Origin: Middle East
A perennial evergreen sub-shrub belonging to the Labiatae family, lavender boasts narrow grey/green leaves and elongated stems adorned with mauve, purple, pink, or white flowers.
Plant Parts Used: Flower heads.
Lavender is a versatile herb with a myriad of properties including soothing, relaxant, carminative, sedative, local anaesthetic, antiseptic, disinfectant, analgesic, antidepressant, insecticide, deodorant, stimulant, tonic, skin rejuvenating, and stress relief.
Embracing metaphysical realms, lavender is linked to Yin, Moon, Blue, throat, Mercury (clears and relaxes the mind), Jupiter (emotional benefactor), creativity, devotion, chastity, and male aphrodisiac.
Beyond the physical, lavender embodies spiritual qualities, signifying caring and nurturing. It serves as a protective force for the Earth mother, a relaxant in psychic work, drawing spiritual energy into the physical realm and gently dispelling negativity.
Lavender finds its place in various medicinal applications such as steeping as tea (drink no more than 2 cups per day), bathing/hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and topical use for burns, minor skin abrasions, respiratory ailments, and muscular aches and pains.
Lavender extends its aromatic touch to body care, featuring in perfumery, face/hand creams, body lotions, soaps, bath bombs/oils/salts/vinegars/bubbles, shower gel, shampoos, and talcum.
For crafting enthusiasts, lavender offers a canvas for creativity. Fresh or dried flowers, pot-pourri, closet/moth repellent sachets, sleep pillows, heat pillows, scented bags/paper, incense, and even furniture polish and varnishes are just a few of the possibilities. Note: English and Lavandin varieties dry best.
Lavender transcends its aromatic allure into culinary realms, enhancing delights such as lavender butter, biscuits, sugar, flavored honey, and ice-cream with its sweet and fragrant notes.
Cautionary Note: Exercise caution with broader-leaved varieties, as they tend to have a high camphor oil content, making them unsuitable for internal use. True English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has less than 1% camphor oil content, ensuring safety for internal consumption. When in doubt, seek organically certified products to avoid chemical residue and consult a Naturopath, especially during pregnancy or lactation/breastfeeding.
In the Garden
Lavender, known for its ease of cultivation, thrives in a sunny spot with well-drained soil. Versatile across varieties, most lavenders are frost-hardy and drought-tolerant once established, making them a delightful addition to any garden.
Lukas and Lavender:
Herb is a description given to any flora that possesses aromatic, culinary or medicinal properties. This includes a wide range of well-known trees, shrubs, plants and flowers, often used in everyday life.
The true beauty of herbs is shown in their simplicity of use. The addition of herbal materials such as leaves and flowers to our daily meals and environment can have profound long-term effects, without straining our bodily system already working hard to filter the constituents of air, water and soil pollution.
Common botanicals such as lavender can be beneficial in therapeutic ways, such as aromatherapy, to treat light ailments in the home for little economic cost.
An herbal tea is a gentle way to ease a headache or mild indigestion, with side effects tempered by the full benefits of the plant's chemical makeup. Plants contain a number of individual substances (constituents), that work together, synergistically when used in their whole form.
For example dandelion leaves, when taken as a tea produce a diuretic affect, cleansing the urinary system. The body loses a lot of potassium with frequent urination and the leaf, taken as a whole, contains high amounts of potassium, compensating the nutrient loss from the body. This creates a natural state of balance that is in line with an individual’s own molecular harmony. Using herbs to relieve minor suffering, can improve quality of life and perhaps help to stave off the more drastic states, of dis-ease.
To continue with the above example, dandelions grow commonly in lawns and pasture lands throughout Australia. The edible European Dandelion has a single flower on each stem and finer, light green leaves making it easily distinguishable. Collecting herbs from the garden or in the wild can be a most pleasure some task. Out for a walk in the countryside or spotting a new bloom in your garden can change your mood in an instant, creating a natural quality of peace.
Dandelion greens are a nutritious addition to a warm salad, perhaps with pumpkin, sundried tomatoes, walnuts and spinach. Lightly cooking dandelion leaves removes their bitterness. Bitter herbs are regarded as digestive healers because they activate gastrointestinal juices.
Perhaps it is easy to forget that we are eating the plants and foods of the earth for health, yet, I believe that it is easier to remember daily, the integral part that nature has played and is playing in our lives.
As a qualified Naturopath I have access to the best Herbal extracts in Australia. These liquid extracts are standardised which means that the levels of active compounds are both continuous and within therapeutic ranges. The raw material is tested and again tested during processing and at final product level. A multitude of herbs are available and each one is processed to retain the true active parts in a standard dose preparation. These liquid herbs are a therapeutic tool that can have definite effects on improving and maintaining health. An herbal formula is created for each unique individual based on their specific and current health needs. A medicinal dose of 5-10mL twice or three times per day is a magnificently natural approach to any health problem.
Naturopathic Consultations are Available Mondays to Saturdays at Namaste Naturopathy or Online.
Shairin is a Naturopath and Usui Reiki Master/Teacher with a Bachelor of Health Science in (Complementary and Alternative Medicine and Medical Systems).