Whether you use it in essential oil or in cooking, lavender offers a wide range of benefits for the nervous system, digestion, and more.
Purple, tiny, fragrant, and oh so calming...lavender. Just saying the word lavender, I conjure up images of violet fields in a sleepy Provence town. Not that I've seen such a place myself, but I can dream, can't I?
This purple plant which is part of the mint family is by far one of my favorites. I happen to have just a few (15 or so, but who's counting) lavender products in my possession. It's like this thing that happens to me anytime I see anything made out of lavender. I have to have it, I don't really care what it is but I know I need it in my life.
Lavender has been widely used in everything from food to sleep treatments to beauty and skin care products. It helps to minimize symptoms of anxiety and depression, relieves stress, helps with wound healing, tension relief, and more.
When I think of lavender, the words calm and relaxation come to mind. The scent of lavender can play a role in reducing nervous system activity. And studies have shown promising findings in using lavender for stress management. This study looks at the effects of lavender inhalation during one of the most stressful times in a woman's life - after childbirth.
Anxiety and Depression treatment
Lavender has been widely used as a natural treatment for anxiety and depression. This double-blind, placebo-controlled study shows that lavender is a good alternative in the treatment of GAD (Generalized Anxiety Disorder). "Since lavender oil showed no sedative effects in our study and has no potential for drug abuse, silexan appears to be an effective and well-tolerated alternative to benzodiazepines for amelioration of generalized anxiety."
Diffusing lavender oil at night has drastically improved my sleep. I'd been skeptical about the benefits until I tried it for myself. "lavender serves as a mild sedative and has practical applications as a novel, nonphotic method for promoting deep sleep in young men and women and for producing gender-dependent sleep effects." I use this diffuser.
Among thyme, rosemary, and cedarwood, lavender oil helps to promote hair growth. This animal study explains that lavender oil improves hair growth and restores hair follicles to their optimal function. Applying lavender oil in combination with carrier oil on a regular basis may promote hair growth.
Try this recipe - Combine:
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon castor oil
- 3 drops lavender oil
- 3 drops peppermint oil
You can store this in a container and massage it onto the scalp and let sit for 20-30 minutes then wash hair as you normally would. The mixture will harden above 72 degrees.
Those who suffer from IBS know the feeling all too well...cramping, bloating and discomfort. Lavender helps to relax the smooth muscle lining the colon. While taking lavender oil internally is acceptable, a preferred form of consuming lavender is through tea.
One of the more surprising benefits of lavender is its use in accelerating wound healing. This study suggests that the use of a lavender oil solution applied for 14 days promotes and speeds up wound healing. "Topical application of lavender oil induced expression of type I and III collagen at 4 days after wounding, accompanied by an increased number of fibroblasts, which synthesize collagen."
Uses for lavender oil
- in the treatment of head lice
- mixed with carrier oil, it reduces diaper rash
- sunburn treatment
- soothes insect bites
- cold sore treatment
- add a few drops to bath water
- as a massage oil for body aches and pains
- relieves athlete's foot
- add 1 drop to unscented lotion
- add 1 drop to 2 tablespoon coconut oil for a calming foot rub
- headache relief
- foot soak
- dandruff remedy
- use as a body scrub in combination with sugar and coconut oil
- room spray - mix 10 drops of lavender with 2 ounces of water in a small spray bottle