Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a long history of use as a remedy to ease nervous disorders, as well as to heal burns and skin lacerations. The fragrant plant can also soothe a headache and help with respiratory problems caused by influenza or a common cold.

Lavender has a mild fungicide and antibacterial and antiviral effect, and in modern phytotherapy the essential oil distilled from lavender blossoms and leaves is used to treat small burns, abscesses, dermatomycosis, and slow-healing wounds. Applied internally by ingesting a few drops of essential lavender oil, lavender acts as an antispasmodic and mild tranquilizer.


Lavender in Modern Herbal Medicine:

  • The Cochrane network of researchers and medical professionals found that lavender essential oil may reduce lower back pains, though the quality of studies available is insufficient and further research is needed.
  • The European Medicines Agency summarizes the resuls the Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) found on the effects of lavender essential oil.
  • The German Kooperation Phytopharmaka lists the herb as a recognized medicinal plant.

Lavender in Fiction:

  • Lavender is often found in regency romances as a headache remedy or general soothing potion, for example in Georgette Heyer's novel Lady of Quality.

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Remedies from Regency Romances: Lavender Water

Lavender is a very old household remedy, used for everything from perfuming linen to cleansing the air in a sickroom. The herb contains essential oils, which give it its characteristic fragrance.  Lavender essential oil, like most essential oils, has antibiotic and antiviral properties, and it works as an anti-inflammatory and soothing agent when applied to skin injuries and burns. Inhaled, lavender's fragrance can soothe a headache away as well as calm anxieties and promote a good night's sleep.

Lavender water, either in the form of a tisane or as a hydrolate, which is a by-product of the distillation process in which lavender essential oil is produced, has many of the same healing properties as the herb's essential oil. Historically, lavender water was often used in sickrooms, both to cleanse the air and to comfort the sufferer, as described in the following snippet from Georgette Heyer's novel "Lady of Quality". Lady Annis has contracted influenza, and is being tended by her old nurse:


"Do you lie quiet now till I come back, and don't get into the high fidgets, fancying the house will fall down just because you're knocked up with all the trouble you've had, and mean to recruit your strength by staying in bed today, because it won't!" She sprinkled lavender-water lavishly over the pillow, drenched a handkerchief with it, which she tenderly wiped across Miss Wychwood's burning forehead, assured her that she would be as right as a trivet before the cat had time to lick her ear, and hurried away, first to send the page-boy scurrying down the hill with an urgent message to Dr. Tidmarsh, and then to inform Lady Wychwood, who had not yet left her room, that Miss Annis was laid up, and that she had sent for the doctor. "I don't doubt it's nothing worse than the influenza, my lady, but she's in a raging fever!" she said bluntly.

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 *** Please note: This blog is not intended as medical advice. ***

Do not try this at home.
(Or at least, don't use any of the remedies described here this without consulting your physician first.)