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Mercury owns this herb. It is of especial use in pains of the head and brain which proceed from cold, apoplexy, falling-sickness, the dropsy, or sluggish malady, cramps, convulsions, palsies and often faintings the tremblings and passions of the heart, and faintings and swoonings, applied to the temples or nostrils, to be smelt unto .5
Culpeper also recommended lavender for digestive upsets or weakness, liver and spleen obstructions, menstrual problems, toothache or the loss of voice, but he warned that Oil of Spike should be used with care due to its ‘hot and subtle spirit’.
Reports on the virtues of lavender reached a peak with William Salmon’s herbal of 1710, in which he described 12 different preparations using lavender for various diseases of the head, brain, nerves and womb. Its many properties were listed by Salmon as:
Abstersive, Aperitive, Astringent, Discursive, Dieuretic, and Incisive Cephalick, Neurotick, Stomatick, Cordial, Nephretick and Hysterick. It is Alexipharmic, Analeptick and Antiparatitick, being of very subtle and thin parts.6
The 18th century saw interest in traditional folk remedies begin to wane, however, in the growing light of chemical science. Over the next two centuries the use of lavender as a remedy dwindled, as people put their faith in the newly developed medicines and drugs. It was only in the mid-20th century that herbal remedies began to be re-assessed seriously in modern scientific terms.