Lavender - Prized Through The Ages



Currently, Lavender is one of the most well-known and most commonly used essential oils in the United States.  This essential oil has a rich history being much loved through the ages. 

Lavender, an herb, is a member of the mint family and is native to the Mediterranean south to Africa and to areas of Asia.  This beautiful herb genus contains more than 35 known varieties.  Depending on the variety, Lavender can range in height from 12 inches tall as with the variety 'Ellagance Sky', Lavandula angustifolia, English Lavender1 to 36 inches tall as with the variety Lavandula × intermedia 'Grosso'2

Most Lavender varieties are prized for their beauty in the garden not for their aromatherapy/naturopathic potential.  Though all Lavender varieties produce essential oil, only a select few produce essential oil in enough quantity and have the unique chemical qualities that are sought-after commercially for aromatherapy/naturopathy.  Several of these favored varieties are; 

  • Lavandula angustifolia (True Lavender or English Lavender) 
  • Lavandula latifolia (Spike Lavender, Broadleaf Lavender or Portuguese Lavender ) 
  • Lavandula stoechas (French Lavender, Spanish Lavender, or Topped Lavender) 
  • Lavandula x intermedia (Lavandin or Hedge Lavender) 

It has long been suggested that Lavender is useful for a myriad of issues including; anxiety, burns, colds, cuts, depression, exhaustion, irritability, headaches/migraines, insomnia, stress, etc.  In the 1563 publication of Reformite Apothek by Gualtherus Ryff, the distilling of very fragrant oil” from Lavender flowers in France is discussed.  Reference to Lavender in early medical experiments can be found in the 1683 publication of Clinical Experiments, Histories and Dissections by Francis Home, M.D.  Today, scientists are studying the efficacy of Lavender essential oils for conditions from; baldness3 to sleeplessness4, antimicrobial effects5 to effects upon the nervous system6, etc.  
  
Throughout the ages this beautiful fragrant plant which most commonly symbolizes love, devotion and purity has been the inspiration for prose and song. It had been the base of local economies and without it the perfume industry would not smell as it does.  Whether you love Lavender in your garden, as a fragrance or for the benefits you receive from its aromatherapy you are in good company.  If you aren’t familiar with this marvelous scent it’s time to delight your nose and spirit. 

  
“My dear, have some lavender, or you’d best have a thimble full of wine-your spirits are quite down, my sweeting.” 
A Beggar on Horseback, John O’Keeffe 1798 
  
  

IMPORTANT: All information provided is for informational/educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to prescribe, treat, prevent or diagnose any disease or condition.
This information is simply the informational/educational opinion of Dragonfly Soap Works. 

  
References 

1 "Lavender 'Ellagance Sky'" - All Other Seeds. Thompson & Morgan, n.d. Web. 05 June 2016.  http://www.thompson-morgan.com/flowers/all-other-seeds-and-plants/shrubs-and-roses/lavandula-angustifolia-ellagance-sky/4509TM 
  
2 "Lavandula × Intermedia 'Grosso' - Plant Finder." Lavandula × Intermedia 'Grosso' - Plant Finder. Missouri Botanical Garnen, n.d. Web. 05 June 2016. 
  
3 Isabelle C. Hay, M., Margaret Jamieson, S., & Anthony D. Ormerod, F. (1998). Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata. JAMA Dermatology, 134(11):1349-1352. 
  
4 Lewith GT, Godfrey AD, Prescott P. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. J Altern Complement Med 2005 Aug;11(4):631-7. 
  
5 Stephanie de Rapper, Guy Kamatou, Alvaro Viljoen, Sandy van Vuuren. The In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil in Combination with Other Aroma-Therapeutic Oils. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 852049. Published online 2013 May 13. doi: 10.1155/2013/852049. 
  
6 Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji. Lavender and the Nervous System. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 681304, 10 pages http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304.

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