Lavandula angustifolia ~ LAVANDE



Nom latin : Lavandula angustifolia, vera, officinalis

Noms communs : Lavande, Lavande officinale, Lavande fine, Faux nard, Garde-robe

Famille botanique : Lamiacée (menthe, mélisse, oirgan, sauge, romarin, thym, basilic, prunelle, marrube blanc)

Identification : Il existe plusieurs variétés de Lavande. Toutes sont médicinales et utilisées en herboristerie. La plus couramment cultivée au jardin est Lavandula angustifolia, aussi appellée Lavandula vera ou officinalis, une herbe vivace aux branchages fins, carrés et verticaux terminés par des fleurs labiées, petites et bleues/violettes/roses. La lavande cultivée pousse en buissons hauts de 1mètre maximum. Ses feuilles sont vert grisé, opposées et lancéolées. Tiges et feuilles sont douces au toucher. La floraisons démarre à la fin du printemps et se poursuit jusqu’au mois de septembre. De la plante entière émane une odeur parfumée, un parfum qui ne s’éteint pas lors du séchage de la plante.

Habitat, Culture, Multiplication : La Lavande est originaire des côtes méditerranéennes, où elle pousse sur des sols secs, sableux, caillouteux et/ou rocheux. Elle est cultivée dans les régions d’Europe au climat tempéré, jusqu’à la Scandinavie, mais aussi dans d’autres régions du monde où elle s’est très bien adaptée (Australie, Amérique du Sud). It is cultivated in temperate regions of Europe as far north as Scandinavia as well as other parts of the world where it has adapted well (Australia, South America). I was surprised to see it growing all over the place in a small village in the heart of Bolivia. I asked a local about it and was told that a French expat had once brought a Lavender plant back from France and all the locals had wanted cuttings from it. The lavender has since become a symbol for this town (which also happens to have attracted many French expats). Lavender will grow well in any garden soil as long as it is well drained, not too rich to ensure the growth of strongly fragrant flowers (rich soil will promote the growth of leaves while poor soil promotes the production of essential oils – immunity – and their storage in the flower spikes), and in an open, sunny position. Sow seeds indoors in March-April and plant young plants 1m apart. Cultivators recommend not to let the plant flower in the first year so as to strengthen its root system and ensure the best harvest the second year. Lavender propagates well by cuttings too.

Parties utilisées : Flowering tops. The leaves can also be used but contain lesser amounts of essential oils.

Consignes de cueillette : the flowering stems, when the flowers are freshly opened (end of June-September), on a dry day, either in the morning or late afternoon when the plant holds higher amounts of essential oils. Cut the entire flower stem to encourage new growth. Leave to dry in a dry, cool and dark place.

Goûts : strongly bitter, aromatic

Energétique : cooling, drying

Composants : Flavonoids, tannins, coumarins, essential oils (up to 3%):  2% Aldehydes, 40-50% Esters, 4% Ketones, 2% Oxides, monoterpenols (linalol, terpin-4- ol, a- terpineol, borneol, geraniol, lavandulol), Coumarins/ Lactones (herianin, coumarin, ombelliferone, santonin).

Actions : analgesic, anti-allergic, anti-bacterial, nervine, antidepressant, anti-fungal, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, anti-viral, anxiolytic, anti-nausea, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, circulatory stimulant, relaxant, rubefacient, sedative, antispasmodic

Utilisations médicinales : Lavender is reputed as a medicinal plant for its calming effect on the nervous system. It is an excellent remedy when one’s energy is stuck in the head, volatile and hot, and the person experiences as a result either tension headaches, hot headaches, migraines, mental confusion, mental unrest, vertigo, insomnia, hyperactivity, restlessness, high emotions, nervous palpitations, irritability, hysteria and hypersensitivity with nervosity (in children and adults alike). 

By quieting and clearing communication pathways of the nervous system, Lavender helps the person ground their energy in the heart and back in the cool, calm, supportive earth, offering gifts of relaxation, relief and release, peace, serenity, gentle focus, patience and understanding. It promotes detachment and independence of thought and emotion. Lavender may be a useful remedy when there is anxiety (including associated with asthma or digestive problems), depression, muscle spasm or high blood pressure. As a grounding remedy Lavender is also very useful to have around for those prone to car and travel sickness.

Lavender’s aromatic and relaxing qualities help clear and purify the mind and the heart as well as the womb. It is recommended in feminine health as balancing to the hormones and restorative to the womb when the energy there is hot and stuck. It helps by restoring a sense of safety through peace and quiet for the space to either hold new life (cases of infertility) or release safely what needs to be released (delayed period or lack of).

As a cooling plant it is balancing and healing to hot, irritated conditions of many types, not only mental and emotional but also physical. Skin inflammations such as bruises, wounds, burns, bites, stings, eczema, psoriasis and rashes, as well as cramps (either in the limbs or menstrual cramps), rheumatic pain, sunstrokes and fevers can be gently treated with Lavender. For the latter, Juliette de Bairacli Levy suggests taking a bath with a mix of aromatic flowers such as lavender, rosemary, elderflower and meadowsweet infused. 

There is a deep sense of care and compassionate embrace associated with Lavender. It is a plant that can teach us to take better care of ourselves and ground our energy in self-love and self-compassion. It can support children who suffer from lack of parental affection, as well as adults who have never received such affection or compassion and whose lives are affected by it (lack of self-esteem, too hard on themselves, spoiling the other and not keeping any for themselves). 

