear, fever, flatulence, halitosis, headache (tension or migraine), hypertension, hysteria, insomnia, irritability, muscle spasms, nausea, nervous exhaustion, nervousness, pain, and stress.
Lavender stops pain caused by headaches and various skin conditions, such as acne, through the action of two compounds found in the essential oil, linalool and linalyl aldehyde. Linalool increases the threshold of pain, meaning that a stronger stimulus is required before pain is felt. In addition to stopping the perception of pain, lavender also inhibits the hormonal reactions that create inflammation and pain. It also contains an essential oil called 1,8-cineole or eucalyptol, which is also found in eucalyptus. This compound has analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects as well.
Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia.
The use of lavender oil in aromatherapy for sleep problems was verified by investigators in a six-week study involving nursing home residents. Researchers found that when they perfumed the sleeping ward with lavender and lavender oil for two weeks, the residents slept as long as and more soundly than they did during a different two-week interval in which they took sleep-inducing drugs. Lavender baths are considered valuable for soothing and strengthening the nervous system. In one study, patients with severe dementia and agitation benefited from an aroma stream of lavender oil. In another study, for patients with mild to moderate depression, a tincture of lavender oil (60 drops a day) and a medication (imipramine) helped treatment better than either alone. In a study using lavender oil in aromatherapy, patients with dementia and agitation experienced major improvements in agitation, aggressive behaviour, and irritability. However, in one study of patients with advanced cancer, there was no benefit from weekly massages of lavender oil in terms of reduced pain or anxiety.
Lavender acts to heal burns by stopping the action of hormonelike substances called prostaglandins, which cause swelling and provoke painful constriction in the area of a burn. Lavender oil also protects burned skin from bacterial and fungal infection.
Digestive Discomfort, Gas.
Lavender soothes stomach upset, reduces excess gas, and encourages the flow of blood. Health officials in Germany have endorsed the use of lavender tea for disturbances of the upper abdomen, such as nervous irritable stomach.
Dosage (Divided Daily)
• Dried Herb: 3,000 – 6,000mg
• Liquid Extract: 2 – 4.5mL (1:2 liquid extract)
Interactions with other drugs
- Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.
- Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
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