An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Lavender - Lavandula officinalis (Lavandula augustifolia) (Lavandula vera) - family: Labiatae (Lamiaceae) (Mint Family).
This is an aromatic, evergreen shrubby perennial plant that grows to about three feet high. It has grayish-green linear leaves and in the summer it produces spikes of fragrant lavender flowers. Following the flowers are small glossy brown seeds (nutlets). The flowers were used in Roman times in salads. Traditional European folk use of flowers and leaves as a food flavoring in candies and fruit preserves. Some traditional European folk use of flower tea as a remedy for insomnia and migraine headaches. Leaves and flowers stuffed into a pillow are a traditional European remedy for insomnia. Lavender fragrance is used in aromatherapy as a remedy for anxiety, depression, headaches, high blood pressure, insomnia and stress. Diluted forms of lavender oil used as a remedy for indigestion. Modern European folk use of flower tea as a remedy for anxiety, bad breath, depression, dizziness, headache, indigestion, insomnia, intestinal gas, menstrual cramps and nervousness. Approved by German Commission E as a remedy for anxiety, insomnia, nervousness and poor appetite. Traditional European folk use of lavender oil as a remedy for head lice and as an insect repellent. Lavender oil is also currently used as a topical remedy for burns, insect bites, skin irritations, sores, sunburn, wounds and for nerve pain. Lavender oil is also used as an inhalant for earaches. Under the name Dharu, Lavender has been used as an Ayurvedic medicinal herb. Modern North American commercial use of Lavender oil, which is extracted from the flowers, as a food flavoring in beverage, candy and baked foods. Lavender oil is rated by the U. S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) in very small quantities as a food additive. Note: pure lavender oil is much too toxic for internal consumption of more than two drops at a time. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias from 1820 to 1920. Traditional European folk use as a strewing herb. Native to the Mediterranean area. Cultivated as an herb and as an ornamental in North America. Many cultivars exist.
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Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.