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Lavender

Botanical name

(True) Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia Mill.

Family

Labiatae (Lamiaceae)

Useful information about the plant

The heat-loving lavender is native to the Mediterranean where it is cultivated in large scale. The name "Lavandula - Lavender" is derived from its earlier widespread use as a fragrant addition to bath water (lavare lat = to wash). The epithet angustifolia (lat = narrow-leaved) refers to its narrow leaves.
The pleasant aromatic and fragrant lavender is a 30 to 60cm high shrub with narrow, blue-green leaves about 5cm long. The lower leaves have small white hairs, its edge is more or less rolled. The flowers are in dense whorls at the end of a long stem and form a pseudo-spike. The blue-violet corolla consists of a bilobed upper lip and a slightly smaller three-lobed lower lip. That is how they look out of the tube-shaped, oval, blue-gray cup. When dried, the corolla falls off easily or shrinks a lot so that only the cups can be seen. The lavender fields are in bloom in late July to August.

Medicinally used plant parts (drug)

The flowers with their pleasant sweet fragrance that are stripped from the stems are used. It is created by an essential oil, which is in the glandular scales on the surface of the flowers. If these glands are opened rubbed, they release the essential oil.
The commercially available drug comes from France, Spain and Eastern Europe.

Ingredients of the drug

Lavender flowers contain essential oil ("lavender oil") with mainly linalyl acetate and linalool, also Lamiaceen tannins

Descriptions of the quality

The quality of the following drugs or drug preparations is specified in the European Pharmacopoeia (Ph. Eur.):

  • Lavender flowers (Lavandula flos)
  • Lavender Oil (Lavandula aetheroleum)

Medical Application

Recognised medical use

Internally for restlessness, difficulty in falling asleep and depression. Also for abdominal complaints such as nervous dyspepsia, flatulence, nervous intestinal discomfort, Roehmheld syndrome. Externally in the form of baths for circulatory problems (Commission E, ESCOP).
In aromatherapy lavender oil is used to calm - also used by midwives in obstetrics. It is also a good repellent (to repel flies, mosquitoes, etc.) when undiluted or mixed 1:1 with alcohol.

Traditional use

Lavender oil as a bath for the relief of states of exhaustion, lavender flowers are used in combination with other drugs traditionally used to support the digestive function and to improve the discomfort (traditional use acc. to § 109a).

Medicinal herbal preparations in finished drug products

  • Lavender flowers as a tea, as tea bags and in combination with other drugs
  • Lavender oil in baths

Dosage

Prepared drugs: see package insert;
Tea infusion: adults, adolescents and children can drink 1 cup of warm lavender tea several times a day.
Lavender Oil: Adults and teenagers can take 1 - 4 drops on a lump of sugar or with water several times daily.
As a bath additive, 10 to 100g of lavender flowers are used for a full bath.

Preparation of a tea infusion

Pour 150ml of hot water (not boiling!) over 1 to 2 teaspoons (0.8 to 1.6g) of lavender blossoms. Let it stand for 5 to 10 minutes, then strain. Prepare the tea for children (4-10 years) with 1g of the drug.

Advice

Never use essential oils, including lavender oil, in infants and never around the eyes.

Side effects

None known

Interactions

None known

References

Drug monographs

Commission E, ESCOP, WHO (Vol. 3)

Further reading

Wichtl: Teedrogen und Phytopharmaka, pg. 381
Schilcher: Leitfaden Phytotherapie, pg. 161
Van Wyk: Handbuch der Arzneipflanzen, pg. 189
Kommentar zum Europäischen Arzneibuch (Lavender flowers, no. 1534; Lavender oil, no. 1338)

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