156. Lavandula vera, De Cand.—Common or Garden Lavender.
Tribe I. Ocimoideae, Benth.
Stamens bent downwards.
Lavandula angustifolia, Ehrenberg. L. spica, var. α, Linn.
Sex. Syst. Didynamia, Gymnospermia.
(Oleum e flore destillatum, L. D.—The flowering heads; and volatile oil of ditto, E. The flowers, D.)
History.—No plant is mentioned, under the name of Lavender, by Hippocrates, Theophrastus, Dioscorides, or Pliny. It is not improbable, however, that lavender may be alluded to, under some other name, by one or more of these authors; but it is impossible now to identify it with any certainty. Sprengel [Hist. Rei Herb. t. i. p. 96.] declares, on the authority of Hesychius, that the ίφυον of Theophrastus [Hist. Plant, lib. vi. cap. 8.] is Lavandula Spica. The στιχάς or στοιχάς of Dioscorides, [Lib. iii. cap. 31.] the stoechas of Pliny, [Hist. Nat. lib. xxvii. cap. 107.] is the L. stoechas, Linn.
Botany. Gen. Char.—Calyx ovate-tubular, nearly equal, 13 or rarely 15-ribbed, shortly 5-toothed, with the 4 lower teeth nearly equal, or the 2 lower narrower; the upper either but little broader than the lateral ones, or expanded into a dilated appendage. Corolla with the tube exserted, the throat somewhat dilated, the limb oblique and bilabiate; upper lip 2-lobed; lower 3-lobed; all the divisions nearly equal. Stamens 4, inclosed in the tube of the corolla, bent downwards. Filaments smooth, distinct, not toothed. Style shortly bifid at the apex; the lobes complanate, subconnate. Disk concave, with 4 fleshy scales at the margin. Nuts smooth, adnate to the scales of the disk (Bentham).
Sp. Char.—Leaves oblong-linear or lanceolate, quite entire, when young hoary and revolute at the edges. Spikes interrupted. Whorls of 6 to 10 flowers. Floral letters rhomboid-ovate, acuminate, membranous, all fertile, the uppermost shorter than the calyx. Bracts scarcely any (Bentham).—An undershrub 1 to 2 feet high. Floicers purplish-gray.
Hab.—South of Europe. Extensively cultivated at Mitcham, in Surrey, from which place the London market is chiefly supplied.
Lavandula Spica, De Cand. (L. latifolia, Villars) or French Lavender, formerly considered as a variety only of the preceding species, is not used in medicine. It is distinguished by its lower habit, white colour, the leaves more congested at the base of the branches, the spike denser and shorter, the floral leaves lanceolate or linear, and the presence of bracts (Bentham). It yields by distillation oil of spike (oleum spica) sometimes called foreign oil of lavender, or, in order to distinguish it from the oil of Lavandula Stoechas, the true oil of spike (oleum spica verum). This oil is distinguished from the genuine oil of Lavandula vera by its darker green colour, and its less grateful odour. It is used by painters on porcelain, and by artists in the preparation of varnishes.
Properties.—Lavender flowers (flores lavandulae) have a bluish-gray colour, a pleasant odour, and a pungent bitter taste. The flowering stems are collected in June or July, dried in the shade, and made up into bundles for sale. A cold infusion of the flowers is deepened in colour (tannate of iron) by sesquichloride of iron.
Composition.—The principal constituents of the flowers are volatile oil, resin (?), tannic acid, a bitter principle, and woody fibre.
Physiological Effects.—The flowers are carminative, mildly stimulant, and somewhat tonic. Kraus [Heilmittell. p. 473.] says that when taken internally they cause griping.
Uses.—Lavender flowers are sometimes employed as errhines. They enter into the composition of the pulvis asari compositus (see ante, p. 387).
