Date Published: 22 December 2019

National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy support True Lavender via ABC's Adopt-an-Herb Program

The American Botanical Council (ABC) has recently announced1 that the (US) National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) has adopted true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia, Lamiaceae) through ABC's Adopt-an-Herb program. By participation in this scheme the NAHA2, is helping ABC to expand its nonprofit educational mission and to maintain its HerbMedPro3 database that makes available the latest scientific research about these botanical sources online.

Notes about true lavender from ABC

The lavender genus (Lavandula) belongs to the mint (Lamiaceae) family and includes at least 25-30 species. Although it is also called English lavender, true lavender (L. angustifolia) is native to low mountains of the Mediterranean basin. It is a small, brittle, semi-woody subshrub that can grow to three feet tall. It has narrow gray-green leaves and small bluish-purple flowers.

Lavender essential oil is extracted from the flowers, has sweet overtones and is usedin perfumes, soaps, shampoos, and other products. Other similar species include Lavandin (L. × intermedia) which is a hybrid of true lavender, and L. latifolia which is cultivated more widely and is used to produce larger quantities of essential oil than true lavender. True lavender is widely considered to have a finer fragrance than other similar species.

Lavender is a plant whose historical use is often mentioned. In ancient Greece, Persia, and Rome, it was valued for its antiseptic properties. Use of lavender later spread to India and Tibet, where it was used to ease anxiety. There is evidence that in the Middle Ages, it was used for colds, coughs, infections, rheumatic aches, and wounds; and as a strewing herb i.e. strewn over floors of buildings - usually fragrant or astringent.

True lavender essential oil has been credited with the following properties: antibacterial, anticonvulsant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anxiolytic. It is used as a calming sedative and to treat anxiety, headaches, insomnia, melancholy, nervousness, and skin ailments. [These brief notes about true lavender are from cms.herbalgram.org1.]

The US National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy decision to adopt Lavandula angustifolia

" Our adoption of true lavender will help educate practitioners and the public alike, helping realize our mission for this iconic aromatic plant," stated Annette Davis, president of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA).

This is consistent with the NAHA's mission is to advance knowledge of the medicinal use of aromatic plants and essential oils and support aromatherapy as a holistic professional art and science. Annette Davis expressed the hope that more people will realize the healing properties of aromatic plants like true lavender, rather than just considering them as perfumes or fragrances. "We also want people to become more aware of applicable safety recommendations," she wrote.

Dr Stefan Gafner, ABC's chief science officer, said:

" Lavender has a long and rich history of medical and cosmetic use. Its anxiolytic effects have been investigated in more than a dozen clinical trials. We are deeply grateful to NAHA for its adoption of true lavender, which supports ABC's HerbMedPro database and allows us to make the science behind this popular ingredient available to a wider audience."

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