Lavender oil and its supposed functions

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The following quotes will illustrate the tendency to mix the 'esoteric' with the 'medicinal' value of lavender and also show that misinterpretations of past herbal uses of plants have added to the general muddle:

'Lavandula angustifolia has a "yang" quality and "its ruling planet is Mercury" (Tisserand, 1985).' That author lists its properties as: 'analgesic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispas-modic, antitoxic, carminative, cholagogue, choleretic, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, deodorant, diuretic, emmanogogue, hypotensive, nervine, sedative, splenic, sudorific, tonic, vermifuge and vulnerary'. Its uses are for: 'abcess, acne, alopecia areata, asthma, blenorrhoea, blepharitis, boils, bronchitis, carbuncles, catarrh, chlorosis, colic, conjunctivitis, convulsions, cystitis, depression, dermatitis, diarrhoea, diphtheria, dyspepsia, earache, eczema, epilepsy, fainting, fistula, flatulence, gonorrhoea, halitosis, headache, hypertension, hysteria, influenza, insomnia, laryngitis, leucorrhoea, migraine, nausea, nervous tension, neurasthenia, oliguria, palpitations, paralysis, pediculosis, psoriasis, rheumatism, scabies, scrofula, gall stones, sunstroke, throat infections, tuberculosis, typhoid fever, ulcers of cornea and leg, vomiting, whooping cough and wounds'.

'Lavender helps balance the mind and emotions' (Westwood, 1991) and has 'immunity' as its key word; it is indicated for over-analytical, anxiety, fear of failure, hyperactivity, hysteria, imbalance, immune system, impatience, insecurity, insomnia, irritation, irrationality, mood swings, overwork, panic, paranoia, possessiveness, greed for power, feeling pressurized, lack of relaxation, stage fright, tension, poor time-management, lack of tolerance and tranquillity, workaholic, worry. The physical conditions indicating its use are: baldness, immune system, sore throats, stiffness, dermatitis, eczema, itchy or scarred skin and general first aid.

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