Lavender - Very Useful Herb for Depression


Luvandula officinalis Lamiaceae

This small , bush like shrub, the Mediterranean region, growsáto a height of 30-60cm. Its stems arc erect and its leaves are Harrow al/d silvery green. All parts 0f the plant are aromatic, but its .floillers partiwlarly so. The tiny purple floillers appear on spikes in summer.

Parts used

  • Flowers
  • After being gathered between May and June the flowers are dried for use in infusions and capsules or they may be processed to extract the essential oil (essence of lavender).
  • Ointments, creams and gels are made with a base of the essential oil. . Lavender oil is mainly produced in southern France.


Lavender contains an essential oil (fresh flower, 0.1 to 1 per cent; dry flower, 1 to 3 per cent). There are over 40 constituents including linalyl acetate, linalool and terpinene-4-0l.

Medicinal usesá

Lavender is well known for its sedative and calming effects. In 2001 Japanese researchers found that the scent of lavender reduced mentalstress, indicating its use in the treatment of depression, anxiety and tension headaches. It has other valuable properties, such as easing spasms, helping digestion, relieving flatulence and improving the passage of bile. It is believed to help some types of asthma.

Lavender is antiseptic and antibacterial and soothes minor skin infections, insect bites and burns.

Lavender is used in therapeutic baths to treat blood circulation problems and it can ease rheumatic pains as well as lowering fevers


Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender, although many midwives advocate its use during labour.

The essential oil must not be ingested, although small amounts may be applied to the skin for the almost instantaneous relief of minor burns.


Plant seeds in spring in well-drained, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun.


For internal use

TO TREAT nervous agitation INFUSION Put 2-3g of the flowers into a cup of boiling water. Leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes, then strain. Drink 3-4 cups a day between meals.

TO TREAT: minor sleep difficulties
INFUSION (see above) Drink
1 cup just before going to bed. CAPSULES (300mg powder) Take 1 or 2 before going to bed.
TO TREAT digestive problems INFUSION (see above) Drink y, cup twice a day.

For external use

TO TREAT period pains ESSENTIAL OIL Dilute, allowing 3 drops per 10ml of carrier oil, and massage enough of this mixture to cover the lower abdomen and lower back. Apply twice a day.



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