Spike Lavender contains Monoterpene Hydrocarbons (more than 10%): α- and β-pinenes, (+)-camphene, limonene; Monoterpene Alcohols: linalöl, terpinen-4-ol, α-terpineol, borneol, citronellol, nerol, lavandulol, geraniol; Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons (more than 3%): β-caryophyllene, β-bisabolene; Esters (more than 2%): linalyl acetate; Ketones: camphor; Oxides (more than 35%): 1.8 cineole. Percentages of camphor and 1.8 cineole vary; Portuguese varieties have up to 70% camphor; 1.8 cineol dominates north of Provence.
The predominance of Ketones and Oxides in Lavender spica offers the stimulating Yang properties of the Oxides together with the more Yin calming and tissue regenerating qualities of the Ketones. Spike Lavender is considered the male Lavender and, while less appreciated for its fragrant qualities, is good for fungal infections, and can be used as an antiviral expectorant for colds as well as to relax the heart in place of Rosemary camphor, which quickly turns to hypertensive in higher doses. Spike Lavender is administered primarily through the skin but also orally.
Lavender stoechas contains Monoterpene Hydrocarbons: α-pinene, camphene, limonene; Monoterpene Alcohols: linalöl, α-fenchol, borneol, δ-cadinol, α-terpineol; Sesquiterpene Hydrocarbons: β-caryophyllene, δ-cadinene; Esters: bornyl and neryl acetate; Oxides: 1.8 cineole; Ketones (approx. 75%): (-)-fenchone (more than 51%), camphor, verbenone.
The predominance of Ketones in Lavender stoechas brings forth the tissue regeneration and mucolytic properties together, particularly for stubborn and intense earaches.
Slightly bitter and pungent. Cools and Disperses Heat with a slight Warming Potential
Dispels Pathogens; Fights Infection: genito-urinary infections, respiratory infections, cough, asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough.
Calms and Frees the Spirit; Normalizes the Hun/Perspective; Breaks Habits: irritability, loss of concentration, nervous tension, anxiety, obsessive thoughts, depression, panic and hysteria, mental overwhelm; frustration, irritability, shyness and embarrassment, self-conscious reserve.
Rectifies the Skin and Hair: itching, acne, dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema skin allergies, pruritis; hair loss.
Clears Heat and Heals Burns; Antidotes Poison: burns, hot skin conditions, scalds, nettle rash.
Promotes Eruptions: eruptive fevers, measles, chickenpox.
Promotes Tissue Repair: wounds (kills pain in wounds and burns as well as heals and regenerates the skin without leaving a scar), ulcers, bruises, gangrene.
Benefits Heart Qi, Heart Spirit and Heart Yang: insomnia, palpitations, tachycardia, arrhythmia, high blood pressure; cold limbs, hypothermia, blue lips and tongue.
Disperses Liver Qi; Relieves Pain: spasm, pain, muscle pain and stiffness, general unrest, headache, migraine, irritable bowel, constipation. Normalizes blood sugar (take a few drops internally before meals to reduce appetite).
Tonifies the Yin; Tonifies Reproductive Qi; Normalizes Menses; Promotes Labor: lack of sexual desire, excess sexual appetite (reduces the False Fire from Deficient Yin); menstrual pain; difficult and painful labor, retained placenta (prophylactic and remedial in last three weeks of pregnancy and during labor).
Rids Parasites: animal and insect bites (especially black widow), skin parasites, lice, scabies.
Five Phase Association
Four primarily, but also Five due to its secondary association with Wood; and Seven due to its secondary association with the Metal Phase.
The name Lavender, or Lavendula, comes from the Latin lavare, which means, “to wash”. The ancients used the flowers and leaves to create perfumed baths. In France, there are three species of genuine Lavender growing in the wild: Lavendula vera (also known as Lavendula officinalis or Lavendula angustifolia), Lavendula stoechas, and Lavendula spica, each yielding very different essential oils with specific properties after distillation. The most prized quality is picked at elevations over 1000 meters. The cultivated True Lavender, the Lavendula vera, comes close to possessing the properties of genuine high-altitude wild Lavender even though it does not contain all of the same properties. While other species can be appreciated for their intrinsic qualities, they should never be confused with the “authentic and true” Vera, which is the most adulterated of all essential oils in France. The Lavandins are natural hybrids created when the female Lavendula vera meets the male Lavendula spica at the common elevation of 700 and 800 meters.
