Better Gardening Club – All about Lavender.

One of my most favorite plants is Lavender, i like the colors and the (sometimes) overwhelming fragrance .Lavender is used in all kinds of perfumes,essential oils,alternative medicin,soap etc. As a florist one of favorite things to do is making wreath’s of Lavender, my customers loved it and so did i.

That lovely group of lavender blossoms can do more than look pretty. For centuries lavender has been used to calm nerves, eliminate insomnia and headaches, and reduce gastrointestinal ills. And during this century and the last, there have been more dramatic medicinal uses discovered with lavender, including balancing menopause symptoms.

Provence, France provides the most abundant source of lavender. It’s obvious many of the French Impressionists were influenced by the colors these lavender flowers displayed in the rows and rows of rolling hills where they were cultivated.

There are almost forty species of lavender. The most used and studied is common or English lavender, Lavandula angustifolia or L. angustifolia. Until the turn of the 20th Century, lavender’s use was relegated to mild medical applications and cosmetic use.

That changed abruptly around 1900 when a French chemist, Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, burned his hand while working in the lab. Rene-Maurice immediately thrust his burnt hand into a vat of lavender oil. He noticed an immediate relief from the pain, and his hand healed more quickly than expected without permanent skin damage.

A bit later, another Frenchman, army surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet was forced to use lavender to replace limited medical supplies during WW I. He found it worked for reducing pain and curing burns while preventing infections.

Today, there are some French hospitals still using lavender for treating burns. Some naturalists recommend not using lavender oil, or any oil, for third degree burns. But everyone agrees lavender oil is excellent for treating first and second degree burns.

For this reason alone, it’s wise to keep some high quality lavender oil in your home. One source recommends lavender extra , lavandula officinalis or L. officinalis, mixed with some aloe vera for burns. But all lavender essential oils have similar characteristics.

MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, is an infection caused by a strain of staphylococcus or staph bacteria that’s become resistant to the antibiotics commonly used for treating ordinary staph infections.

MRSA started becoming epidemic in hospitals where antibiotics were overused, allowing staph bacteria to develop a resistance. This was known as Hospital Associated MRSA or HA MRSA. That developed into Community Associated MRSA or CA MRSA.

This phenomenon raised serious concerns as untreated staph can be fatal if the bacteria passes from outer skin into the body. Staph is usually transmitted by skin contact. Lavender has proven to be successful with eliminating MRSA in numerous lab tests. But lots of luck getting the AMA to go along with this. Some herbalists recommend spike lavender, Lavandula latifolia or L. latifolia, for serious application purposes since it is considered the most medicinal of all lavender flowers and essential oils.

You can use lavender oils or teas for a wide variety of ailments. It is often used topically or as an aromatherapy agent. Sometimes it can be consumed as a tea.

Lavender is a broad spectrum anti-biotic and anti-fungal. It has been used successfully for vaginal Candida. As an aromatherapy agent or tea, it can be used to calm jangled nerves, relieve insomnia, eliminate headaches and skin infections, and relieve menopause symptoms.

Other than an occasional allergic reaction, there are no known side effects or adverse reactions. And there are no known serious contraindications or interactions using lavender with any other herb or pharmaceutical medicine.

It’s not a bad idea to have some in your kitchen pantry or medicine cabinet.

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