Cotton Lavender

Santolina chamaecyparissus - L.

Edible Uses

Edible Uses: Condiment.

The aromatic leaves are used as a flavouring for broths, sauces, grain dishes etc. The dried & crumbed leaves make a pleasant spice, or can be used fresh in such dishes as barley soup.

Medicinal Uses

Antispasmodic; Disinfectant; Emmenagogue; Stings; Vermifuge.

The leaves and flowering tops are antispasmodic, disinfectant, emmenagogue, stimulant and vermifuge. Cotton lavender is rarely used medicinally, though it is sometimes used internally as a vermifuge for children and to treat poor digestion and menstrual problems. When bruised and applied to insect stings or bites, the plant will immediately ease the pain and has been used for toxic snake-bite.Cotton lavender is used fresh internally for upset stomach. Applied to surface wounds, it will hasten the healing process by encouraging the formation of scar tissue. The leaves and flowering stems are harvested in the summer and dried for later use.

Essential oils & distilates definitely function as fungicide, moth repellant, anti-inflammatory, & antibacterial activity. Voilatile oil from S. chamaecyparissus in particular has been shown to have real value in controlling Candida, according to research undertaken by Sureshetal in Tamil Nadu, India.

Other Uses

Dye; Essential; Ground cover; Hedge; Repellent.

Plants can be grown as a low formal hedge and used as an edging plant. The plant is very tolerant of shearing. In less exposed areas the plants can be trimmed in the autumn, otherwise they need to be cut by early April if they are to be allowed to flower. Plants can also be grown for ground cover. They are best spaced about 60cm apart each way. The leaves are strewn amongst clothes to repel moths etc. The growing plant repels various insect pests, especially cabbage moths. An essential oil from the leaves is used in perfumery, the oil is also obtained from the flowers. Limbs of ferny foliage can be dried with or without flowers for use in pillows of sweet-smelling potpourri placed in chest-of-drawers as an effective moth repellant lacking the dangerous toxicity (& disgusting odor) of mothballs.

Cultivation details

An easy and undemanding plant that does not require a rich soil, though it strongly dislikes wet feet. Prefers a light sandy fairly poor soil on a sunny slope. A very wind hardy plant. A good companion plant for roses. Flowers are produced on two year old wood.Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus.