Lavender Continued I Herbal medicine

Lavandula angustifolia. Part used: flowers. An age-old remedy for calming and soothing the nerves, improving mood and relaxing muscles, beautifully scented lavender and its essential oil are commonly used for inducing a restful sleep, relieving depression and anxiety and for other disorders relating to a nervous or tense state, including stomach upsets.

Lavender flowers can be taken as an infusion or added to a bath to soothe and aid in relaxation. Apply undiluted essential oil to relieve the sting of insect bites or to prevent cuts and grazes from becoming infected. You can add essential oil to massage oil to help relieve muscle tension and headaches.

For the safe and appropriate internal use of lavender, consult your healthcare professional. For its topical uses, see Depression and anxiety, page 211, and First aid, page220. Do not use lavender if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, except under professional supervision.

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Reputed to have been brought from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve. lavender has a history that is almost as old as humankind itself. The ancient Egyptians dipped shrouds in lavender water, while the Romans scented their public balhs with it - hence its name, from the Latin word lnvarc. meaning 'to wash.' Under its biblical name 'spikenard.' ii was popularly supposed to have been used by the Virgin Mary to perfume Jesus's swaddling clothes, by Mary Magdalene to anoint Jesus's feet, and was also favoured in I he Middle Ages b> apothecary monks, who used it to treat everything from labour pains to demonic possession.

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