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The extraordinary therapeutic benefits of Lavender!
7 wonderful ways that lavender can improve your health and well-being
Lavender is one of the most popular and widely-used plants known to man! The plant's distinct colour and beloved aroma make it difficult to miss and it is commonly found in gardens, cosmetics, herbal remedies, foods and aromatherapy oils! Lavender is so widely-used across the globe because of its massive range of applications and the powerful effects it has on the human body, owed to the potent essential oils found within the plant.
The name 'lavender' is derived from the Latin root 'lavare', which means 'to wash'. The use of lavender dates back to ancient Egypt, where lavender oil was used in the mummification process. Lavender was also used as a bath additive in places like ancient Persia, Greece and Rome! Interestingly, the people believed that lavender helped purify the body and mind. Modern science and biology prove that these ancient people were in fact correct in their beliefs!
In aromatherapy, the essential oil is used to prepare calming and soothing blends, beneficial for both physiological and emotional purposes. Lavender's essential oils are also used for antimicrobial and healing purposes when applied topically. Lavender can also be used in foods and drinks, e.g. in salad dressings, sauces, beverages, teas, and as a flavoring spice for a number of dishes!
Perhaps the most popular use of lavender is aromatic products such as air fresheners, linen sprays, perfumes and in oil burners or diffusers. The combination of herbal yet sweet aromas produced by the lavender plant is unmistakable, comforting and relaxing! Most people adore the scent of lavender; the extraordinary therapeutic benefits of lavender are a major bonus!
In this article, we will cover the following proven therapeutic benefits of lavender:
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Alleviates insomnia
- Soothes and heals certain skin conditions
- Acts as an anti-inflammatory
- Acts as an antiseptic
- Protects heart health
- Soothes digestive complaints
Reduces anxiety and stress
Science has showed that lavender's calming effects are more than just ancient folklore! Researchers believe that the calming effects of lavender are due to a specific compound in lavender, called linalool. Linalool is a fragrant alcohol found in lavender extracts, and many studies have been performed to validate whether linalool is in fact the calming culprit or not!
Japanese researches performed studies on mice and discovered that the linalool odour had an anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect on the mice. They also noted that unlike sedative drugs which are also anxiolytic (e.g. benzodiazepines), linalool safely relaxed the mice without impairing movement or alertness of the mice. Interestingly, mice who had no sense of smell did not benefit from the same anti-anxiety effects, indicating that the relaxation was indeed triggered by olfactory (has to do with the sense of smell) signals evoked by linalool odour - this is exactly how aromatherapy works! Find out more interesting facts about aromatherapy >>
This study, although providing breakthrough evidence to support the therapeutic benefits of aromatherapy, still leaves one question: if linalool produces calming effects via the olfactory organs, how does one reap the benefits when ingesting the compound (through teas, smoothies etc.)? Well, some researchers believe that relaxation seen in mice who were fed or injected with linalool, could be due to the smell of linalool through exhalation (breathing out the compound).
How to use lavender to reduce anxiety and stress:
- Add a few drops of 100% Pure Lavender Essential Oil in the bath for relaxation. You can also rub directly onto temples, use as a burner oil, in a diffuser or as a steam inhalation!
- Find an organic, soothing herbal tea containing lavender. Make yourself a cuppa after a long hard day of work, or whenever you feel your tension building up. We love Yogi Organic Alkaline Herbs Tea!
If you regularly struggle with insomnia, sleep apnea or restless sleep patterns, it can negatively impact your life, job, relationships and health. A healthy sleeping pattern is extremely important! Not too long ago, people suffering from insomnia or other sleep disorders would stuff their pillows with fresh or dried lavender leaves and flowers to help them relax and sleep better!
How to use lavender to alleviate insomnia:
- This beautiful and wonderfully-scented lavender eye mask will help guide you into a deep sleep with sweet dreams! Filled with fresh lavender leaves to help promote relaxation and peace, relieve headaches, tension and stress.
- Place a sachet filled with fresh or dried lavender leaves and flowers next to your bed or under your pillow for a peaceful, deep sleep. This Handmade Lavender Drawer & Pillow Sachet is filled with fragrant lavender flowers, leaves and pure essential lavender oil!
Lavender contains potent antioxidant and analgesic (pain-relieving) properties, which may help relieve headaches, muscular aches, insect bites and wounds! Inflammation is a complex biological process, presenting as redness, heat, swelling, pain, and function-loss. Lavender essential oil has been popularly used for the treatment of various inflammatory diseases, with some studies suggesting that the use of natural products (such as lavender essential oil) may be safer and more effective in treating inflammation since they have fewer side effects than pharmaceutical remedies.
How to use lavender as an anti-inflammatory:
- Add these soothing and calming lavender bath salts to a steaming bath to soothe sore or tense muscles. This lavender bath salt, which also contains magnesium salts, helps to quieten the mind and relieve any stress or anxiety, insomnia or headaches!
Improves skin conditions
Lavender is a popular ingredient used for skin care products, for a variety of skin conditions. In fact, the term 'aromathérapie' (or 'aromatherapy' in English) was coined in 1920 by French chemist, René Maurice Gattefossé ("the father of aromatherapy"), when observing the amazing healing properties of Lavender Essential Oil after burning his hand!
Lavender essential oil has been proven to effectively help treat skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, acne, insect bites, burns and wounds. When essential oils are applied to the skin, the oils are absorbed through the skin, attaching to body fat and fluids, and enter bodily systems to deliver physiological therapeutic effects.
Although many people turn to lavender for relaxation and aromatherapeutic applications, it's also effective for treating infections, wounds and bites! Many people apply crushed lavender leaves or Lavender essential oil on wounds, bites or burns, for fast healing as well as to prevent the development of infection. Lavender is a well-known antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial!
How to use lavender for its antiseptic properties:
- Apply 1 - 2 drops of Lavender essential oil to insect bites, cold sores, skin lesions or wounds.
- Due to these antimicrobial properties, you can also make your own natural house cleaning detergents using Lavender essential oil.
Protects heart health
An interesting 2017 study published in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that when 40 people inhaled Lavender essential oil after open-heart surgery, their blood pressure and heart rate was reduced. Various other studies have also revealed that lavender essential oil decreases blood pressure and heart rate, as well as other vital signs.
The relaxing qualities of lavender help the heart by reducing and easing the tension on blood vessels. This can prevent various problems, thereby lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack!
How to use lavender to improve your cardiovascular health:
- If you suffer from hypertension (high blood pressure) or other cardiovascular issues, get yourself a good quality, flame-free Cold Mist Diffuser for your bedroom, office or any living space. Add a couple of drops of Lavender essential oil daily to help ease or prevent cardiovascular disorders.
Prevents Digestive Issues
The have been found to prevent the development of harmful bacteria and accumulation of gas in the digestive system. Chewing on lavender leaves or drinking lavender tea eases stomach discomfort, relieves cramping and reduces bloating!
How to use lavender to prevent digestive issues:
- Find an organic, soothing herbal tea containing lavender. Make yourself a cuppa after a long hard day of work, or whenever you feel your stomach acting up. We love Yogi Organic Alkaline Herbs Tea!
If you have any questions, please contact our team or leave a comment below for FREE health advice. We always love hearing from you!