Spanish Lavender - Lavandula stoechas
Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas, Lamiaceae), also known as French or butterfly lavender, is one of the 47 known species of lavender, growing primarily in the Mediterranean and North Africa. More fragile than other lavenders, the plant does not do well in harsh winter conditions.1 Spanish lavender may have earned its genus name from the Romans who called the plant 'Stochades'. The island of Hyères, off the coast of Southeastern France, was known to the Romans by that name, and Spanish lavender was proliferant there over 2000 years ago. With the distinctive spiked bracts, which looks like a tiny purple corn on the cob, and inflorescences that appear as purple ears, Spanish lavender is not the lavender used for cooking as it has a more piney scent, but it may have been used by the Greeks and Romans to scent their bathwater.2 Like all lavenders, bees and butterflies are fond of this sun-loving plant.
A popular folk remedy, Spanish lavender has been consumed to alleviate digestive complaints, headaches, asthma, and flu symptoms.3 It has also been used in the treatment of diabetes, kidney disease, and hyperlipidemia. Known as “broom of the brain,” it was given to those suffering from migraines, poor memory, and epilepsy. Spanish lavender contains a high amount of camphor, eucalyptol, fenchone, myrtenol, oleanolic acid, among numerous other compounds. Linalool, present in many lavender species including L. stoechas, has been shown to have sedative effects and can act on brain receptors, creating feelings of serenity and well-being. Camphor can have stimulating effects on the brain, enhancing this particular lavender’s nootropic activity. Spanish lavender essential oils are high in monoterpenes and contain carminative, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties. Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry has shown that fenchone (33–37%), camphor (16–24%) and eucalyptol (17–18%) are the most abundant components in the essential oil.4 Because the essential oil is high in ketones and camphor, the scent is more herbaceous and medicinal than other lavender essential oils. Due to the higher concentrations of ketones and camphor, Spanish lavender should be used with caution.
HerbClip™ Managing Editor
1Lavender stoechas essential oil. Lotus Garden Botanicals website. https://www.lgbotanicals.com/Lavender-stoechas-Essential-Oil_p_1124.html. Accessed November 2, 2021.
2Lavender stoechas. Mountain Valley Growers website. https://www.mountainvalleygrowers.com/lavstochas.htm. Accessed November 2, 2021.
3Mushtaq A, Anwar R, Gohar UF, et al. Biomolecular evaluation of Lavandula stoechas L. for nootropic activity. Plants (Basel). June 2021;10(6):1259. doi: 10.3390/plants10061259.
4Carrasco A, Ortiz-Ruiz V, Martinez-Gutierrez R, Tomas V, Tudela J. Lavandula stoechas essential oil from Spain: Aromatic profile determined by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, antioxidant and lipoxygenase inhibitory bioactivities. Industrial Crops and Products. October 2015;73:16-27.