GENERAL DESCRIPTION Stout biennial or perennial herb up to 1 metre high with large, hairy leaves, green with a hint of purple, and small blue flowers.
DISTRIBUTION Native to southern Europe; cultivated worldwide especially in the Mediterranean region.
HERBAL / FOLK TRADITION This herb, highly esteemed in the Middle Ages, has now largely fallen out of use. It was used for digestive disorders, kidney disease, uterine and menstrual complaints, for cleansing ulcers and as a general nerve tonic. The mucilage from the seeds was used for treating tumours from the seeds was used for treating tumours and for removing dust particles from the eyes.
Like garden sage, it cools inflammation and is especially useful for throat and respiratory infections.
ACTIONS Anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, cicatrisant, deodorant, digestive, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, regulator (of seborrhoea), sedative, stomachic, tonic, uterine.
EXTRACTION Essential oil by steam distillation from the flowering tops and leaves.
CHARACTERISTICS A colourless or pale yellowy-green liquid with a sweet, nutty-herbaceous scent. It blends well with juniper, lavender, coriander, cardomon, geranium, sandalwood, cedarwood, pine, labdanum, jasmine, frankincense, bergamot and other citrus oils.
AROMATHERAPY / HOME USE
SKIN CARE: Acne, boils, dandruff, hair loss, inflamed conditions, oily skin and hair, ophthalmia, ulcers, wrinkles.
CIRCULATION, MUSCLES AND JOINTS: High blood pressure, muscular aches and pains.
RESPIRATORY SYSTEM: Asthma, throat infections, whooping cough.
DIGESTIVE SYSTEM: Colic, cramp, dyspepsia, flatulence.
GENITO-URINARY SYSTEM: Amenorrhoea, labour pain, dysmenorrhoea, leucorrhoea.
NERVOUS SYSTEM: Depression, frigidity, impotence, migraine, nervous tension and stress-related disorders.
OTHER USES The oil and absolute are used as fragrance components and fixatives in soaps, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes. The oil is used extensively by the food and drink industry, especially in the production of wines with a muscatel flavour.