Spike lavender, Lavendula latifolia is an evergreen aromatic shrub, which can grow up to 1 meter (3 ft) high. It has lance-shaped leaves which are broader and rougher than those of true lavender. The flower is more compressed and of a dull grey-blue colour. It is native to the mountainous regions of Spain and France. Also found in North Africa, Italy, former Yugoslavia and the eastern Mediterranean countries. Oil production is mainly from France and Spain.
A colorless to pale yellow essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the flowering tops. It is used in some pharmaceutical preparations and especially in veterinary practice. It is employed as a fragrance component especially in soaps and industrial perfumes like deodorants, disinfectants, insecticides, room sprays and cleaning agents. It is also used in the production of fine varnishes and lacquers. Culpeper recommended spike lavender for a variety of ailments including ‘pains of the head and brain which proceed from cold, apoplexy, falling sickness, the dropsy, or sluggish malady, cramps, convulsions, palsies and often in fainting.’
It has analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, anti-infectious, expectorant and antiviral properties. Its major chemical components are Ketones 15%; Oxides 34% and Alcohols 32%.
Psychologically Spike Lavender has analgesic, antidepressant and calming properties and can be helpful for neuralgia, depressive headache, calms the senses, cleansing and balancing. It is thought to help clear a stuffy head and make the senses calmer yet more alert.
On the physiological level it has antiseptic, anti-infectious, expectorant and antiviral properties and its use could be considered for fungal infections, insect stings, scar tissue formation and wound healing. It is effective for treating respiratory complaints it eases breathing and clears the head, relieves headaches associated with catarrh.
Contraindications: Avoid during pregnancy and with young children.
Ernest Guenther, The Essential Oils, Vol. III, Krieger Publishing, Malabar, Florida 1974
John Kerr, Essential Oil Profile Lavenders, Aromatherapy Today, Vol 8, December 1998
Beverley Hawkins Aromatherapy 201 Course 2000…2015