When you hear the word lavender, you may immediately think of a lighter shade of purple. But there is more to this plant than its color.
Read on to learn about the potential health benefits of lavender, as well as other potential uses and risks associated with using this herb.
What is lavender?
Lavender is a flowering plant in the mint family, easily recognizable by its sweet floral aroma. It is believed to be native to the Mediterranean, the Middle East, and India, and has a history of 2,500 years.
In ancient times, lavender was used as a sacred herb. Additionally, it was often used to freshen and lightly perfume various personal items such as clothing and hair.
What are the possible health benefits of lavender?
Today, lavender is more than an aromatic plant. As it turns out, this herb is also widely used for medicinal and therapeutic purposes. So if you’re dealing with some health issues of your own and don’t want to risk the nasty side effects of many prescription and over-the-counter medications, here’s a look at the potential health benefits of using lavender.
May help improve sleep
Insomnia is an unbearable problem that keeps you tossing and turning all night. Cutting out caffeine and getting more exercise can help you fall asleep. But sometimes these efforts and other means don’t work. As a result, you end up with a messy daytime mess.
If you’re ready to try something for a restful night’s sleep, a 2017 study of 60 participants found lavender essential oil to be effective in improving sleep quality in intensive care unit (ICU) patients who were having trouble breathing. to sleep.
So if you’ve tried other sleep aids without success, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow before bed. Just don’t eat it, or any other essential oil, as it can pose a health risk.
It can help treat skin blemishes
Several essential oils are also excellent for dermatological use, including lavender. In fact, if you have acne, eczema, or skin inflammation, applying lavender oil to affected areas may help treat blemishes and reduce inflammation, according to a 2017 article, but more rigorous clinical trials are needed. Applying an essential oil directly to the skin can cause irritation, so it’s best to dilute it with water or a carrier oil.
Lavender’s antioxidant activity may also promote wound healing
Just be sure to check with your dermatologist before adding lavender to your skincare regimen to make sure it won’t interact with any medications you’re currently taking.
It can offer a natural remedy for pain
Some people turn to over-the-counter pain relievers for acute or chronic pain. And depending on the severity of the pain, you can ask your doctor for a prescription.
Before going the traditional pain relief route, try aromatherapy with 2% lavender essential oil diluted in water. A small 2014 study found lavender to be an effective remedy for post-operative pain. It can act as a pain reliever because the oil contains linalyl acetate and linalool, anti-inflammatory compounds found in many essential oils.
A 2021 study found that lavender oil, harvested early in the plant’s flowering period, acts as a powerful inhibitor of several types of molecules that cause inflammation.
Meanwhile, other research suggests that lavender aromatherapy can be used during labor to reduce the intensity, but not the duration, of pain.
Decreased blood pressure and heart rate
Chronic high blood pressure puts extra strain on the heart, increasing the risk of health complications such as stroke and heart attack. But a small 2017 study found that when 40 people inhaled diluted lavender essential oil after open-heart surgery, their blood pressure and heart rate dropped, suggesting the oil had a positive effect on their vital signs. (8) However, the authors note that more research is needed on this possible benefit, ie a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard of medical research, with a larger sample size.
May relieve asthma symptoms
Thanks to lavender’s anti-inflammatory effects, it can also help with asthma. A 2014 mouse study found that lavender essential oil has a positive effect on respiratory health by relieving allergic inflammation and mucosal hyperplasia. It is not yet clear if the same effect will be seen in humans.
Reduces hot flashes of menopause
Hot flashes (or hot flashes) are a common symptom of menopause suffered by many women. It causes a sudden feeling of heat throughout the body and may cause facial flushing and sweating.
But according to a 2016 study, lavender aromatherapy for 20 minutes twice a day can help reduce menopausal flare-ups and improve quality of life.
Helps fight fungus
There are also a number of studies that highlight the possible antifungal activity of lavender. Research shows that lavender essential oil can effectively inhibit the growth of certain types of fungi, such as C. albicans. According to previous research, the oil can also be used to treat athlete’s foot and ringworm, both of which are also caused by a fungus.
Potentially promotes hair growth.
In another study, lavender essential oil applied to the back of mice once a day, five times a week for four weeks, resulted in an increase in the number of hair follicles and a thickening of the skin layer. This leads researchers to believe that lavender can be used as a hair growth stimulant, although more research is needed. After all, you are not a mouse.
How does lavender affect stress levels?
Daily stress can affect your mental health. The higher your anxiety level, the higher your risk of headaches, depression, and low energy levels.