Since the Lavendula vera is so rare, it is usually replaced by cultivated clonal varieties of Lavindin, which smells similar and is difficult to distinguish from the vera by the layperson. This replacement is made commercially because the yield of the Lavandins is from two to five times greater while the production cost is three to four times lower. Nevertheless, the therapeutic quality of the Lavandins is much lower than the Lavendula vera. It is essential that true lavender oil is purchased from a credible supplier who can provide a nameable source so that one can be assured that the oil has not been tampered with.
In aromatherapy, Lavendula vera is thought of as the essence of the Female Yin while Rosemary bornyl is thought of as the Male Yang. Lavendula stoechas from Turkey is useful in aromatherapy even though it is not used in the perfume industry because its smell is less pleasant. It is particularly powerful for serious earaches. Although Lavendula vera is non-toxic, it loses much of its effectiveness when used orally.
Lavender is a small bush whose size ranges from two to three feet in circumference and one to two feet in height. From the roots it sends up a series of shaggy brownish-gray stalks. Each stalk splits off into several square-shaped dusky-green colored stems containing alternating pairs of leaves. As the plant flowers, these stems shoot upward in a profusion of spikes above the plant as high as the bushy part of the plant itself. It is as though the flowerettes on these spikes burn from the lavender bush in a cool, violet, cleansing flame. The upper end of each spike contains the lavender flowers, which are arranged in groups of three, four, or five clusters. Each cluster contains eight flowerettes in four groups of two. The uppermost cluster contains an additional two flowerettes in the center to make a total of ten flowerettes in the topmost cluster.
Figure 1: Lavender Flower Clusters and the Five Phases
It is interesting to note that in acupuncture there are ten main organs consisting of a similar arrangement of five double pairs. Five clusters of ten flowerettes makes for a possible total of fifty flowerettes per stem. The number fifty symbolizes the universe in ancient Chinese philosophical classics (Yijing). Five is the number of harmony and transformation (the Five Phases in balance). Ten is the number of completion. The number fifty, therefore, symbolizes the Order of the Universe through the transformation of chaos into universal harmony, or the interconnection of All Things in a harmonious and orderly arrangement. Making harmonious connections with All Things is particularly important for the Shen/Spirit of the Heart.
The violet color of the lavender flower further symbolizes the psycho-spiritual level of this integration. This color itself is a synthesis of polar opposites (red/hot and blue/cold). In acupuncture theory, this synthesis takes place through the Shen/Spirit, or the Spirit Essence, Jingshen, residing in the Heart. The Shen/Spirit connects with the external world in a way that is most appropriate so that the human potential of the individual can be fulfilled. Too much Yang agitates the Shen/Spirit so that it rushes prematurely into making connections while too much Yin causes it to shrivel inside and shrink back from making any connection at all.
Lavender seems to especially embody the Yin-Yang harmony of the Shen/Spirit on three fundamental levels:
- It Clears Heart Fire and opens the Mind so these connections can lead to fulfillment on the social, psycho-emotional, and biological (or circulatory) levels
- It Rectifies the Skin and Clears Heat in the Skin and membranes so that these three levels of functions are well supported. In this way the skin and membranes can be seen as an extension of ones ability to connect through sight and touch
- It opens and cools the reproductive system, which is the system where the most intimate of connections are made, either between members of a loving couple, or between the mother and child when life first begins
Lavendula vera is a universal oil that works for many types of people suffering from many types of problems. It is especially useful with young children, newborn babies and infants. In old Tuscany, for example, it was used to rid the “evil eye” in children. Today this could symbolize a combination of psycho-emotional affectations possibly due to the mother’s physical or mental absence, or disharmony within the family environment. In sensitive children who struggle in making their first connections with the world, disruptions of family harmony push the child into a reactionary process that only serves to create more distress. Symptoms could include fear of the dark, and the grumpiness and misery associated with childhood insomnia. Lavendula vera comforts and prepares these children for sleep rather than induces drowsiness.
Lavendula vera can be universally blended and brings a feminine gentleness to powerful oils like Bay Leaf and Peppermint.
Blend with Helichrysum italicum and Rosemary cineole for hematomas.
Blend with Ravintsara for asthma (relaxes and helps a person breathe more easily).
Blend with Peppermint for abscesses or headaches in adults.
Blend with Rosemary cineole, Ravintsara, and Hyssop for lung complaints.
Blend with Sage and Clary Sage for late or painful periods.
Blend Spike Lavender with Petitgrain and Bay Leaf for oozing acne.
Dennis Willmont has been practicing acupuncture, and Taijiquan, and Daoist
meditation since 1971. He has published numerous articles in academic
journals on acupuncture and natural healing and has published four books on
these topics, which can be found on his website, www.willmountain.com
Blend Spike Lavender with Rosemary cineole for rheumatism as an anti-inflammatory and efficient pain-killer.