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Archive for the ‘Lavandula angustifolia’ Category

Lavender has been cherished for centuries for its sweet, relaxing perfume. Its name comes from the Latin root lavare meaning to wash, since lavender was frequently used in soaps and hair rinses. It is one of the most popular flowers sold by health food stores and aromatherapy dealers.

Possible uses

Besides its importance as a fragrance, lavender is considered calming to nervous tension. Lavender oil is some-rimes rubbed into the temples for nead pain, added to bathwater for an anxiety-reducing bath, or put on a cotton ball and placed inside a pil­lowcase to treat insomnia. Lavender dowers are added to tea formulas for a pleasing, soothing aroma; the tea is sipped throughout the lay to ease nervous tension. Lavender has a mildly sedating iction and is also a weak antispasmodic for muscular tension.

Lavender may also alleviate gas and bloating in intestines as most herbs high in volatile oils are reported to do. One of lavender’s volatile oils, linalool, has been found to relax the bronchial passages, reduc­ing inflammatory and allergic reactions. Lavender is sometimes included in asthma, cough, and other respiratory formulas. Linalool is also credited as an expectorant ind antiseptic.

Possible side effects

Some people dislike the smell of lavender and find it nau­seating or irritating to the nose.

Precautions and warnings

Do not take lavender in large or therapeutic doses during pregnancy.

Plant part used

Flowers, harvested in me initial stages of flowering.

Preparations and dosage

Lavender is ommonly added to soaps, perfumes, powders, and potpourri blends. Enor­mous quantities of lavender are steam-distilled to prepare the concentrated volatile oils, which are used in the perfume and cosmetic industry and are available in the pure form in health food stores and perfume shops. The volatile oils may be used topically and in the practice of aromatherapy (using essen­tial oils to elicit a medicinal effect). You can add dried lavender flowers to tea formulas. Briefly steep 1 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon flowers per cup of hot water. When infusing lavender, use a lid to prevent the volatile oils from escaping into the air.

Using lavender essential oil

Add lavender essential oil to the last few minutes of the rinse cycle in your washing machine. Soak a cotton ball with lavender essential oil, tie it inside a small piece of fabric, and tuck it in your pillow­case or put it inside your dresser drawers. Place a drop or two of lavender oil on a cool light bulb of the lamp near your bed for a calming effect when you read in bed.

Never use concentrated volatile oils internally in doses larger than a drop or two, and always dilute with water or any vegetable oil. Putting a drop of some oils on the skin or tongue can cause burns with blisters.

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