Description: Natural Order, Labiatae. Lavender is a small and slender shrub, erect, and divided above into a number of straight and slender branches. The woody stem is covered with a light-brown bark; the branches are obscurely four-sided, grayish, and pubescent. Leaves opposite, sessile, often three inches long, nearly linear, light green, smooth, but somewhat hoary when young. Flowers in terminal, cylindrical spikes, arranged in whorls along the young shoots, with two bracts at the base of each whorl; corolla small, lilac, tubular, bifid. The plant is native to Spain, Italy, and other portions of Southern Europe, growing wild on barren lands, and usually from two to three feet high. It is now much cultivated in gardens for the beautiful fragrance of its flowers; and when well protected in cold weather, often attains a height of six feet. The flowers yield an essential oil, which is one of the most pleasant perfumes. It is lemon-yellow, very fluid, and dissolving with unusual freedom in very strong alcohol.
Properties and Uses: Lavender flowers are very diffusive in action, of equally relaxing and stimulating properties, influencing the nervous peripheries. They are used mostly as an adjunct to other agents in nervous agitation and restlessness, with prostration–their own action being soothing, and rendering stronger articles more acceptable to the stomach. The oil is used for the same general purposes, and also as an ingredient in many of the finer colognes and other perfumes.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Compound Spirits. Lavender flowers, twelve ounces; rosemary leaves and cinnamon, each, four ounces and a half; nutmeg, six drachms; cloves, three drachms; red saunders, two ounces. Bruise the materials well, and treat with diluted alcohol till five pints are obtained. This is the formula suggested by Mr. Coggeshall, of New York, omitting only three ounces of coriander. It makes the pleasantest and most efficient article. The most common practice among druggists, is that of the London Pharmacopoeia, which first obtains the strength of two drachms and a half, each, of bruised cinnamon and nutmeg, and five drachms of red saunders, in two pints of rectified spirit; and to this filtered product adds a fluid drachm and a half of oil of lavender, and ten drops of oil of rosemary. This compound is a pleasant and acceptable preparation, very diffusive in stimulating action, relieving flatulence and nausea, and sustaining the nervous system in sudden attacks of languor and faintness. It is usually given in water, or upon a lump of sugar, from twenty drops to a fluid drachm being a dose. It is often added to unpalatable medicines, as copaiva, jalap, and quassia. In either formula, pimento is better than nutmeg.
II. Restorative. Under this name I have for some years used the following compound: Lavender flowers, three ounces; cinnamon, ginger, mace, anise, and leonurus, each, one ounce. Treat with one pint of brandy, and then with diluted alcohol till a quart is obtained. In faintness, sympathetic palpitation, colic, and similar troubles, this makes a good diffusive preparation. Dose, half a fluid drachm or more, as required.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com