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Diplotaxis tenuifolia

Botanical Name: Diplotaxis tenuifolia
Family: Brassicaceae
Genus: Diplotaxis
Species: D. tenuifolia
Kingdom:Plantae
Order: Brassicales

Synonyms : Brassica tenuifolia, Sisymbrium tenuifolium,

Common Names:Wall Mustard, Perennial wall-rocket, wild rocket, sand rocket, Lincoln weed, white rocket; seeds sometimes marketed as “wild Italian arugula” or “sylvetta arugula”

Habitat :Diplotaxis tenuifolia is native to Southern and central Europe, possibly including Britain. It grows on old walls and waste places in S. England, a casual further north. This plant is doubtfully native in Britain.
Description:
Diplotaxis tenuifolia is an erect mustard-like perennial plant with branching stems that may exceed half a meter in height. It grows in clumps on the ground in a variety of habitats and is a common weed of roadsides and disturbed areas. It has long leaves which may be lobed or not. The foliage is aromatic when crushed. Atop the branches of the stem are bright yellow flowers with four rounded petals each about a centimeter long. The fruit is a straight, flat silique up to five centimeters long.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES
It is in flower from May to September, and the seeds ripen from Jun to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
See the plants native habitat for ideas on its cultivation needs.

Propagation:
Seed – best sown in situ as soon as it is ripe, though it can also be sown in situ in the spring. The seed usually germinates in the autumn.
Edible Uses:
Leaves – raw. Used in salads, they are very strongly flavoured of cress. The leaves have a hot flavour, very similar to rocket (Eruca vesicaria sativa) but more strongly flavoured – they make an excellent addition to a mixed salad but are too strong to be used in quantity on their own. The plant is very productive, producing leaves from early spring until the autumn.

Medicinal Uses:
Like other members of the Cruciferae this plant contains sulphuraed glucosides, and the juice of the fresh plant may be drunk as an expectorant to aid catarrh. The leaves have stimulant, diuretic, antiscorbutic and revulsant properties.

One of Trotula‘s works, Treatments for Women mentions “wild rocket cooked in wine” in a remedy for sanious flux in women.

Cancer:
D. tenuifolia inhibited the growth of HT-29 colorectal cancer cells with a marked cytotoxicity. Isothiocyanates and indoles have, in fact, been linked to anticarcinogenicity in mammals.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.

Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diplotaxis_tenuifolia
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Diplotaxis+tenuifolia
http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_UZ.htm

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Dipteryx odorata

Botanical Name : Dipteryx odorata
Family: Fabaceae
Genus: Dipteryx
Species: D. odorata
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Fabales

Synonyms: Tonka Bean. Coumarouna odorata.

Common Name: Tonquin Bean, “cumaru” or “kumaru

Habitat: Dipteryx odorata is native to Central America and northern South America.It is a forest tree.
Description:
Dipteryx odorata is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to the Orinoco region of northern South America. Its seeds are known as Tonka Beans. They are black and wrinkled and have a smooth brown interior. Their fragrance is reminiscent of vanilla, almonds, cinnamon, and cloves. The tree itself grows up to 25–30 meters, with a trunk of up to one meter in diameter. The tree bark is smooth and gray, whereas the wood is red. The tree has alternate pinnate leaves with three to six leaflets, leathery, glossy and dark green, and pink flowers. Each developed fruit contains one seed. D. odorata is pollinated by insects. The worst pests are the bats because they eat the pulpy flesh of the fruit. A few known fungi may cause problems: Anthostomella abdita, Diatrype ruficarnis, Macrophoma calvuligera and Myiocopron cubense.

CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :

-The odour of coumarin, which distinguishes the Tonka Bean, is found in many plants, especially in Melilotus, sweet vernal grass, and related grasses.

One pound of the beans has yielded 108 grains of coumarin, which is the anhydride of coumaric acid. In addition to its use in perfurnery as a fixative, coumarin is used to flavour castor-oil and to disguise the odour of iodoform.

The fatty substance of the beans is sold in Holland as Tonquin butter.

