Author

Vesna Podkrajac  BA App Psychology, MPhil Psychology, MRehbCounlg (current)

NATURAL MEDICINE: ARTICLE

LAVANDER: The Medicine for Magnificent Mind and Body

LAVANDER: The Medicine for Magnificent Mind and Body

Medicinal use of Lavander

Lavandula Angustifolia, Lavandula Vera (Latin ‘lavere’ – to wash)

Lavander is nature’s medicine (lavandula angustifolia, lavandula vera). The pseudonym of the plant excogitates from the Latin ‘lavare’ – to wash, presumably from its application in cleansing wounds, although it was also extensively applied for personal bathing and washing linen and cloths. Lavender is a native plant of the Mediterranean.

Vesna Podkrajac | MRehbCoulng (current), MPhil Psych, BA App Psych, Dip HRM, Neuropsychology, Neuroscientist, Counsellor, Psychotherapist, Master of Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT). 

Lavander flourishes all over Europe, since the Romans introduced it to Britain and Northern European countries. However, the best Lavender is still grown in the Mediterranean. This small, bush-like shrub grows to a hight of 30-60 cm tall. The finest quality grows at altitudes between 700 and 1,400 meters. All parts of the plant are fragrant, in particular, its flowers. The Romans used lavender for medicine and to perfume their washing water. Lavender is one of the most prominent herb in the world. The minuscule flowers come out on spikes above the foliage in summer. After being collected in spring and summer, the flowers are dried for application in infusions and capsules, or they  may be refined to extract the essential oil. Ointments, creams and gels are made with a base of the essential oil. Traditionally a product of France, lavender is now also farmed in Australia and New Zealand. Thus, Lavender has  been used progressively for thousands of years, either in the frame-word of the essential oil, or as the fresh or dried flowers. Off all the essential oils, that of Lavender is undeniably the most versatile, with a spread of effects ranging from analgesic to vermifuge. Lavender contains an essential oil. Fresh flower contains 0.1 – 1.0 per cent of essential oil.   Dry lavender contains 1.0 – 3.0 per cent of essential oil. There are over 40 constituents, including linalyl acetate,  linalool and terpinene-4-ol. Thus, the versatility of the plant mirrors its complex chemical structure. The active constituents of the oil include the ethers of linalyl and geranyl, geraniol, linalol, cineol, d-borneol, limonene, l-pinene, caryophyllene, the esters of butyric acid and valerienic acid and coumarin. The magnitude of the diverse constituents will fluctuate from place to place, comensurating to the soil and circumstances in which the plants were grown, and from year to year according to the weather conditions. For instance, after a dry and hot summer, the oil will have the highest percentage of esters than after a dull one. Alpine Lavender is always higher in esters than plants grown at lower altitudes.

Lavender, or Lavandula officinalis, is the most important medicinally, can also be called Lavandula angustifolia, or Lavandula vera, meaning ‘true Lavender’. It is presumably the best-loved and most extensively applied oil in the  whole medicinal and aroma-therapeutical applications. The scientific researches claim that very few people are likely to present any allergic reactions to Lavender. In my experiences, they are often asthma or hay fever sufferers,   or they may have genetic predisposition in family history of allergies (hay fever, asthma, eczema, or other skin reactions). One of the most important application of Lavender is for the relief of muscular pain. It is best applied in a massage oil, either alone or preferably blended with another oil, such as Majoram or Rosemary. Lavender is not only enhanced in its action by being mixed with other essential oils, but also heightens the action of any oil with which it is mixed. If there is nobody available who can give you massage, an aromatic bath with Lavender will also give relief   to macular pain following exercise, or arising from tension. Low back pain can be helped in this way,  contributing any spinal irregularity. Lavender can assist with many of the minor upsets of infancy, too – colic, irritability an childhood infections – provided it is endured in mind that the essential oil should always be very well diluted. A single drop of Lavender oil in a baby’s bath will assist a fretful infant to sleep. Dilute the oil first, either in a little almond oil or a few teaspoons of vodka. The essential oil will float in a fine film on the top of the water. With young babies, there is a danger that if they get a little undiluted oil on their fingers, they may rub it in their eyes, causing irritation and possible permanent damage of the cornea. Lavender is well known for its sedative and calming effects. In 2001, Japanese researchers found that the scent of lavender has medicinal use such as easing spasm, helping digestion, relieving flatulence and adding the passage of bile. The effects can be best summarized as calming, soothing, and above all, mind and body balancing. Reasonably, the most important medicinal use of Lavender is its ability to restore unbalanced states – whether of mind or body – to that state of balance in which healing can take place. Lavender may also help some types of asthma. Lavender is antiseptic and antibacterial and soothes minor skin infections, insect bites and burns. Lavender is used in therapeutic baths to treat blood circulation problems, and it can ease rheumatic pains as well as lowering fevers. Lavender is both antiseptic and analgesic, which makes it a natural choice for treating burns and all kinds of injuries. It also promotes rapid healing, and helps to prevent scarring.

