Lavender

Lavender-herb-of-thep-month

Lavandula angustifolia – English lavender

With the days getting longer and warmer there are so many changes happening around us in nature; new spring growth, flowers bursting with colour and fruit beginning to develop on trees. Spending more time outside and in nature is healing for the mind, body and soul.

Many medicinal herbs are starting to spring forth with new life and growth. The flowering season of lavender is underway and will last throughout summer. There are many different species of lavender in the Lavandula genus, and many different cultivated varieties. The most commonly cultivated and utilised for medicinal use is Lavandula angustifolia  (English lavender).

The medicinal effects of L. angustifolia have been well researched, particularly the use of its essential oil which comprises of a variety of volatile oils including linalool, linalyl acetate, borneol and thymol. Antiseptic, anxiolytic (reducing anxiety) and vulnerary (wound healing) are just some of the well-known actions that come from the active phytochemicals within L. angustifolia (Fisher, 2018). A recent systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that L. angustifolia has significant anti-depressant effects, implying its effectiveness as a complementary treatment approach for depression (Firoozeei et al., 2021).

  1. angustifolia can also be used topically as an insect repellent, which is something that is important for those who spend a lot of time outdoors in the summer and get annoyed by sandflies and mosquitos! The pungent volatile oils contained in L. angustifolia effectively repel insects and can be a good alternative to stronger insect repellents that contain DEET (N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide) (Fisher, 2018). Mix 10-20 drops of good quality L. angustifolia essential oil with 20mL of your carrier oil of choice (jojoba, sweet almond, olive oil) and apply to the skin. This will repel biting insects for some time although it does need to be reapplied more often than conventional insect repellents.

There are many ways to introduce the healing qualities of L. angustifolia into your life; as a calmer and soother of the nervous system, an insect repellent or as a teacher, by simply observing its beauty as it grows.

References:

Firoozeei, T. S., Feizi, A., Rezaeizadeh, H., Zargaran, A., Roohafza, H. R., & Karimia, M. (2021). The antidepressant effects of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Mill.): A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled clinical trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 59(102679). DOI: 10.1016/j.ctim.2021.102679

Fisher, C. (2018). Materia medica of Western herbs. London, England: Aeon Books Ltd.

Nikki Morgan / Patrice Kelly – Naturopath. Medical Herbalist and Wellpark College Tutor 

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