Curiosities of Our Flora: Lavender

Here, with the spring, the fields have blossomed and so has Lavender. Its flower, which gives colour and smell to our fields, is quite famous all over the world for its immense properties.

In Portuguese there are different names according to the types of Lavender. There are the Lavandula species known under the common name of Alfazema, and those commonly known as Rosmaninho. (1)

In Portugal there are mainly five species of Lavandula: (2)

Lavandula latifolia (alfazema-brava);

Lavandula multifida (alfazema-de-folhas-recortadas);

Lavandula stoechas (rosmaninho-menor);

Lavandula pedunculata (rosmaninho-maior).

With a perennial and spontaneously growing life cycle, the properties of these plants go far beyond the aroma of their flowers. The use of Lavender for medicinal purposes dates back to ancient Greek-Roman and Egyptian civilizations. The Latin name Lavandula comes from its ancient use to perfume bath water, deriving from the Latin word Lavare, which means washed. (3)

In medicinal use Lavender infusions help against colds, coughs, difficult digestions, headaches, heart problems and menstrual pains.

The floral water of this plant is used to prevent hair loss, to wash wounds, and to prepare creams for muscle relaxation and relief of rheumatic pains.

The essential oil from the leaves and flowers finds medicinal application as an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, digestive, calming, antidepressant and with positive effect in the treatment of burns, insect bites and headaches. With different effects, depending on the species considered, some essential oils have antifungal, antibacterial, and a repellent and toxic action for insects.

Last Friday, with the copper alembic, we made the extraction of the floral water and essential oil of this plant.

“Lavender that I have received,

Lavender that I will give,

All the harm that has been done to me

It will be the good that I will bring” by Fernando Pessoa (4)

Sources: (1) – Lavandula Luisieri (Rozeira) Rivas-martínez and Lavandula Pedunculata (Mill.) Cav., academic article, cbv.fc.ul.pt

(2) – Aromaterapia: Alfazema e Rosmaninho no Dia a Dia, blogpost, ayurvedica.pt

(3) – Lavender: the Genus Lavandula, Book, books.google.com

(4) – Rosmaninho que me deram, Poem, arquivopessoa.net

Pictures: Ronja Radhika

Text: João Jivanmukta