PART USED: Flowers

CONTAINS: Volatile oil, tannins, coumarins, flavonoids, triterpenoids

KEY USES: Relaxant, antispasmodic, antidepressant, nerve tonic, antiseptic, decongestant, expectorant, diaphoretic, detoxifying, analgesic, rubefacient

Lavender has been one of the best loved scented herbs for thousands of years. An infusion or tincture of lavender or inhalation of the essential oil has a wonderfully relaxing effect on mind and body. It makes a good remedy for anxiety, nervousness, and physical symptoms caused by stress such as tension headaches, migraine, palpitations and insomnia. Lavender oil is considered a balancer to the emotions, lifting the spirits, relieving depression and balancing inner disharmony. Lavender also has a stimulating edge to it, acting as a tonic to the nervous system, restoring vitality to people suffering from nervous exhaustion.

Lavender’s relaxing effect can be felt in the digestive tract, where it soothes spasm and colic related to tension and anxiety and relieves distention, flatulence, nausea, indigestion, and enhances the appetite. Its powerful antiseptic volatile oils have been shown to be active against bacteria including diphtheria, typhoid, streptococcus and pneumococcus. As tea, oil inhalation, or vapour rub, lavender is effective for colds, coughs, asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia, flu, tonsillitis and laryngitis. The tea or tincture can also be taken for stomach and bowel infections causing vomiting or diarrhoea.

Taken as hot tea, lavender causes sweating and reduces fevers. It helps to detoxify the body by increasing elimination of toxins via the skin and, with its mild diuretic action, through the urine.

Lavender is a useful external disinfectant for cuts and wounds, sores and ulcers.
It stimulates tissue repair and minimises scar formation when the oil is applied neat to burns and diluted in cases of eczema, acne and varicose ulcers.

Anne McIntyre runs seasonal courses in experiential herbalism at Trill Farm, using the herb gardens and hedgerows to teach the practical ways to use beneficial herbs.