Cultivation:
Today, the main producers of tonka beans are Venezuela and Nigeria. The cumaru tree is an emergent plant, and a light-demanding calcifuge tree which grows on poor, well drained soils. The best growth is reached on fertile soils rich in humus. In the native region there is a mean annual temperature of 25°C and about 2000 mm rainfall per year with a dry season from June to November. In general, it has a very low plant density, but depending on the agricultural use, the density and the age of the trees diversify. In seed production systems, the plant density is higher and the trees are older than in timber production systems. The tree flowers from March to May, and the fruits ripen from June to July. So, the fresh fruits are picked up in June and July, and fallen pods are harvested from January to March or sometimes earlier. The hard outer shell is removed and the beans are spread out for 2–3 days to dry, after which they can be sold. The major producer is Venezuela, followed by Brazil and Colombia. The most important importing country is the United States, where it is used especially in the tobacco industry

Part Used: Seeds.

Constituents: The tonka seed contains coumarin, a chemical isolate from this plant, which also gave the name to it. The seeds contain about 1 to 3% of coumarin, rarely it can achieve 10%. Coumarin is responsible for the pleasant odor of the seeds and is used in the perfume industry. Coumarin is bitter to the taste, however, and, in large infused doses, it may cause hemorrhage and liver damage, as well as it can paralyze the heart. It is therefore controlled as a food additive by many governments. Like a number of other plants, the tonka bean plant probably produces coumarin as a defense chemical. Radio-carbon dating of D. odorata stumps left by a large logging operation near Manaus by Niro Higuchi, Jeffrey Chambers, and Joshua Schimel, showed that it was one of around 100 species which definitely live to over 1,000 years. Until their research, it had been assumed unlikely that any Amazonian tree could live to old age due to the conditions of the rain forest.

Medicinal Uses:
Aromatic, cardiac, tonic, narcotic. The fluid extract has been used with advantage in whooping cough, but it paralyses the heart if used in large doses.

Herbal and Mythological Properties:
In the Pagan and Occult communities the Tonka Bean is considered to have magical properties and uses. One who practices magical arts believe that by crushing a Tonka Bean and steeping it in an herbal brew or tea it will help cure ailments of depression, disorientation, confusion, and suicidal behavior, as well as boosting the immune system.

It is also believed by some practitioners of various occult traditions that Tonka Beans can grant or help one’ fulfill desires and wishes by using the bean in a variety of methods. Such methods include holding the bean in your hand while whispering your wish or desire then carrying it with you until your wish or desire is fulfilled, then burying the bean afterwards; another common method is by making your wish with the bean in your hand then stomping on it afterwards. Other methods include making your wish then planting it in fertile earth, when and as the plant grows so does your wish so become fulfilled.

Other Uses:
Tonka Beans had been used as a vanilla substitute, as a perfume, and in tobacco before being banned in some countries. They are used in some French cuisine (particularly, in desserts and stews) and in perfumes. Today, main producers of the seeds are Venezuela and Nigeria.

Its use in food is banned in the United States by the Food and Drug Administration. Many anticoagulant prescription drugs, such as warfarin, are based on 4-hydroxycoumarin, a chemical derivative of coumarin initially isolated from this bean. Coumarin itself, however, does not have anticoagulant properties.

The beans were formerly also spelled “Tonquin” and “Tonkin”, although it has no connection with Tonkin, now part of Vietnam.

Soap companies, like Lush, are using Tonka as part of a vanilla smelling soap product. Thorntons has produced a variety of milk chocolate made with tonka-infused cocoa butter, winning the Academy of Chocolate’s Silver Award in 2009.[5]

Tonquin is still used today to flavor some pipe tobaccos like Dunhill Royal Yacht and Samuel Gawith 1792 Flake.