The analgesic, antiseptic and antibiotic properties of Lavender oil also make it a valuable treatment for colds, coughs, catarrh, sinusitis and ‘flu. Steam inhalation is the most effective form of treatment. A little oils of Lavender an be massaged into the throat to relieve a tickle cough. A drop or two can be massaged along the bony ridges of the eyebrows and on either side of the nostrils to help catarrh. In doing this, you will be working on some important acupressure points for catarrh, as well as using the decongestant and antibacterial action of the Lavender. The soothing. antiseptic anti-inflammatory properties of Lavender make it valuable for many skin conditions, and its  delicate and well-loved aroma lends itself well to blending in creams, lotions and skin-tonics in concentration of 1% to 2%. Steam alone – as hot as you can bear it – is an effective antiviral agent, and with oil of Lavender added, it can   soothe, decongest and attack the bacteria with cause secondary infections, leading to catarrh and sinusitis following colds or ‘flu. Lavender is also an effective sedative used at night, will aid sleep, and it helps with recovery. The sedative action of Lavender calms the tickle, and the warmth of the body releases some of the volatile oil to be breathed in, and this works on the cause of the cough – the infection in the respiratory tract. The action of Lavender on the muscle of the heart is both tonic and sedative, making it valuable for the treatment of palpitations. It also helps to reduce high blood-pressure, through it is obviously look at the other necessary factors as well. Massage or aromatic baths are   the most suitable mode of use. Massaged into the temples, lavender will relieve many forms of headache. If this alone does not help, a cold compress of Lavender can be placed on the forehead or back of the neck. Lavender is one of the most valuable oils for the treatment of acne. It inhibits the bacteria which cause the skin infection, while soothing the skin, helping to balance the over-secretion of sebum, which the bacteria thrive on, and helping to  reduce scarring. Lavender is one of the three essential oils which most powerfully stimulate the growth of healthy new cells – Neroli and Ti-tree are the other two, although all essential oils share this property. Lavender is fungicidal too, and valuable   in treating such infections as athlete’s foot and ringworm.

It was Rene-Maurice Gattefosse’s observation of the dramatic healing effect of Lavender oil when he burnt his hand  in a laboratory accident, that led him to research essential oils in greater depth, and eventually to coin the world ‘ aromatherapie’. Dr. Jean Valnet used Lavender oil to treat serious burns and war injuries when he was a French army surgeon. Lavender stoechas (lavandula stoechas) encompasses considerable extents of ketones which constitutes it a likely toxic oil, unlike the other Lavenders. Directly inhaling it for two or three minutes would make you very dizzy. It is a  very powerful mucolytic, useful in chronic conditions, but I would advocate you to leave its use to those authorised aromatherpists or health practitioners like myself who are medically qualified to give you consultation. Plant seeds in spring in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. Grows best in cool to mild climates. There are several conglomerations of Lavender in cultivation which are of application in medicine, and turmoil sometimes arises over the names of the diversified  species. Lavender has never lost its popularity. It is one of a small handful of essential oils which is still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia.

PHOTO: Vesna Podkrajac

PHOTO: Vesna Podkrajac

APA Reference:

Podkrajac, V. (2017). Medicine for Magnificent Mind and Body. Mind Body Spirit World. Retrived December 12, 2017, from http://mindbodyspiritworld.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=814&action=edit.html.


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