Pharmacy name: lavender flowers – Lavandulae flos (formerly: Flores Lavandulae), lavender oil – Lavandulae aetheroleum (formerly: Oleum Lavandulae).
Botanical description. This evergreen subshrub reaches a height of about half a meter. Its erect stems bear opposite leaves. The leaves are linear-lanceolate in shape, entire, bent down along the edges. The lower leaves have white tomentose pubescence on both sides. The purple flowers are placed in false whorls that form a discontinuous spike. Each whorl consists of 6-10 flowers. Blooms from July to August. Lavender is native to the western Mediterranean. In Germany, it is grown in gardens, from which it sometimes “runs away” and runs wild. For medicinal purposes, specially grown lavender is used.
Collection and preparation. You need to start collecting as soon as the flowers bloom. The inflorescences are cut, hung out to dry, and then the flowers are picked. Essential oil is obtained by steam distillation.
active ingredients. The main substance of lavender is an extremely pleasant-smelling essential oil of flowers. In addition, tannins, flavonoids, phytosterols and coumarins can be mentioned.
Healing action and application. Lavender flowers have a calming effect on the central nervous system, as well as on the nervous system of the respiratory tract. Due to the presence of tannins, they have a fixing effect on diarrhea, especially when it occurs with fermentation. To some extent, lavender flowers can also be a choleretic agent. Currently, tea is not often made from lavender flowers alone, more often they are part of mixtures that are supposed to have a hypnotic or sedative effect. Vegetative dystonia is today the main area of application of lavender, and here more often than lavender tea, a lavender bath is used.
- Tea from lavender flowers: 2 teaspoons with the top of raw materials are poured into 1/4 I of boiling water and filtered after 5-10 minutes of infusion. Sweetened with honey (do not sweeten in case of gastrointestinal diseases and diarrhea!) and slowly drunk tea calms overly irritated nerves. Diabetics should never sweeten!
- Lavender bath: 50-60 g of lavender flowers are poured into 1 liter of cold water, slowly heated to a boil, then infused for 10 minutes and filtered. The liquid is introduced into a bath filled with water. Lavender bath is especially good for hypo-tonic patients: it invigorates them. Lavender baths are soothing and relieve stress even in very irritated people.
Finally, it is worth mentioning lavender alcohol – a special remedy that is sold in pharmacies. It is often rubbed in rheumatism. Although there is no evidence of any pharmacological studies of the effects of lavender, the German National Health Service widely adopts the experience of traditional medicine, as it recommends tea from lavender flowers “for well-being disorders – such as anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite – and functional diseases of the upper abdomen (nervous irritation of the stomach, flatulence, intestinal diseases of a nervous nature)”, and lavender oil as a remedy for functional circulatory disorders.
Application in folk medicine.Mattiolus, whose sayings about medicinal plants so strongly influenced folk medicine, said that lavender is good against all diseases of the brain and cerebral vessels, also for dizziness, drowsiness, convulsions and paralysis after a stroke. It “warms a weak cold stomach, disperses winds, drives urine and warms the uterus in pregnant women, opens a blocked liver and spleen, also relieves excessive dropsy, soothes toothache, restores difficult speech.” Over time, folk medicine began to use lavender for the following ailments: loss of appetite, rush of blood to the head, swelling of the abdomen, colic, nausea, dizziness, loss of strength, migraine, headaches, apoplexy, heart weakness, jaundice, diseases of the liver and spleen beginning dropsy, paralysis, joint pain, rheumatism and gout. Lavender flowers are a favorite material for filling “sleepy pillows” (together with hops and lemon balm in equal parts).
Side effects. Lavender flowers can be used without any concerns. But the use of lavender oil internally requires some caution. In large doses (over about 1 g), along with irritation of the stomach and intestines, depression and impaired consciousness may occur.