Cumaru, also known as Brazilian Teak, is an increasingly popular hardwood used for flooring in the US. It has a very appealing natural color variation and is considered quite durable as it has a 3540 rating on the Janka Hardness Scale.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dipteryx_odorata
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/t/tonqbe24.html
http://www.theplantencyclopedia.org/wiki/Dipteryx_odorata

Digitalis purpurea

Botanical Name: Digitalis purpurea
Family: Plantaginaceae
Genus: Digitalis
Species: D. purpurea
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales

Synonyms: Witches’ Gloves. Dead Men’s Bells. Fairy’s Glove. Gloves of Our Lady. Bloody Fingers. Virgin’s Glove. Fairy Caps. Folk’s Glove. Fairy Thimbles.
(Norwegian) Revbielde.
(German) Fingerhut.

Common Names: Foxglove, Common foxglove, Purple foxglove or Lady’s glove

Habitat: Digitalis purpurea is native and widespread throughout most of temperate Europe. It is also naturalised in parts of North America and some other temperate regions. The plants are well known as the original source of the heart medicine digoxin (also called digitalis or digitalin) It flourishes best in siliceous soil and grows well in loam, but is entirely absent from some calcareous districts, such as the chain of the Jura, and is also not found in the Swiss Alps. It occurs in Madeira and the Azores, but is, perhaps, introduced there. The genus contains only this one indigenous species, though several are found on the Continent.

Needing little soil, it is found often in the crevices of granite walls, as well as in dry hilly pastures, rocky places and by roadsides. Seedling Foxgloves spring up rapidly from recently-turned earth. Turner (1548), says that it grows round rabbitholes freely.
Description:
Digitalis purpurea is an herbaceous biennial or short-lived perennial plant. The leaves are spirally arranged, simple, 10–35 cm long and 5–12 cm broad, and are covered with gray-white pubescent and glandular hairs, imparting a woolly texture. The foliage forms a tight rosette at ground level in the first year.

The flowering stem develops in the second year, typically 1 to 2 m tall, sometimes longer. The flowers are arranged in a showy, terminal, elongated cluster, and each flower is tubular and pendent. The flowers are typically purple, but some plants, especially those under cultivation, may be pink, rose, yellow, or white. The inside surface of the flower tube is heavily spotted. The flowering period is early summer, sometimes with additional flower stems developing later in the season. The plant is frequented by bees, which climb right inside the flower tube to gain the nectar within….….click & see the pictures

The fruit is a capsule which splits open at maturity to release the numerous tiny (0.1-0.2 mm) seeds.

Cultivation:
The plant is popular as a garden subject, and numerous cultivars have been developed with a range of colours from white through pink to purple, such as “Dalmatian Purple”. Cultivated forms often show flowers completely surrounding the central spike, in contrast to the wild form, where the flowers only appear on one side. D. purpurea is easily grown from seed or purchased as potted plants in the spring.

Propagation: Seed – surface sow early spring in a cold frame. The seed usually germinates in 2 – 4 weeks at 20°c[175]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. If you have sufficient seed it can be sown outdoors in situ in the spring or autumn

Part Used in medicines: The Leaves.
Medicinal Uses:
Digitalis has been used from early times in heart cases. It increases the activity of all forms of muscle tissue, but more especially that of the heart and arterioles, the all-important property of the drug being its action on the circulation. The first consequence of its absorption is a contraction of the heart and arteries, causing a very high rise in the blood pressure.

After the taking of a moderate dose, the pulse is markedly slowed. Digitalis also causes an irregular pulse to become regular. Added to the greater force of cardiac contraction is a permanent tonic contraction of the organ, so that its internal capacity is reduced, which is a beneficial effect in cases of cardiac dilatation, and it improves the nutrition of the heart by increasing the amount of blood.

In ordinary conditions it takes about twelve hours or more before its effects on the heart muscle is appreciated, and it must thus always be combined with other remedies to tide the patient over this period and never prescribed in large doses at first, as some patients are unable to take it, the drug being apt to cause considerable digestive disturbances, varying in different cases. This action is probably due to the Digitonin, an undesirable constituent.

The action of the drug on the kidneys is of importance only second to its action on the circulation. In small or moderate doses, it is a powerful diuretic and a valuable remedy in dropsy, especially when this is connected with affections of the heart.

