Lavender: a Natural Antibiotic and More
Lavender is a Mediterranean shrub grown in Britain as well as Bulgaria, France, Australia and the United States. Lavender is a tough plant and is extremely drought resistant. Its flowers keep their scent when dried and are also edible. If properly cared for, a lavender plant will live up to ten years.
Lavender's HistoryLavender is an herb rich in history and culture. Long prized for its healing properties, written records of the use of lavender for medicinal purposes date back as far as 60AD and the writings of Dioscorides. In ancient Rome lavender was recognized for its healing and antiseptic qualities, its ability to deter insects, and for washing. In fact, its name stems from the Latin "lavare", meaning to wash. In Medieval times lavender crosses were hung from doors to ward off evil and to safeguard against disease. In London, people wore bunches of lavender tied to their wrists to protect them from the Plague. During the First World War, when modern antibiotics were sparse, lavender was used to dress wounds and helped to heal scar tissue and burns. Since then lavender has continued to be popular, and not only for medicinal purposes.
Lavender's Antibiotic PropertiesLavender is renowned for its antibiotic properties. Studies have shown that the essential oil of lavender, particularly when combined with Geranium oil, is capable of killing some Staph infections. Other studies have reported that lavender is good for treating ear infections, and is mild enough to treat such symptoms in children. Recently, four new chemicals have been isolated from lavender plants, and are believed to be beneficial for the treatment of candida. There is ongoing research into these four substances.
Lavender's Other UsesLavender's essential oils have been used for perfumes for centuries, not only does it have a refreshing aroma, it is also a tonic for the nerves and eases tension headaches. It is also often used dried in sachets and pomanders and placed inside wardrobes and dressers, not just for its aroma, but also because it is antiseptic and antibacterial and deters mosquitoes and moths. Lavender was one of the three herbs that the pilgrims brought to America with them to protect their health, and its properties are still valued today to treat a variety of ailments.
Anxiety, stress, tension headaches;Lavender tea (infusion) may be made from the dried flowers, 1 1/2 tsp. flowers to 8oz.water. This can be drunk up to 4 times a day for nervous exhaustion, depression, tension headache, indigestion and as a relaxant during labour.