1. OLEUM LAVANDULAE, E. D. [U. S.]; Oleum Lavandulae (Anglicum), L.; Oleum Lavandulae verae; English Oil of Lavender, offic.—(Prepared by submitting lavender flowers to distillation with water.)—It has a pale yellow colour, a hot taste, and a very fragrant odour. Its sp. gr. varies from 0.877 to 0.905; the lightest oil being the purest. It boils at 397° F.; and is composed, according to Dr. Kane, of C15H14O2. 1 lb. of oil is obtained from 50 to 70 lbs. of the flowers. 1973 lbs. of the flowers carefully separated from the stalks, yielded Mr. Jacob Bell [Pharm. Journal, vol. v. iii. p. 276, 1848.] at 13 distillations, 28 ½ lbs. of oil; or 1 lb. of oil from 69 ⅕ lbs. of flowers. When the stalks and leaves are distilled with the flowers, the odour of the oil is considerably deteriorated. [Brande, Dict. of Mat. Med. pp. 367-8; J. Bell, op. cit. ] It is a stimulant and stomachic, and is sometimes given in hysteria and headache; but is more commonly employed as a perfume for scenting evaporating lotions, ointments, liniments, &c.—Dose, gtt. ij to gtt. v.
2. SPIRITUS LAVANDULAE, E. [U. S.]; Spirit of Lavender.—(Fresh Lavender ℔ijss; Rectified Spirit Cong. j. Mix them, and, with the heat of a vapour-bath, distil over seven pints. The dried flowers may be substituted for the fresh ones. Druggists frequently prepare this compound by dissolving a few drops of oil of lavender in a fluidounce of rectified spirit. Employed only in the preparation of the Spiritus Lavandulae composita, E.
LAVENDER WATER.—The fragrant perfume sold in the shops, under the name of lavender water (aqua lavandulae) is a solution of the oil of lavender and of other odoriferous substances in spirit. It is in fact, therefore, a compound spirit of lavender; but this name is already appropriated to another preparation. There are various formulae for its preparation, scarcely two manufacturers adopting precisely the same one. The following yields a most excellent product: Oil of Lavender, Oil of Bergamot, aa. fʒiij; Otto of Roses, Oil of Cloves, aa. gtt. vj; Musk gr. ij; Oil of Rosemary fʒj; Honey ℥j; Benzoic Acid ℈ij; Rectified Spirit Oj; Distilled Water ℥iij. Mix, and after standing a sufficient time (the longer the better), filter. This agreeable perfume may be employed for scenting spirit-washes, &c, but is principally consumed for the toilet.
3. TINCTURA LAVANDULAE COMPOSITA, L. D.; Spiritus Lavandulae compositus, E. [U. S.]; Lavender Drops or Red Lavender Drops, offic.—(Oil of Lavender fʒiss [fʒiij, D.]; Oil of Rosemary ♏x [fʒj, D.]; Cinnamon, bruised, ʒijss [℥j D.]; Nutmeg, bruised, ʒijss [℥ss, D.]; [Red Sanders Wood, cut, ʒv, L.; Cochineal, in powder, of each ʒij, D.]; Rectified Spirit Oij. Macerate the cinnamon, nutmeg, and red sanders wood in the spirit for seven [fourteen, D.] days; then express, filter, and to the filtered liquor add the oils, L.—Spirit of Lavender Oij; Spirit of Rosemary f℥xij; Cinnamon, in coarse powder, ℥j; Cloves, bruised, ʒij; Nutmeg, bruised, ℥ss; Red Sandal Wood, in shavings, ʒiij. Macerate for seven days, and strain the liquor through calico, E.)—[The U. S. Pharm. directs Spirit of Lavender Oiij; Spirit of Rosemary Oj; Cinnamon, bruised, ℥i; Cloves, bruised, ʒij Nutmeg, bruised, ℥ss; Red Sanders, rasped, ʒiij. Macerate for fourteen days and filter through paper.]—Stimulant, cordial, and stomachic. Employed to relieve gastric uneasiness, flatulence, low spirits, languor, faintness, &c. A favourite remedy with hysterical and hypochondriacal persons.—Dose, from fʒss to fʒij, administered in water or on sugar. The red Sanders wood is merely a colouring ingredient.