Informational Site NetworkInformational Site Network
Privacy
 
Home - List of Herbs and Articles - Rock Garden

Most Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)


Least Viewed Herbs

Finocchio
Southernwood
(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Acorn
Poppy
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Asparagus
House Leek (crassulaceoe)
Anemone (wood)



Lavender








The Lavender of our gardens, called also Lavender Spike, is a
well-known sweet-smelling shrub, of the Labiate order. It grows wild
in Spain, Piedmont, and [297] the south of France, on waysides,
mountains, and in barren places. The plant was propagated by slips,
or cuttings, and has been cultivated in England since about 1568.
It is produced largely for commercial purposes in Surrey,
Hertfordshire, and Lincoln. The shrub is set in long rows occupying
fields, and yields a profitable fragrant essential oil from the
flowering tops, about one ounce of the oil from sixty terminal
flowering spikes. From these tops also the popular cosmetic
lavender water is distilled. They contain tannin, and a resinous
camphire, which is common to most of the mints affording essential
oils. If a hank of cotton is steeped in the oil of Lavender, and
drained off so as to be hung dry about the neck, it will prevent bugs
and other noxious insects from attacking that part. When mixed with
three-fourths of spirit of turpentine, or spirit of wine, this oil
makes the famous Oleum spicoe, formerly much celebrated for curing
old sprains and stiff joints. Lavender oil is likewise of service when
rubbed in externally, for stimulating paralysed limbs--preferring the
sort distilled from the flowering tops to that which is obtained from
the stalks. Internally, the essential oil, or a spirit of Lavender made
therefrom, proves admirably restorative and tonic against faintness,
palpitations of a nervous sort, weak giddiness, spasms, and colic. It
is agreeable to the taste and smell, provokes appetite, raises the
spirits, and dispels flatulence; but the infusion of Lavender tops, if
taken too freely, will cause griping, and colic. In hysteria, palsy, and
similar disorders of debility, and lack of nerve power, the spirit of
Lavender will act as a powerful stimulant; and fomentations with
Lavender in bags, applied hot, will speedily relieve local pains. It
profiteth them much, says Gerard, that have the palsy if they be
washed with the distilled water [298] from the Lavender flowers; or
are anointed with the oil made from the flowers and olive oil, in
such manner as oil of roses is used. A dose of the oil is from one to
four drops on sugar, or on a small piece of bread crumb, or in a
spoonful or two of milk. And of the spirit, from half to one
teaspoonful may be taken with two tablespoonfuls of water, hot or
cold, or of milk. The spirit of Lavender is made with one part of the
essential oil to forty-nine parts of spirit of wine. For preparing
distilled Lavender water, the addition of a small quantity of musk
does much to develop the strength of the Lavender's odour and
fragrance. The essential oil of Lavandula latifolia, admirably
promotes the growth of the hair when weakly, or falling off.

By the Greeks the name Nardus is given to Lavender, from Naarda,
a city of Syria, near the Euphrates; and many persons call the plant
Nard. St. Mark mentions this as Spikenard, a thing of great value
The woman who came to Christ having an alabaster box of ointment
of Spikenard, very precious brake the box, and poured it on His
head. In Pliny's time blossoms of the nardus sold for a hundred
Roman denarii (or L3 2s. 6d.) the pound. This Lavender or
Nardus, was likewise called Asarum by the Romans, because not
used in garlands or chaplets. It was formerly believed that the asp, a
dangerous kind of viper, made Lavender its habitual place of abode,
so that the plant had to be approached with great caution.

Conserves of Lavender were much used in the time of Gerard, and
desserts may be most pleasantly brought to the table on a service of
Lavender spikes. It is said, on good authority, that the lions and
tigers in our Zoological gardens, are powerfully affected by the
smell of Lavender-water and become docile under its influence.

[299] The Lavender shrub takes its name from the Latin lavare,
to wash, because the ancients employed it as a perfume. Lavender
tops, when dried, and placed with linen, will preserve it from moths
and other insects.

The whole plant was at one time considered indispensable in Africa,
ubi lavandis corporibus Lybes ea utuntur; nec nisi decocto ejus
abluti mane domo egrediuntur, where the Libyans make use of it
for washing their bodies, nor ever leave their houses of a morning
until purified by a decoction of the plant.

In this country the sweet-smelling herb is often introduced for
scenting newly washed linen when it is put by; from which custom
has arisen the expression, To be laid up in Lavender. During the
twelfth century a washerwoman was called Lavender, in the North
of England.

A tea brewed from the flowers is an excellent remedy for headache
from fatigue, or weakness. But Lavender oil is, in too large a dose, a
narcotic poison, and causes death by convulsions. The tincture of
red Lavender is a popular medicinal cordial; and is composed of the
oils of Lavender and rosemary, with cinnamon bark, nutmeg, and
red sandal wood, macerated in spirit of wine for seven days; then a
teaspoonful may be given for a dose in a little water, with excellent
effect, after an indigestible meal, taking the dose immediately when
feeling uneasy, and repeating it after half-an-hour if needed. An old
form of this compound tincture was formerly famous as Palsy
Drops, it being made from the Lavender, with rosemary, cinnamon,
nutmeg, red sandal wood, and spirit. In some cases of mental
depression and delusions the oil of Lavender proves of real service;
and a few drops of it rubbed on the temples will cure nervous
headache.

[300] Shakespeare makes Perdita (Winter's Tale) class Lavender
among the flowers denoting middle age:

Here's flowers for you,
Hot Lavender: Mints: Savory: Marjoram;
The Marigold that goes to bed with the sun,
And with him rises, weeping: these are the flowers
Of middle summer, and I think they are given
To men of middle age.

There is a broad-leaved variety of the Lavender shrub in France,
which yields three times as much of the essential oil as can be got
from our narrow-leaved plant, but of a second rate quality.

The Sea Lavender, or Thrift (Statice limonium) grows near the
sea, or in salt marshes. It gets its name Statice from the Greek word
isteemi (to stop, or stay), because of its medicinal power to arrest
bleeding. This is the marsh Rosemary, or Ink Root, which contains
(if the root be dried in the air) from fourteen to fifteen per cent. of
tannin. Therefore, its infusion or tincture will prove highly useful to
control bleeding from the lungs or kidneys, as also against
dysentery; and when made into a gargle, for curing an ulcerated sore
throat.





Next: Lemon

Previous: Knapweed (the Lesser)



Add to del.icio.us Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Del.icio.us Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network
Report
Privacy
SHAREADD TO EBOOK


Viewed 935