It has also been employed in the treatment of internal haemorrhage, in inflammatory diseases, in delirium tremens, in epilepsy, in acute mania and various other diseases, with real or supposed benefits.

The action of Digitalis in all the forms in which it is administered should be carefully watched, and when given over a prolonged period it should be employed with caution, as it is liable to accumulate in the system and to manifest its presence all at once by its poisonous action, indicated by the pulse becoming irregular, the blood-pressure low and gastro-intestinal irritation setting in. The constant use of Digitalis, also, by increasing the activity of the heart, leads to hypertrophy of that organ.

Digitalis is an excellent antidote in Aconite poisoning, given as a hypodermic injection.

Digoxigenin (DIG) is a steroid found exclusively in the flowers and leaves of the plants Digitalis purpurea and Digitalis lanata. It is used as a molecular probe to detect DNA or RNA. It can easily be attached to nucleotides by chemical modifications. DIG molecules are often linked to uridine nucleotides; DIG-labeled uridine (DIG-U) can then be incorporated into RNA probes via in vitro transcription. Once hybridisation occurs in situ, RNA probes with the incorporated DIG-U can be detected with anti-DIG antibodies conjugated to alkaline phosphatase. To reveal the hybridised transcripts, alkaline phosphatase can be reacted with a chromogen to produce a coloured precipitate.

Other Uses: Dye;  Preservative…..An infusion of the plant prolongs the life of cut flowers. Root crops growing near this plant store better.   An apple-green dye is obtained from the flowers.

Known Hazards:
Due to the presence of the cardiac glycoside digitoxin, the leaves, flowers and seeds of this plant are all poisonous to humans and some animals and can be fatal if ingested.

Extracted from the leaves, this same compound, whose clinical use was pioneered as digitalis by William Withering, is used as a medication for heart failure. He recognized it “reduced dropsy”, increased urine flow and had a powerful effect on the heart. Unlike the purified pharmacological forms, extracts of this plant did not frequently cause intoxication because they induced nausea and vomiting within minutes of ingestion, preventing the patient from consuming more.

The main toxins in Digitalis spp. are the two chemically similar cardiac glycosides: digitoxin and digoxin. Like other cardiac glycosides, these toxins exert their effects by inhibiting the ATPase activity of a complex of transmembrane proteins that form the sodium potassium ATPase pump, (Na+/K+-ATPase). Inhibition of the Na+/K+-ATPase in turn causes a rise not only in intracellular Na+, but also in calcium, which in turn results in increased force of myocardial muscle contractions. In other words, at precisely the right dosage, Digitalis toxin can cause the heart to beat more strongly. However, digitoxin, digoxin and several other cardiac glycosides, such as ouabain, are known to have steep dose-response curves, i.e., minute increases in the dosage of these drugs can make the difference between an ineffective dose and a fatal one.

Symptoms of Digitalis poisoning include a low pulse rate, nausea, vomiting, and uncoordinated contractions of different parts of the heart, leading to cardiac arrest and finally death.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digitalis_purpurea
http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/foxglo30.html

Lavender.

Botanical Name :Lavandula spp
Family: Lamiaceae
Subfamily: Nepetoideae
Tribe: Lavanduleae
Genus: Lavandula
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Lamiales
Syn.  : Lavandula angustifolia,   :Lavandula  officinalis

Common name : Lavender.

L. stoechas, L. pedunculata and L. dentata were known in Roman times. From the Middle Ages onwards, the European species were considered two separate groups or genera, Stoechas (L. stoechas, L. pedunculata, L. dentata) and Lavandula (L. spica and L. latifolia), until Linnaeus combined them. He only recognised five species in Species Plantarum (1753), L. multifida and L. dentata (Spain) and L. stoechas and L. spica from Southern Europe. L. pedunculata was included within L. stoechas.

By 1790 L. pinnata and L. carnosa were recognised. The latter was subsequently transferred to Anisochilus. By 1826 Frédéric Charles Jean Gingins de la Sarraz listed 12 species in three sections, and by 1848 eighteen species were known.

