Santolina chamaecyparissus L.

Herbs gallery - Santolina

Common names

  • Lavender Cotton
  • Santolina

Santolina is a species of non-woody shrub belonging to the Asteraceae family. It comes from Southern Europe (Yugoslavia, Italy, France, and Spain).

It grows naturally in southern Europe, northern Africa and North America, on clay or rocky slopes.

The leaves are narrow, linear, divided and very aromatic. It has a scent similar to chamomile, although not too unpleasant. In summer, hemispherical heads with yellow flowers grow.

In nature, santolina is a sub-shrub that inhabits rocky slopes and coastal areas in the Mediterranean Basin. It usually grows to 20-40 cm in height, but can form dense, spreading clumps up to 1 m in diameter.

Santolina is a delightful-looking shrub with interesting, silver-grey foliage and spectacular yellow, basket-shaped flowers.

In early summer - in June-July - yellow, basket-shaped flowers consisting only of tubular flowers appear on the tops of erect, thin, stiff stems.

Although they are small and do not have colorful ligulate flowers, due to their intense yellow color and spherical, button-shaped shape, they look extremely charming against the background of the grey-green clump of leaves.

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Thanks to its numerous decorative values, santolina can be an exceptionally attractive decoration of a balcony or terrace. It looks beautiful on a gravel border, wall or rock garden, but is also perfect for creating low rows or borders along paths and sidewalks.

With its help, you can also fill empty spaces in flowerbed compositions, especially those made of herbs (including lavender, sage, thyme, rosemary, Italian helichrysum). It also looks good in the company of conifers (e.g. various varieties of junipers).

Santolina is a very grateful ornamental plant that can find many uses in the garden.

It also looks good in border compositions with other ornamental plants, e.g. shiny and ground sage, Mexican ginseng, marigolds, ever-flowering begonia, border geranium, heliotrope or maruna pyrethrum.

Santolina can also be used to create flowerbed borders, path edges or low, shaped hedges.

The plant can also be grown in containers on balconies and terraces, especially since the strong smell of santolina repels insects.

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Parts used



In folk medicine, santolina is used as a herb that reduces inflammation and improves digestion. It has a beneficial effect on the liver. It is a natural de-wormer.

Therefore, it is used to eliminate intestinal parasites. Externally, it is used in the form of compresses and ointments for minor wounds, insect stings, skin inflammation, rheumatism, joint pain and mycosis.

In addition, santolina can be used as a supplement to treatment for anorexia because it acts as an aperitif.

Santolina also has decongestant and expectorant properties. It is our ally when we have a cold. It also helps regulate menstruation and reduce period pain. Santolina has a moderate sedative effect.

If we have vision problems, such as eye fatigue, conjunctivitis or inflammation, we can also use santolina for these health problems.

In addition, santolina repels moths. The twigs can be hung in wardrobes and placed in drawers. Santolina flowers are very suitable for drying and keep well in vases.

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Culinary uses

Santolina can be used for meat dishes, fish, selected soups and sauces.

Habitat and cultivation

Santolina needs, above all, a warm and sunny position and a permeable, well-drained, low in nutrients, preferably stony and moderately moist soil.

Santolina does not tolerate shade and wet, heavy soil, but it tolerates drought and heat perfectly. It cannot have too fertile soil, because then it will start to grow excessively and lose the silver color of the leaves in favor of green.

During the growing season, it does not need watering because it tolerates drought perfectly or fertilizing because it does not like fertile soil. It also does not need protection against diseases and pests to which it is resistant.

An important step in the cultivation of santolina is its systematic pruning, which helps maintain a nice, compact, dense, hemispherical shape of the plant.

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The procedure is performed even twice a year, otherwise the shrub begins to lose its beauty and acquire an untidy shape, spreading the shoots to the sides.

The most important thing in its case is spring pruning, which is carried out immediately after young growth appears on the shoots, but after the stronger spring frosts have passed.

The plant is then cut quite radically, even to a height of 10-15 cm above the ground, but remember not to cut old wood, because then the shrub may not regenerate and may dry out.

Only if we want abundant flowering, spring pruning may be weaker (shoots are cut to a height of approximately 20 cm above the ground).

We prune the santolina a second time after flowering, but then the treatment should be much more delicate and cosmetic rather than rejuvenating (we only prune the ends of the shoots, maintaining the bushy shape of the shrub).

Usual dosage

We can use santolina as an infusion, in the form of a tincture or externally as a compress for inflammation such as wounds.

Infusion: Boil 5 to 8 flowers in a cup of water. To improve digestion and as a de-wormer, consume up to 3 cups daily.

Tincture: 3 to 4 drops on a small spoon 3 times a day. This is the best way to eliminate internal parasites.

External use - poultices: 5 to 8 flowers are boiled in a cup of water; a cotton pad is moistened with the infusion and then drained well to later be placed on the inflamed areas.

Side effects and cautions

Overdose may cause poisoning. Do not exceed recommended doses.


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