Lavender has been used for centuries as a remedy for anxiety and depression. It has a complex mix of active components including "terpenes" - small molecules that are absorbed into the bloodstream via the nose or lungs. They are so small that they easily cross the blood/brain barrier and have an impact on neurological processes.
Lavender has been proven as effective at treating anxiety as its pharmaceutical counterparts. In a study published in the journal "Phytomedicine", it was shown that lavender helps with restless, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
Lavender oil is comprised mainly of linalyl acetate and linalool - phytochemicals that are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. Research shows that these compounds inhibit several neurotransmitters causing a sedative and anxiolytic effect.
If you suffer from restless nights then Lavender has been proven to increase the time to awaken after first falling asleep. One study showed that Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in all of the group tested, and all of the individuals reported feeling more refreshed and energetic the next morning.
Lavender has very powerful antiseptic properties. Applying it to wounds can not only increase cell growth causing the wound to heal faster, but it also decreases the appearance of scars. The anti-microbial action of Lavender Oil protects scrapes and wounds from infection, while allowing them heal.
Lavender has a well documented history of effectively treating burns and scalds as well. Its pain relieving properties, combined with its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it an effective burn treatment that stimulates the cells to regenerate more quickly, and prevent scarring.
An easy, mobile way to always take care of your skin is to fill a spray bottle with lavender flowers. When your skin is feeling dry or irritated, simply spray some of the infused water on the area and enjoy the quick relief that it provides. This can also work for chronic conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.
Lavender has long been used as a digestive aid. It improves the motility of intestinal tract, allowing food to pass through more readily. Gastric juice production, including bile, is increased which improves digestion and nutrient absorption. Colic, vomiting, and flatulence can all be helped through the use of this herb. An interesting benefit is that Lavender gently inhibits the growth of pathogens, but according to one study, it doesn't harm beneficial bacteria. How it distinguishes between harmful and beneficial bacteria is a still a mystery.
As a digestive aid, lavender can be taken as a tea.
If you suffer from hair loss or any other condition that affects the quality of your hair, lavander is your fragrant herbal friend. You can add the tincture to your hair mask or shampoo, or make a strong tea and rinse out your hair with it. It works wonders with the shine, strength and growth of your hair as well as treating dandruff.
The relaxing qualities of lavender, which come from its organic compounds and antioxidants, also help the heart by gently reducing blood pressure and easing the tension on blood vessels. This can prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems, thereby lowering the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Nearly forty plants with the mint family are technically classified as lavender, although the most common form is Lavandula angustifolia, on which the color “lavender” is based.
Lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years, with its name coming from the Latin root “lavare”, meaning “to wash”. It most likely earned its name because it was frequently used in baths to purify the body and spirit.
Lavender was used by the Ancient Egyptians for embalming and cosmetics, jars have been recovered from tombs filled with unguents containing this herb. These were only used by royal families and priests in massage oils and medicines. When King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1923, there was said to be a faint scent of lavender that could still be detected an incredible 3,000 years later.
Queen Elizabeth I is reported to have drunk Lavender tea to treat her frequent migraines, with its history of traditional use ranging from the treatment of lice to use as a sleep aid and a calming restorative. Lavender has been used for millenia to relax and calm the mind - pillows were stuffed with dried lavender flowers, so important was this herb deemed to be for a good night's sleep.
Lavender is probably the most well known medicinal herb. Originally from France and the western Mediterranean, lavender is now cultivated world wide. The Romans were responsible for the spread of Lavender throughout Europe and used Lavender in the famous Roman bath houses.
The reason that it is so widely used is its massive range of applications, from food and fragrance to cosmetics and herbal medicines; this plant is full of essential oils that can have powerful effects on the human body and has the most unique and beloved scents in the world.
As a culinary element, it is used in salad dressings, honey, sauces, beverages, various teas, and as a flavoring spice for a number of cultural dishes. Lavender essential oil is highly sought after and widely available.
Preparation: Lavender tea is very strong, although it has a delicious aroma and flavor. It is recommended to make it mixed with other herbs. Peppermint, chamomile, black, green and white tea go well with it, but you can use any herb you like and experiment with the flavors and benefits of combinations. A pinch or a few flowers is enough per cup, but you can adjust it to your flavor.
You can also prepare a strong lavender tea and use it to wash out your hair, skin or add it to your bath. Add the flowers to your pillows or make small satchels to put in your wardrobe. Simmer the dried herb in a pot of water with some citrus peels for a natural air freshener!
FDA Disclaimer: These statements and products have not been evaluated by the FDA. They are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. If you have a health concern or condition, consult a physician. Always consult a medical doctor before modifying your diet, using any new product, drug, supplement, or doing any new exercises.
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