Lavender – Lavandula officinalis
Lavender is one of the most traditional herbs in use, being greatly valued by ancient Greeks, Romans, and Arabs, cultivated in monastic gardens, and in common use up to the present. Native to the Mediterranean, India, and the Canary Islands and introduced throughout much of the world, Lavender thrives in warm climates with open, sunny areas and rocky, well-draining soil. Lavender’s aromatic, narrow grey-green linear leaves grow in opposite formation on square stems shooting off from a woody base, making it fairly easy to identify, especially once its varying shades of small purple blossoms start appearing. There are many species of Lavender, but one of the most commonly cultivated is pictured here, Lavandula angustifolia.
Harvesting: Lavender is best harvested just as the flower buds are barely beginning to open, or even just before, usually around mid-summer and into early autumn. To dry, hang in small bunches, or lay in a single layer on a perforated surface. The leaves can be gathered at any time if using fresh, and if for drying, pick just before the plant flowers.
Uses: Lavender has many uses, prepared in the forms of tea, tinctures, bath herbs, and endless topical applications of balms, salves, lotions, soaps, and more. Due to its prolific anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and vulnerary properties, Lavender is well known for its skin-healing and soothing abilities, especially for burns, cuts, and stings, or even acne, eczema and psoriasis. Also a wonderful herbal support for anxiety, stress, and tension throughout the body, it can even assist with insomnia. Acting as a circulatory stimulant, Lavender also helps to extend circulation to the periphery of the body. Another common use is in supporting the gastrointestinal system, due to its antispasmodic, carminative properties. Lavender is a safe, gentle herb, with a multitude of actions and uses!
Actions: Anti-inflammatory, Antimicrobial, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Carminative, Nervine, Vulnerary
Taste: Aromatic, Bitter
Energy: Cooling, Drying, gently Stimulating
1st Botanical Design: “Herbs Coloring Book” – Stefen Bernath
2nd Botanical Design: “Medicinal Plants Coloring Book” – Ilil Arbel
I hope you enjoyed this short herbal monograph! Head back to the Herbalism page for more ways to study herbs and their properties, actions, preparations, and traditional use in day-to-day living, or look up a few more herbal mini-monographs and read about another plant in depth.
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