The common narrow-leaved variety, English lavender, is an evergreen, shrubby perennial. It grows 1 to 3 feet high, with a short, but irregular, crooked, many-branched stem, covered with a yellowish-gray bark, which comes off in flakes. The gray-green leaves are opposite, sessile, downy, and lanceolate to oblong.
The lilac-colored, tubular flowers are produced in terminating, blunt spikes from the young shoots, on long stems. The spikes are composed of whorls or rings of flowers, each composed of six to ten flowers, the lower whorls more distant from one another. The flowers themselves are very shortly stalked, three to five together in the axils of brown, thin, dry bracts. The calyx is tubular and ribbed, with thirteen veins, purple-gray in color, five-toothed (one tooth being longer than the others) and hairy; shining oil glands among the hairs are visible with a lens. The majority of the essential oil yielded by the flowers is contained in the glands on the calyx. The two-lipped corolla is of a bluish-violet color.
The fine aromatic smell is found in all parts of the shrub, but the essential oil is only produced from the flowers and flower stalks. English lavender is much more aromatic than the French lavender.
Family: Labiatae (Mint family)
Other Names: English Lavender
Flowers: July – September
Parts Used: Flowers & stems
Habitat: Widespread cultivation throughout the area. Lavender is indigenous to the mountainous regions of the countries bordering the western half of the Mediterranean.
Constituents: Linabol, linalyl acetate, lavendulyl acetate, terpinenol, cineole,
camphor, borneol, pinene, limonene, tannins, flavonoids, triterpenoids
Properties: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, tonic.
Main Uses: Lavender is normally taken or used in the form of an oil derived from the flowers by distillation with water. It is used for migraine headache, fainting, dizziness, nausea, and anxiety. It has also been used for pain, convulsions, inflammation, rheumatism, infection, cramps, intestinal gas, scar tissue, fungal infections, nervous disorders, insect bites, and sunburn. Lavender increases bile production, increases urine flow, encourages the growth of skin cells, releases nasal mucous, promotes and regulates menstrual flow, lowers blood pressure, increases perspiration, prevents tissue degeneration, arrests bleeding in wounds, stimulates white blood cells to affect healing, aids circulation, and strengthens the immune system against bacterial infections.Flower water has been used as a skin toner useful for speeding cell renewal and as an antiseptic for acne.
Infusion: Steep 1 teaspoon lavender leaves in 1/2 cup water. Take 1/2 to 1 cup a day. (Note: Gather the leaves before flowering.) Oil: Take 5 drops on a sugar cube, two times a day.
2 cups distilled water
2 oz. vodka
10 to 20 drops essential oil of lavender In a glass jar with a screw-top lid, mix the distilled water and vodka. Add the lavender oil, close, and shake. (Aging will mellow results.) Makes 2-1/2 cups.