English Lavender - Lavandula angustifolia during the Middle Ages was thought to be an herb of love and was considered an aphrodisiac. (Kowalchick, 1987). The Romans are said to have scented their bathwater with Lavender and its unique fragrance has ensured it lasting popularity. Lavender 's medicinal and insecticidal properties were recognized early. (Houdret, 2002)
The name lavender is derived from the Latin lavare, meaning "to wash." Ancient Egyptians created mummification casts by soaking linen in oil of lavender containing asphalt, then wrapping the bodies with these and drying them in the sun until the casts were hard. Lavender has been renowned for its medicinal properties in India and Tibet. In Tibetan Buddhist medicine, lavender is still used to treat insanity and psychoses. (Natural Medicines 2015) In 1387 at the court of Charles VI of France all the cushions were stuffed with lavender both for its pleasant scent and to deter insects. (Houdret, 2002)
Traditionally, the herb's fragrance has been exploited in sachets, to protect linens from moths, and to freshen sickrooms. Lavender was used to soothe troubled minds and bodies as a medicine for hysteria, nervous palpitations, hoarseness, palsy, toothaches, sore joints, apoplexy, and colic. It's ingredients was used for smelling salts and up until World War I, Lavender was used as a disinfectant for wounds. (Kowalchick, 1987). In the early years of this century, Rene´ Gattefosse, one the founders of aromatherapy, discovered the powers of lavender when his badly burned hand was healed after it had been immersed in neat essential oil of lavender. (Houdret, 2002)
In modern times, Lavender in scientific research has established the antiseptic and antibacterial properties. In the research Lavender oil has been effected with Alopecia areata with the combination with essential oils from thyme, rosemary, and cedarwood as much as 44% after 7 months of treatment. (Hay IC, 1998). Some evidence suggests that taking a lavender-containing capsule orally improves anxiety in some patients. Clinical research shows that taking a specific capsule containing lavender oil (Silexan) 80 mg daily for 6-10 weeks improves anxiety, remission rates, and sleep scores compared to placebo in patients with mild to severe anxiety. (Kasper, S, 2010).
Kowalchick, C., Hylton, W. H. (1987) Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. (United States: Rodale Press, Inc). 350-351
Houdret, J, (2002) Herbs (New York, NY - Hermes House, Anness Publishing Inc.) pp 170-171
Natural Medicines ( 2015 ) Lavender , Therapeutic Research Center https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=838
Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998;134:1349-52.
Kasper, S., Gastpar, M., Muller, W. E., Volz, H. P., Moller, H. J., Dienel, A., and Schlafke, S. Silexan, an orally administered Lavandula oil preparation, is effective in the treatment of 'subsyndromal' anxiety disorder: a randomized, double-blind, placebo controlled trial. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010;25(5):277-287.