A Glossary of Essential Terms used in Herbalism & Natural Medicine
Lamiaceae or Labiatae is a family of mostly aromatic plants, also called the mint family.
The plants are frequently used for cooking and healing, and usually easy to propagate, by stem cuttings.
Lavender, or Lavendula is a genus of 39 blue, violet or lilac flowering species from the Lamiaceae family of plants. The most common species is the Lavandula angustifolia.
The extract or the essential oil of lavender is antiseptic and can be used as a disinfectant. It is also anti-inflammatory. Lavender has a soothing effect. If applied on the forehead and temples it helps with headaches.
Aromatherapy with lavender enhances relaxation and improves sleep quality, for example through a pillow filled with lavender flowers. It can additionally help stabilize the mood and reduce anxiety. Lavender tea reduces agitation, helps with insomnia, and a nervous stomach.
Lavender & Insects
Lavender bundles repel insects. A lavender infusion/solution soothes and heals insect bites.
For the ultimate herbal relaxation before bed time, steep three flower heads of lavender in a cup of boiling water.
It is possible to be allergic to lavender. It is said that lavender should be used cautiously during the first trimester of pregnancy.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) or Melissa is from the Lamiaceae family of plants. It has lemon-scented leaves and small white flowers, full of nectar, hence the name Melissa, which in Greek means honey bee.
Lemon balm tea helps with insomnia, due to the mild sedative effect. It also reduces anxiety symptoms. Lemon balm is antispasmodic (suppresses muscle spasms) because the eugenol calms the muscles and numbs the tissue. It also kills bacteria. Additionally, lemon balm has anti-viral, as well as soothing properties. It is a popular essential oil in aromatherapy.
Lemon balm & Insects
Lemon balm is a mosquito repellant and works by rubbing the leaves on the skin. The same treatment soothes the skins after insects stings.
For herpes sores (cold sores)
Steep 2-4 teaspoons of crushed lemon balm leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10-15 minutes. Apply as a cold tea with cotton balls to the sores throughout the day.
Lemon balm is a safe herb, however it should not be mixed with any kind of medication or treatment of the thyroid gland. An overdose may cause an allergic reaction, including dermatitis.
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