Scientific Name/Common Name:Lavandula angustifolia/ Lavender

Part(s) Used:Flowers

Constituents/Active Ingredients:Lavender flowers contain: 1-3% essential oil, containing mainly monoterpenes (Lavandulae aetheroleum, DAB 100, the most important component of which is linaloyl acetate (30-55%), also linalool (20-35%), b-ocimene, cineole, and camphor, and also the sesquiterpene caryophyllene oxide; tannins (5-10%), derivatives of rosmarinic acid; courmarin; flavonoids; phytosterols.

Overview:Lavender, also known as garden or English lavender, originated in the Mediterranean and north Africa but is now cultivated on a large scale in the United States. Its name is a derivative of the Latin word "lavare”, which means to wash, and since the time of the Romans has been used as bath oil, particularly to treat wounds, stimulate the skin, and promote drowsiness. When taken internally, lavender is a mild sedative that helps with restlessness and insomnia, reduces stomach acid and gas, and alleviates other intestinal difficulties. Bitter tasting but with a rich and sweet aroma, lavender is often used in colognes and perfumes and in many calming teas. Lavender is also used in aromatherapy as a holistic relaxant and is said to have carminative, antiflatulence, and anticolic properties. Its sedative nature, on inhalation, has been shown both in animals and man. Lavender has spasmolytic activity, as does linalool, one of lavender's major components. The mode of action of lavender oil resembles that of geranium and peppermint oils. Lavender oil can also be used as a local anesthetic and has significant antioxidant, antibacterial, and antifungal activity.

Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems:Nervous and digestive systems; for anxiety and insomnia; for indigestion and cramps; topically for minor cuts, burns, and wounds.

Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:

Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Lavandulae flos - Lavender. In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 292-294.

Woelk H, Schläfke S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010 Feb;17(2):94-9.

Disclaimer:This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.