The good news is that lavender can help dispel the black cloud hanging over your head and give your mental outlook a much-needed boost. There are many studies showing that lavender has a positive effect on mood, stress, anxiety, and depression.
For example, a 2018 randomized controlled trial found that PMS symptoms improved in women who inhaled lavender essential oil. (14) They experienced less anxiety, depression, and nervousness. Similarly, a 2017 randomized controlled trial found that lavender essential oil reflexology massage treatments provided psychological benefits by reducing both anxiety and depression.
What are some of the different forms of lavender?
Lavender is available in various forms. For example:
Lavender oil nectar, extracted from the flowering plant, is used to create a fragrant oil. Once diluted, the oil can be massaged into the skin, diffused, or applied to a pillow or cotton swab and inhaled for aromatherapy.
Lavender This is a perennial herb with a sweet fragrance. Gives color to the garden and gives off a sweet fragrance.
Lavender capsules or supplements You can also buy lavender as a supplement in capsule form. Take as directed for medicinal benefits – just be sure to talk to your healthcare provider to make sure the supplement doesn’t have any negative interactions with any medications you’re taking. Also, keep in mind that supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Lavender Tea This form of lavender can offer a calming drink that helps relieve anxiety and promote sleep. You can buy lavender tea or make your own by steeping fresh lavender buds in boiling water for 15-20 minutes.
What is the best way to choose and store lavender?
It helps to familiarize yourself with the various botanical names for lavender before purchasing. This way, you’ll choose the right type based on how you plan to use the lawn.
Lavandula stoechas is used for antimicrobial and respiratory problems, but it should be used under the supervision of a trained professional. To help with nervousness, headaches, insomnia, menstrual cramps or respiratory problems, you can choose Lavandula angustifolia. (Eighteen)
On the other hand, Lavandula latifolia can help with headaches, respiratory problems, inflammation, insect bites, muscle or joint pain. However, it should be avoided by children and pregnant women due to its high camphor content. (Eighteen)
Fortunately, you don’t have to remember these specific details when shopping for lavender. The product label should state exactly how to use the oil or supplement, as well as the health benefits of that particular type of lavender.
Also, be sure to look for 100 percent pure therapeutic-grade lavender when using the herb medicinally.
When you buy lavender essential oil, proper storage is important to maintain the herb’s shelf life. (nighteen)
For lavender essential oil, be sure to cap the bottle after each use and store in a cool, dry place. (19) The same goes for lavender supplements or capsules. Discontinue use after the supplement expires.
Tips for planting and caring for lavender
Lavender should be planted in spring. You can wait until summer or fall, but the sooner the better so that the plants are strong enough to survive the coming winter. (twenty)
Ideally, leave 2-3 feet between each plant and avoid planting in areas that receive high moisture. This is a hardy plant, so you only need to water it once or twice a week when the plants start to grow, then prune slowly, watering every two to three weeks. (twenty)
Begin harvesting when about half of the buds open. Trim long stems for easy tying, then set the lavender clusters in a cool, dark place to dry. (twenty)
Other uses for lavender
Insects cause nuisance in the summer and in the hot season. You might be glad to know that lavender can act as a natural insect repellent, repelling various critters like flies, mosquitoes, and moths. (twenty-one)
Also, you can place lavender in different places in your home to refresh a musty smell in a room. It can be a laundry room, a garage and a storage room. Or dab some diluted essential oil on your finger and dab some oil on your neck for natural perfume. (sixteen)
You will discover that lavender is also found in some soaps, lotions, and body washes. These products can leave your skin hydrated and promote a sense of calm and relaxation after bathing. (sixteen)
Surprisingly, dried culinary lavender can also be used in recipes. Experiment with herbs yourself and make a beetroot salad with honey-lavender dressing or lavender-lemon cookies.
Are there any side effects of using lavender that I should be aware of?
Lavender has not been approved by the FDA, so it is important to be aware of any potential health risks or side effects of using this herb.
For example, you shouldn’t drink lavender oil because it can be poisonous if ingested. Symptoms of poisoning can include difficulty breathing, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you prefer to take lavender orally, be sure to purchase lavender supplements and take them as directed.
Please note that some people are sensitive to lavender and may experience an upset stomach, joint pain, or headache after use.
While lavender is good for the skin, there is a risk of an allergic reaction or skin irritation. Signs of a reaction include bumps, redness, or burning. Discontinue use if you have signs of sensitivity or reaction.
There is also evidence that repeated use of lavender causes a rare condition called pubertal gynecologist, which is an increase in breast tissue in boys before puberty.
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