One of the first modern major classifications was that of Dorothy Chaytor in 1937 at Kew. The six sections she proposed for 28 species still left many intermediates that could not easily be assigned. Her sections included Stoechas, Spica, Subnudae, Pterostoechas, Chaetostachys and Dentatae. However all the major cultivated and commercial forms resided in the Stoechas and Spica sections. There were four species within Stoechas (Lavandula stoechas, L. dentata, L. viridis and L. pedunculata) while Spica had three (L. officinalis (now L. angustifolia), L. latifolia and L. lanata). She believed that the garden varieties were hybrids between true lavender L. angustifolia and spike lavender (L. latifolia).

More recently work has been done by Upson and Andrews, and currently Lavandula is considered to have three subgenera.
Subgenus Lavandula is mainly of woody shrubs with entire leaves. It contains the principal species grown as ornamental plants and for oils. They are found across the Mediterranean region to northeast Africa and western Arabia.
Subgenus Fabricia consists of shrubs and herbs, and it has a wide distribution from the Atlantic to India. It contains some ornamental plants.
Subgenus Sabaudia constitutes two species in the southwest Arabian peninsula and Eritrea, which are rather distinct from the other species, and are sometimes placed in their own genus Sabaudia.

In addition there are numerous hybrids and cultivars in commercial and horticultural usage

Habitat :Lavender is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, southern Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants for garden and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oils. The most widely cultivated species, Lavandula angustifolia is often referred to as lavender, and there is a colour named for the shade of the flowers of this species.

Description:
Lavender is an annual or short-lived herbaceous perennial plant, and suffrutescent perennials, subshrubs or small shrubs.

Leaf shape is diverse across the genus. They are simple in some commonly cultivated species; in others they are pinnately toothed, or pinnate, sometimes multiple pinnate and dissected. In most species the leaves are covered in fine hairs or indumentum, which normally contain the essential oils.

click to see the pictures……>.……(01)...(1)...(2).…..(3).…(4)..…...(5).....(6)

Flowers are borne in whorls, held on spikes rising above the foliage, the spikes being branched in some species. Some species produce coloured bracts at the apices. The flowers may be blue, violet or lilac in the wild species, occasionally blackish purple or yellowish. The calyx is tubular. The corolla is also tubular, usually with five lobes (the upper lip often cleft, and the lower lip has two clefts).

Cultivation:
The most common form in cultivation is the common or English lavender Lavandula angustifolia (formerly named L. officinalis). A wide range of cultivars can be found. Other commonly grown ornamental species are L. stoechas, L. dentata, and L. multifida (Egyptian lavender).

Because the cultivated forms are planted in gardens worldwide, they are occasionally found growing wild as garden escapes, well beyond their natural range. Commonly such adventitious establishment is apparently harmless at best, but in some cases Lavandula species have become invasive; for example, in Australia Lavandula stoechas has become a cause for concern; it occurs widely throughout the continent, and has been declared a noxious weed in Victoria since 1920.  It also is regarded as a weed in parts of Spain.

Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun.[10] All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation. In areas of high humidity, root rot due to fungus infection can be a problem. Organic mulches can trap moisture around the plants’ bases, encouraging root rot. Gravelly materials such as crushed rocks give better results

Edible Uses:
It is grown as a condiment and used in salads and dressings.  Flowers yield abundant nectar from which bees make a high-quality honey. Monofloral honey is produced primarily around the Mediterranean, and is marketed worldwide as a premium product. Flowers can be candied and are sometimes used as cake decorations. Lavender flavours baked goods and desserts (it pairs especially well with chocolate), and is also used to make “lavender sugar”. Lavender flowers are occasionally blended with black or green teas, or made into tisanes.

click to see

Though it has many other traditional uses in southern France, lavender is not used in traditional southern French cooking. It does not appear at all in the best-known compendium of Provençal cooking, J.-B. Reboul’s Cuisinière Provençale In the 1970s, a herb blend called herbes de Provence usually including lavender was invented by spice wholesalers, and lavender has more recently become popular in cookery.

