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Lavandula angustifolia


Lavender

Lamiaceae


Actions: Sedative, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antimicrobial, nervine, emmenagogue, hypotensive

Qualities: relaxing, cooling

Affinities: Nervous system

Constituents: Monoterpenes: linalool (sedative/antiseptic), linalyl acetate (anxiolytic), camphor (mild anesthetic/antipruritic), coumarins, flavonoids

Safety: No concerns


The species name Lavandula may be related to the old French word meaning ‘to clean’ or Latin livere, ‘blueish’.

L. angustifolia (prev. L. officinalis)

  • Leaves narrow, hence species name

  • Flowers on terminal spikes, tubular calyx and corolla, the latter with 5 lobes

L. latifolia

  • “Broad leaved”

  • Larger heads, so easier to harvest

The latter produces a slightly different essential oil, containing more camphor, which some consider lower quality.


As a calming nervine, Lavender can be used in many ways:

  • Infusion - drink/baths

  • Essential oil - inhale, diffuse, drops on pillow, topical (esp. rheumatic pain)

  • Dried - herb pillow

As a combination, lavender and mint work well together for the relief of headaches. The mix of the sedating lavender and stimulating mint may seem contradictory, but is effective.


With regards to its mechanism of action in pharmacological terms, it is believed the anxiolytic and antidepressant-like effects attributed to lavender may be due to an antagonism on the NMDA-receptor (similar to anaesthetics like ketamine) and inhibition of SERT, in a similar way to certain selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors.


References

Hoffmann, David. Medical Herbalism (p. 65). Inner Traditions/Bear & Company. Edición de Kindle.

Lopez, V et al. (2017) Exploring Pharmacological Mechanisms of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Essential Oil on Central Nervous System TargetsFrontiers in Pharmacology doi: 10.3389/fphar.2017.00280



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