As an antimicrobial, Lavender is a popular herb to prevent infections, and treat colds and flu. It is clearing to the lungs and blocked sinuses, and soothing to sore throats. It was one of the key ingredients in the Four Thieves Vinegar that was prepared and used by thieves during the Plague so they may rob victims of the epidemic without catching the virus. It is a great herb to diffuse in the room of a sick person to prevent contagion and uplift their spirits. Its bitter taste combined with its aromatic quality and relaxing effect on the tissues make it useful in the treatment of indigestion, trapped wind, and lack of appetite.  

Lavender’s combined qualities of purifying and uplifting bodies, and opening portals into the dream/sleep time or Otherworld make it a wonderful blessing herb to have around at all times. Dried lavender can be gifted to plants, trees and lands that offer their medicine to us, and may also be used as a fire offering, or smudged to purify spaces and people, including newborns (including lavender flowers along with rosemary and other fresh flowers in the baby’s first bath can also be an idea). It was used to prepare pharaohs for the afterlife in Egypt and makes a wonderful herb to smudge or offer as a blessing at death rituals.

Préparations médicinales :

I have found that the Amethyst stone and Lavender hold similar healing vibrations. They both help clear the mind and restore a sense of peace and quiet in the body. They combine well for treating restlessness, mental unrest, headaches, migraines, anxiety and depression.

Lavender infusion: infuse 10g of flowers in 1l of boiled water. Leave to infuse covered for 5 minutes. Drink 3 cups a day to treat anxious states.

Synergy to soothe the nerves and for sleep: equal parts chamomile, linden, lemon balm, lavender and lemon verbena

Lavender body oil: fill ¾ of a jar with crushed lavender flowering tops. Pour over organic olive oil up to the brim. Close well and keep on a window sill for 3-4 weeks, giving it a shake once a day. After 3-4 weeks straine the oil and keep in a jar or bottle. This oil is great for body oiling before bedtime, especially after a shower or bath when the pores of the skin are open.

Lavender steam: bring a pot of water to the boil and pour a few drops of essential oils. Leave to diffuse in the room.

Lavender essential oil: gently massage with fingertips points of the body that hold tension: temples, underneath the ears, on the upper chest, pulse points, acupressure points… 

Cream for fungal infections of the nail bed: stir together 2tbsp (25ml) of a base cream (I use a homemade Daisy cream – see Daisy monograph for the recipe) with 2tsp (10ml) of Horsetail tincture, 20 drops of tea tree essential oil and 20 drops of lavender essential oil. 

Anti-fungal paste:

What you need: a 100ml jar, Henna powder (Lawsonia inermis), honey, apple cider vinegar, Lavender essential oil

How to make it: Fill half the jar with powdered Henna. Add in 2 teaspoons of honey, 15 drops of Lavender essential oil and pour apple cider vinegar while stirring until you get a thick paste (like a nut butter).

How to use it: Before applying wash and dry well the infected area. Apply the paste generously onto the area, spreading it evenly and leave it on, preferably overnight. The paste dries up on the skin quickly. Repeat the process daily. Note that Henna stains the skin but clears after several washes. I have used this paste successfully to treat fungal infections on the toes and skin inflammation on the feet.

Lavender bath salts: 2 cups Epsom salts + 1 cup sea salt + ½ cup bicarbonate + dried lavender flowers + 30 drops of lavender essential oils. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients – except the essential oil – until well combined and there are no lumps. Then add a few drops of the essential oil and stir around. Add a few more drops and stir. Keep doing that until you have added all of the essential oil.

Lavender compress: crush fresh lavender and let it steep in apple cider vinegar for a few hours. Soak a cloth in it and place it on the forehead (or whole head) to treat hot headaches and migraines, or on the skin to soothe and heal bruises. Instead of the vinegar, an infusion can be made with Lavender as long as the infusion is left to cool down before use.

Calm sleep pillow spray: Valerian & Lavender & Chamomile essential oils diluted in water and sprayed onto the pillow

Lavender sleep pillow: to be placed in the bed ahead of bedtime. The same pillows can be placed in the closet to perfume clothes and discourage destructive insects from entering. We used to have such pillows in our closets as a child and I remember the distinctive, strong fragrance symbolic of our holidays in Provence.

Contre-indications : Peut causer de la somnolence chez les individus en hypotension. L’huile essentielle est à utiliser avec précaution. Ne pas utiliser en grande quantité pendant la grossesse.

Huile essentielle : éviter lors du 1er trimestre de grossesse et en cas d’hypotension. Utilisations : nausées matinales, vergetures de grossesse (à partir du 5ème mois), pendant l’accouchement (dans le bain). Bébés : colique, dentition, agitation, érythème fessier, eczéma. Infections et inflammations de la peau. Douleurs corporelles, musculaires. Système nerveux : humeur, sommeil, stress. Infections du système respiratoire. Chasse mites et acariens. Équilibre la psyché. Chakras supérieurs.

Sources :

Traveler’s Joy, Juliette de Bairacli Levy
A tus plantas Alpujarra, Anabel Sandoval & Julio Donat
A Modern Herbal, Mrs M. Grieve
Hygieia: A Woman’s Herbal, Jeannine Parvati
Se soigner par les plantes, Docteur Gille Corjon
350 plantes medicinales, Wolfgang Hensel
The Illustrated Herbal Handbook, Juliette de Bairacli Levy
Conversations with Plants, Nikki Darrell
Ireland Plant Medicine Guide, Sage L. Maurer, The Gaia School of Healing
The Lunar Apothecary, Worts + Cunning Apothecary
Essential Oils: Their Therapeutic Use in Herbal Medicine, Aromatic Medicine And Aromatherapy. A concise Manual, Nikki Darrell