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Earthnotes
Herb Library

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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



LAVENDER
(Lavandula angustifolia syn L. vera)
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PROPAGATION: By layering, cuttings taken in summer, by seed (stratify one month or freeze for 24 hours).
NEEDS: Full sun. Well-drained soil (sandy loam) in sheltered position. Trim back by one-third to half in early spring to encourage flower production, but do NOT cut back at end of season. Benefits from 1" of sand mulch.
HARVEST: While flowers are in full bud and just before opening.
FLOWERS: Traditional lavender color in July. There are a number of varieties which will show variations on this color from pale to dark, as well as pink and white blooming varieties. There is even a yellow blooming variety L. viridis which is very handsome, but is tender and will not winter over outside. Does well in a pot though.

USES

MEDICINAL:
Antibacterial properties.
Has been used in the treatment of stress related symptoms.
Has been used for pain and stiffness (embrocation of oil); headache and giddiness (infusion of fresh lavender as cold compress on forehead and temples).
Has been used to restore balance of nervous system (combine 6 drops lavender oil and 6 drops cypress oil in 4 oz. carrier oil ­ such as sweet almond or olive ­ applied to belly and massaged in)
Flower tea has been used for flatulence, headaches, dizziness, and halitosis.
The oil, as well as crushed fresh leaves, thought to relieve irritation of insect bites.
Has been used for fever, nausa, burns, stress relief, depression, and headaches.
The essential distilled oil has antibiotic activity against pneumocococcus, streptococcus, Koch's bacillus, diptheria, and typhiod.
Oil has traditionally been used with mild burns (essential oils are always used diluted!!), abrasions, cuts, wounds, sores, stings, coughs, colds, and chest infections (in vapor).
Lavender oil diluted in baby oil has been used for the pain of herpes minor and may be useful against pain of Herpes zoster (shingles).

CULINARY:
Also see Cooking with Herbs and Wild Foods.
Flowers and leaves used in flavored vinegars and jellies. A component of 'Herbes de Provence'. Flowers are used in teas, desserts and candied. Bitter leaves and tips used in salads, soups, vinegars, jellies and wine.

COSMETIC:
Added to bath water for fragrance and to stimulate (also foot bath).
Used for facials. Lavender stimulates and cleans skin with astringent action. Tea is used for a facial cleanser or for blemishes (antibacterial and astringent action). Lavender vinegar is used for oily skin. Is rejuvenating to skin and spirits. Useful for oily skin, acne, eczema, scars.
Essential oil used in sauna, massage, facials, baths, mask and body wrap.
Used extensively in the perfumery industry.

AROMATHERAPY:
Calming, antiseptic, healing, soothing, appeasing, energy balance. Used in diffuser, sauna, massage, bath, facials, mask, and body wrap.

CRAFT:
Wreaths, dried flower arrangements, lavender wands and woven 'bottles'. Potpourris, sachets, fragrancing bed linens. Sachet and sleep pillows, soaps, cosmetics, toiletries. Mix with pennyroyal and cedar shavings for insect repelling and aromatic potpourri. (Combine 1 oz. cedar, 1¾oz. lavender and 1/2 oz pennyroyal).

INSECTS:
Buds repel moths (see Crafts above) while the oil and the crushed leaves are thought to repel mosquitoes. Most annoying insects do not care for lavender and will avoid it if possible. Spittle bugs, however, do like the plant.

LANGUAGE:
Devotion

COMMENT:
The essential oil of Lavender is known as 'universal oil' due to its myriad of applications.



RECIPES

TEA
1 pint of water just off the boil added to 1/2 oz of young leaves or dried buds. Steep four minutes, or longer as desired.

BATH SALTS
Equal amounts of lavender and epsom salts with a few drops of lavender oil worked into the mix.

AFTER BATH LAVENDER OIL

1¼ C. Almond oil in glass jar; add lavender spikes (as many as possible); place in warm place 24 hours; repeat if necessary to ensure optimum fragrance; add Vitamin E, Tincture of Benzoin, or grapeseed extract to preserve.

LAVENDER WATER
Put 2 lbs lavender buds in 2 quarts of water in a cold still and make a slow fire under it; distill it off very slowly into a pot till you have distilled all your water; clean still out well and put your lavender water into it and distill it off slowly again; put into bottles and cork well (Taken from the "New Art of Cookery" - Richard Briggs 1788)




©2001 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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