Lavender lends a floral and slightly sweet flavour to most dishes, and is sometimes paired with sheep’s-milk and goat’s-milk cheeses. For most cooking applications the dried buds (also referred to as flowers) are used, though some chefs experiment with the leaves as well. Only the buds contain the essential oil of lavender, from which the scent and flavour of lavender are best derived.

In the United States, both lavender syrup and dried lavender buds are used to make lavender scones and marshmallows.

Parts Used: Flowers, leaves and stems

Constituents:  volatile oil (up to 1.5%, containing linabol, linalyl acetate, lavendulyl acetate, terpinenol, cineole, camphor, borneol, pinene, limonene), tannins, coumarins (coumarin, umbelliferone, hemiarin), flavonoids, triterpenoids, rosmarinic acid

Medicinal Uses:
Acne * Air Fresheners * Anxiety * Aromatherapy * Beauty * Burns * Candida/yeast * Children * Colds * Culinary/Kitchen * Cuts & Wounds * Depression * Ear * Facial Care * Fibromyalgia * Headache/Migraine * Hypertension * IBS * Insect Repellent * Insect/flea Bites * Lice * Lupus * Nausea * Pet * Pregnancy/Childbirth * Skin Care * Sleep/Insomnia

Properties: * Analgesic * AntiCancer * Antifungal * Antioxidant * Antiperspirant/Deodorants * Antirheumatic * AntiViral * Aromatic * Cardiac tonic Cordial * Cholagogue * Cicatrisant * Cytophylactic * Diaphoretic/sudorific * Diuretic * Emmenagogue * Hypotensive * Insect repellents * Muscle Relaxant * Nervine * Parturient * Sedative * Splenic * Vermifuge * Vulnerary

The essential oil was used in hospitals during World War I.

Lavender has some powerful properties for such a gentle, sweet smelling flower. Lavender can lift your spirits, help you sleep, relieve pain, kill germs, heal burns and rashes, and help keep annoying insects at bay.

In the evening lavender comes into its own, the relaxing and sedative aroma of lavender has an almost immediate effect as soon as it hits the sensitive membranes inside your nose.  Duke, 138-139  Soaking in a lavender scented bath relaxes away mild depression and anxiety and may even lower high blood pressure.  129  Regular lavender baths are recommended throughout a woman’s pregnancy.  Gladstar, 36

Clinical trials confirm the conventional wisdom that lavender relaxes the body in the presence of pain, most likely by reducing anxiety levels. A calm mental state makes pain more bearable, lessening it’s impact by reducing the perception of pain. 130,131 Massage with lavender oil at tender trigger points reduces the pain and tension of fibromyalgia in long term sufferers. Weed 51  Lavender combines well with the analgesic power of rosemary to relieve all types of pain: arthritis, sore muscles, and nerve pain. Lavender can also be used in a massage oil to relieve the pain and arthritic stiffness older dogs, (but not cats). Worwood 173

Lavender is well regarded for it’s skin healing properties as well. It’s effectiveness in treating burns was first discovered by French biochemist René Gattefossé when he cooled his hand in a handy vat of lavender after burning it in a lab accident. This storied burn healed so quickly, and without scarring, that it is often cited as a seminal event in the birth a modern aromatherapy.  Balch 89  To make a all purpose remedy for scalds, burns, and sunburns: apply a cloth wet with witch hazel, then apply a few drops of lavender essential oil directly to the burn.

A recent clinical study investigated anxiolytic effects and influence on sleep quality. Lavender oil with a high percentage of linalool and linalyl acetate, in the form of capsules, was generally well tolerated. It showed meaningful efficacy in alleviating anxiety and related sleep disturbances.

Lavender may be very effective with wounds; however, Lavender Honey (created from bees feeding on lavender plants), instead of lavender essential oil has the best effects of uninfected wounds.

