LAVENDER, Lavandula angustifolia (Plant Family: Lamiaceae/Labiatae)
Type of plant: A shrubby evergreen bush with silver, spike-shaped, grayish green leaves and flowers in various shades of lavender to purple on top of tall, stiff stems.
Part used: Flowering tops
Method of extraction: Steam and CO2 distillation
Data: The plant is harvested in midsummer, left to dry for a couple of days to maximise the aroma, then distilled. Wild French lavender, grown at high altitude — over 2,800 feet — is categorised as “true” French lavender, particularly when grown in the Alpes de Haute region of Provence. Generally in France, lavender grows above 1,650 feet. Today lavender is grown in many countries, including India (Jammu and Kashmir) each version having somewhat different properties. The ancient Greeks, Persians, and Romans burned lavender in rooms where people were sick. The word lavender is derived from the Latin word lavera, “to wash,” because the Romans used the flowers in their baths.
Principal places of production: France, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, China, Russia, Tasmania, India.
When buying look for: Colourless to yellow-tinged liquid with a fresh, soft, floral, herbaceous aroma.
Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-venomous, calmative, cicatrising, cytophylactic, sedative, soporific, spasmolytic, vulnerary.
Therapeutic uses: Inflammatory conditions, skin infection, wounds, cuts, grazes, rashes, itching, stress-related eczema, nervous psoriasis, sunburn, burns, muscular spasm, muscular contraction, abdominal cramp, headache, migraine, insomnia, nervousness and related conditions, acne, pimples, insect bites, stress, tension, anxiety, tension, panic; insect deterrent.
Blends well with: Basil linalol, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, clary sage, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus lemon, eucalyptus radiata, frankincense, geranium, ginger, ginger lily root, grapefruit, greenland moss, immortelle, juniper berry, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, manuka, marjoram (sweet), melissa, myrtle, niaouli, orange (sweet), oregano, palmarosa, petitgrain, pine, plai, ravensara, ravintsara, rose maroc, rosemary, rose otto, spearmint, spikenard, spruce, tangerine, tea tree, thyme linalol, valerian, vetiver, yarrow.
Precautionary advice: No contraindications known. GRAS status.
Source: The complete book of Essential oils and Aromatherapy by Valerie Ann Worwood.