ASPIC (Lavandula spica – Labiatae)

Aspic oil comes from a variety of lavender, known once as sticadore, spike lavender or Old English lavender. Like true lavender, the plants grow around the Mediterranean, but at a lower altitude, around 700 (2,300 ft). The bush grows up to 1 m (3 ft) in height, with larger leaves and more intensely coloured flowers than true lavender. Aspic plants have been hybridized with L. angustifoliaand others to produce lavandin. (See also lavandin and lavender.)


Description: The plant is largely cultivated for its essential oils, chiefly in Spain, and a major proportion is used in perfumery and toiletries. The essential oil is pale yellow in colour and very fluid; when badly stored or left in the air, it becomes dark yellow and thickens so do not buy or use when like this. The smell is very camphory and lavender-like (like the flowers), with a note of rosemary.
The principal constituents: Borneol, camphor, cineol, geraniol, linalool, pinene and terpineol. It is often falsified with rosemary and turpentine. Dangers: Never use aspic in too large a quantity – in the bath for example – as it can be toxic. Instead of the correct reaction, you could end up with headaches, nervousness and exhaustion. Please respect the dosages.


In illness
Doctors R M Gattefosse and Leclerc considered aspic to be a diuretic and sudorific, and found it to be effective for fevers and virus infections.
Externally, like its close relative lavender, aspic can be used for bruises, aches and pains, chapped hands, allergies caused by too much sun, and burns.
As it is a very active antibiotic, it is very successful in the treatment of acne, and to heal wounds. It is more efficient, though, if used in conjunction with another labiate oil such as true lavender. To reinforce its action, I like to addchamomile or geranium. Mix 5 ml (1 tsp) soya oil, a few drops of wheatgerm, 3 drops aspic and 1 drop chamomile or geranium, and apply two to three times a day to very bad acne.

(See also backache, dermatitis, frostbite, oedema and pediculosis.)

Other uses
Aspic is used a great deal in veterinary medicine in France. After long races, horses’ legs and backs are rubbed with an aspic oil. It is also rubbed on the paws and sore legs of old dogs and cats suffering from rheumatic conditions.

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