Other Uses:
Flower spikes are used for dried flower arrangements. The fragrant, pale purple flowers and flower buds are used in potpourris. Lavender is also used extensively as herbal filler inside sachets used to freshen linens. Dried and sealed in pouches, lavender flowers are placed among stored items of clothing to give a fresh fragrance and to deter moths. Dried lavender flowers have become recently popular for wedding confetti. Lavender is also popular in scented waters and sachets.

The ancient Greeks called the lavender herb nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda (possibly the modern town of Dohuk, Iraq). It was also commonly called nard. The species originally grown was L. stoechas.

Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard is mentioned in the Song of Solomon

*nard and saffron,
*calamus and cinnamon,
*with every kind of incense tree,
*with myrrh and aloes,
*and all the finest spices.

During Roman times, flowers were sold for 100 denarii per pound, which was about the same as a month’s wages for a farm laborer, or fifty haircuts from the local barber. Its late Latin name was lavand?rius, from lavanda (things to be washed), from the verb lav?re (to wash). The Greeks discovered early on that lavender if crushed and treated correctly would release a relaxing fume when burned.

In medieval times powdered lavender was used as a condiment.

In the past, lavender has been used as a folk remedy for numerous conditions, including acne, cancer, colic, faintness, flatulence, giddiness, migraine, nausea, neuralgia, nervous headache, nervous palpitations, poor appetite, pimples, rheumatism, sores, spasms, sprains, toothache, vomiting and worms.  Lavender salts have been employed for centuries as a stimulant to prevent fainting; lavender oil vapor is traditionally inhaled to prevent vertigo and fainting. A compound tincture of lavender (also known as Palsy Drops) was officially recognized by the British Pharmacopoeia for over 200 years, until the 1940s.  Used to relieve muscle spasms, nervousness, and headaches, it originally contained over 30 ingredients.  Tests show that lavender’s essential oil is a potent ally in destroying a wide range of bacterial infections, including staph, strep, pneumonia, and most flu viruses. It is also strongly anti-fungal.  A lavender-flower douche is an effective treatment for vaginal infections, especially candida-type yeast infections.  Lavender ointments are rubbed into burns, bruises, varicose veins, and other skin injuries.  The straight oil is dabbed on stops the itching of insect bites.

Known Hazards:
Lavender oil can be a powerful allergen, and it is also recommended that it should not be ingested during pregnancy and breastfeeding.

The volatile oils in lavender can be very hard on the liver and kidneys of cats and dogs so no internal use of the herb is suggested for our animal friends.

In vitro, lavender oil is cytotoxic. It increases photosensitivity as well. Lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25%. Linalool, a component of lavender oil, may be its active component. Aqueous extracts reduced mitotic index, but induced chromosomal aberrations and mitotic aberrations in comparison with control, significantly. Aqueous extracts induced breaks, stickiness, pole deviations and micronuclei. These effects were related to extract concentrations.

However, according to a 2005 study “although it was recently reported that lavender oil, and its major constituent linalyl acetate, are toxic to human skin cells in vitro, contact dermatitis to lavender oil appears to occur at only a very low frequency. The relevance of this in vitro toxicity to dermatological application of lavender oils remains unclear.”

In terms of phototoxicity, a 2007 investigative report from European researchers stated that, “Lavender oil and sandalwood oil did not induce photohaemolysis in our test system. However, a few reports on photosensitivity reactions due to these substances have been published, e.g. one patient with persistent light reaction and a positive photo-patch test to sandalwood oil.”

In 2007, a study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine which indicated that studies in human cell lines indicated that both lavender oil and tea tree oil had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. They concluded that repeated topical exposure to lavender and tea tree oils probably caused prepubertal gynaecomastia in some boys.[28] The Aromatherapy Trade Council of the UK has issued a rebuttal, and it is also disputed by the Australian Tea Tree Association, a group that promotes the interests of Australian tea tree industry

Disclaimer:
The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula
http://www.anniesremedy.com/herb_detail31.php

http://www.herbnet.com/Herb%20Uses_LMN.htm

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