The divine smell of lavender is known to almost everyone, but did you also know that it's packed with medicinal benefits - it treats anxiety, stress and insomnia, it's amazing for the skin and hair and helps your digestion work better!
When someone mentions lavender, you probably imagine the rolling purple hills of France or the beautiful, sweet fragrance found in so many products. But, did you know that lavender is beneficial for many of the problems we face everyday, and a essential ingredient to have in your kitchen and medicine cabinet? Here's a short overview on the benefits of this purple flower:
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. This is why even smelling your lavender tea can bring a smile on your face, and relax your tense mind and body.
Lavender has been proven as effective at treating anxiety as its pharmaceutical counterparts, without any negative side-effects or withdrawal symptoms.
Using this gentle, sweet herb can help relax and bring joy to anyone struggling with anxiety, stress, restless and nervous body and mind, but also for more serious problems, like postnatal depression and PTSD.
Because of lavender's sedative and calming properties, it works to improve sleep and treat insomnia. It is one of the most well known and appreciated benefits of lavender so if you suffer from restless nights, inability to sleep or wake up often during the night, then adding lavender to your life can help you to have a full night's sleep. It increases the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep helping you to feel 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 protects scrapes and wounds from infection, while allowing them heal.
Lavender has a well documented history of effectively treating burns and scalds as well. It's 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 by using this herb. An interesting benefit is that Lavender gently inhibits the growth of pathogens, but 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 for the shine, strength and growth of your hair as well as treating dandruff.
If you are one of the millions of people struggling with tension or migraine headaches, lavender may just be the natural remedy you’ve been looking for. It relieves tension and relaxes your body and muscles - make a warm cup of tea and inhale the smell before you drink it, or rub a few drops of the tincture to your temples.
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.
Dosage and preparation:
Tea - Pour a cup of hot (not boiled) water over 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes. Drink 3 times a day.
Tincture - 20 to 30 drops, 3 times a day.
Herbal bath - Make a stronger batch of tea (1-2 tablespoons to 1l of water) and add it to your bath water to treat your body, skin and mind to a relaxing time-out from every day stress.
Dandruff remedy - Make an extra strong batch of tea, let it cool, and use as a scalp rinse to remedy dandruff. This cooled tea recipe also doubles as an after-sun spray (for this use, try combining it with comfrey, chamomile and echinacea.
Inside a pillow or mask - Add the dried flowers to homemade buckwheat pillows or sleep masks to help promote relaxing sleep.
Laundry or drawer freshener - sew the dried flowers into small satchels and use them in place of dryer sheets in the dryer. (Great project for kids!)
Infused vinegar – Infuse vinegar with the dried flowers for use in cooking or as a skin toner (diluted).
Air freshener – Simmer the dried herb in a pot of water with some citrus peels for a natural air freshener!
Face scrub – The dried flowers and oatmeal makes for a gentle, fragrant face scrub.
Cooking – Lavender flowers are actually a part of the recipe for Provence spice blend.
The taste: You can make pure lavender tea, but the taste is often too intense for some people. Although it has a lovely sweet aroma, it can become bitter if left too long in the water, or if the water is too hot (a bit before boiling is the best). Also, try mixing it with peppermint and chamomile to balance out the flavors and get a delicious, refreshing, flowery drink with a ton of benefits!
Disclaimer: Information on this website is based on research from the internet, books, articles and studies and/or companies selling herbs online. Statements in this website have not necessarily been evaluated and should not be considered as medical advice. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. for diagnosis or treatment consult your physician.Use herbs in moderation and watch for allergic reactions.If you are taking any other medication, are pregnant, breast feeding or suffering from a medical condition and/or are at all concerned about any of the advice or ingredients consult your doctor before taking the herbs.Remember that diet, exercise and relaxation are equally important to your health..
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.
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, and jars have been recovered from tombs filled with oils and salves made with lavender.
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.
Lavender has been loved and used by people to relax and calm the mind - pillows were stuffed with dried lavender flowers, so important was this herb for a good night's sleep - there are even reports that Queen Elizabeth I often drank lavender tea to treat her frequent migraines.
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.
Nearly forty plants with the mint family are technically classified as lavender, although the most common form is Lavandula angustifolia, on which the famous purple color “lavender” is based.
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