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Lavender LAVENDER  
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Botanical:  Lavandula officinalis (also known as Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula vera)
Family:   Lamiaceae/Labiatae (mint)
Other common names:  English Lavender, Fleurs de Lavande, Lavanda, Lavandin (Dutch)

The essential oils in Lavender soothe headaches, calm nerves, ease depression, dizziness and stress, and will even combat halitosis.  Lavender's antibacterial properties work to combat bacteria in the intestines, and it is also considered an antiviral, antiseptic and antifungal, working against yeast infections, diphtheria, typhoid, staph, strep and many flu viruses.  Moreover, it is an effective tonic that improves intestinal health.  This fragrant herb is a must for every home.

The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Lavender is a shrubby, flowering perennial that is indigenous to the mountainous regions of the western Mediterranean and is cultivated extensively for its aromatic flowers and many medicinal applications throughout Europe, the United States and Australia.  There are many species of Lavender grown in Europe that are used with similar applications; and interestingly, when English Lavender (Lavandula officinalis/Lavandula angustifolia)  is grown in France, it is often traded as French Lavender, but French Lavender is a different species (Lavandula dentata).  The plant grows to about two or three feet in height.  Lavender was widely used in ancient Egypt for its splendid fragrance, and it was also a favorite in the homes of Greeks and Romans.  Even its name is derived from the Latin verb, lavare, meaning "to wash," because the leaves and flowers of Lavender were used in their scented baths.  In Arab medicine, Lavender was used as an expectorant and antispasmodic, while European folk medicine regarded it as essential for healing wounds and as a worm remedy for children.  Traditional herbalists used it to treat conditions of the nervous system, and even the hard-working Queen Elizabeth I took it with sugar to ease tension.  In the Middle Ages, Lavender was a popular "strewing herb," not only for its fragrance, but also for its insect repellent properties.  In France, the town of Grasse used Lavender in their glove-tanning process, and when the town remained remarkably free of plague, it encouraged people elsewhere to carry the herb to ward off pestilence.  Before World War II, Lavender was used as a topical antiseptic dressing for wounds, and in the days when corsets were the fashion, ladies would tuck some Lavender oil in a bottle around their necks to revive them when they were feeling faint.  This fragrant plant is famous for its exquisite aroma, which is much used in the perfume and cosmetics industry.  It is also widely used medicinally and is a staple of aromatherapy to promote relaxation.  Lavender's many constituents include essential oils, tannins, coumarins, flavonoids and triterpenoids.

Beneficial Uses:
Lavender has been used for centuries as a tonic to ease conditions of the nervous system.  It is a relaxant that calms nerves, relieves fatigue, depression, migraine and tension headaches, nervous exhaustion, irritability and excitement.

The essential oils in Lavender act as a mild sedative on the heart and may be effective in lowering blood pressure.

Lavender is used to promote good digestion.  It has a mild sedative effect that is used to calm the digestive tract, ease colic, nausea, vomiting, indigestion and other stomach problems.   The herb is considered a "carminative" which will reduce flatulence and relieve a "gassy" stomach.

Lavender is an effective tonic that works to improve intestinal health.  As a "cholagogue," it is thought to stimulate the flow of bile from the liver to the intestines, and its antibacterial properties are useful in combating putrefactive bacteria in the intestines.  Lavender's antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antiseptic properties are thought to inhibit the activity of yeast infections, diphtheria, typhoid, staph, strep and many flu viruses.

Used externally, Lavender may be added to a sachet, which will repel insects and create a pleasant fragrance to relax the nerves and possibly help to avoid dizziness and fainting.  Applied topically, the essential oils in Lavender act as an antiseptic and painkiller, helping to relieve insect bites and stings, skin diseases, such as eczema and psoriasis, and minor burns.  It is also makes a fine herbal mouthwash.  Added to bathwater, Lavender calms irritable children and relaxes adults, and mixed with water, it makes a fragrant hair rinse.

Lavender has also been called an herbal diuretic, but efficacy s has not been established.

Pregnant women should avoid taking Lavender Herbal Supplement internally, as it may stimulate uterine contractions.  Excessive use of this product (many times the recommended dosage) may cause drowsiness.  Rare side effects have included constipation, skin rash, headache or nausea.  Because Lavender contains plant coumarins (natural blood thinners), Lavender may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding, i.e., aspirin, warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, clopidogrel (Plavix®) and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

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