Since being used as part of the mummification process in ancient Egypt, lavender has had a rich history of use. Not only have many people used them for mental and physical health, but lavender has been used in the culinary arts. Many people grow lavender in their homes or office.
While some people swear by the medicinal properties of lavender, others don’t experience the same effects. There have been several scientific studies with varying results. You will need to experience lavender for yourself to see if you receive any of the plant’s benefits.
This post will cover the potential benefits of lavender and how it has been used as tea, an oil, or through aromatherapy.
How Lavender is Used
When shopping for lavender, it is important to remember that different plants have slightly different compounds and may aid in different things. Read about each product and what the potential benefits may be to ensure you are getting what you need from it. You should also follow the proper instructions when storing each product.
Currently, there is no daily allotment for lavender use and many people use it throughout the day in a variety of ways. Those who have allergies to the plant should most likely avoid other products associated with it.
The following are common ways that people use lavender in their day-to-day lives:
Lavender is often used in aromatherapy through diffusing or apply essential oils. When trying this out for yourself, it is important to use high-quality oil that has been tested. Many sites will publish batch reports to ensure quality. Reputable brands include Simply Earth, Eden’s Garden, and Plant Therapy. When using essential oils, it is a good idea to consult an expert beforehand so that you used them correctly.
Lavender tea can be purchased in individual packets, but you can also use clean lavender flowers. Pour hot water over them and allow the tea to steep for 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t like the taste of lavender but still need to take it internally (check with your physician to ensure it doesn’t negatively interact with any other medications you’re on), you can take lavender pills or supplements. You should also note that lavender pills and supplements aren’t always checked by the FDA, so ensure that you purchase from a reputable seller.
Lavender can easily be grown both indoors and outdoors. With it readily available, you can gather the long stems and flowers to your heart’s content.
Lavender and Mental Health
There have been several studies that have showcased the benefits of lavender and mental health (though many avid lavender lovers have stated that these studies weren’t strictly necessary). The effects of the plant’s properties can improve a mood overall, decrease stress, and help people overcome depression.
Here are a few ways that lavender can help your mental health:
Many people diffuse lavender oil to feel a sense of calm. They can settle in and relax, allowing the anxiety to leave their body. There have also been studies that reflexology massages with the essential oil can also reduce both depression and anxiety. Another study showed that dental patients who breathed in diffused lavender were less anxious in general than those who did not.
In 2015, a study of ICU patients showed that lavender oil aided in their ability to sleep and relax. Lavender has been often used throughout history to assist people with insomnia to get better sleep at night. People have done everything from stuffing lavender into their pillowcases, diffusing the oil next to their bed, or drinking a cup of lavender tea. Some will massage the oil into their skin to relax from a hard day and prepare for sleep.
It is important to understand that using lavender to soothe your anxiety or depression should not replace proper mental health treatment. You should always consult your doctor or a mental health professional if you experience extreme symptoms of stress and anxiety.
Lavender and Physical Health
There have been several scientific studies conducted that have found some physical benefits of using lavender. You should note that not all of the studies were conducted on humans and there are several home remedies that haven’t been verified by science as of yet.
Many have claimed that lavender has relieved a number of physical symptoms, such as nausea, headaches, and toothaches. Some have even stated that lavender use lessoned the effects of dementia Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few of the other physical benefits that are often associated with lavender:
Some people who struggle with bronchial asthma may experience some relief when using lavender. This thought is based on a 2014 study on mice where it was found that lavender oil improved respiratory health.
A study conducted in 1999 found that mice and rats experience an immediate relief from allergies when encountering lavender. Many home remedies for allergies include a mixture of lavender, peppermint, and lemon for relief. Lavender is a natural antihistamine.
Due to its possible antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender is often used to soothe minor burns. This will include some sunburns. It can also be used for relief from some bug bites.
According to a study conducted in 2006, topically applying lavender oil, clary sage oil, and rose oil effectively decreased the pain of menstrual cramps. The study used 67 women split into a control group, a placebo group, and a group that received aromatherapy. Others state that inhaling the lavender scent for the first three days may relieve backache.
Many women experience emotional mood swings before their monthly periods. No PSM treatment will affect all women the same, but many have found some solace through using lavender.
Many cancer patients have stated that using lavender has helped them better manage some of the side effects of cancer treatments. It is used to help relieve some of the stress and nausea and can also reduce some of the pain. While some people claim that cancer can help cure cancer, there is currently no scientific evidence to back up this claim.
Many people experience pain relief (from both acute or chronic pain) when using lavender topically, either diluted or in a bath. It is thought that the pain relief comes from the anti-inflammatory components linalyl acetate and linalool in lavender oil.
Many people have used lavender to fight athlete’s foot as well as some other fungal infections. Results have varied and the effectiveness hasn’t been entirely proven.
Lavender and Skin/Hair Care
For many, lavender (as well as other essential oils) plays a critical role in their skin and hair. Lavender has helped people with acne, skin inflammation, and eczema as well as helped people avoid hair loss. You should always check with your dermatologist before adding lavender or any essential oil to your skin-care routine.
Some have even used it near wounds to soothe the area and improve healing. Some studies on rats have shown that lavender can accelerate the speed at which a wound can heal when applied nearby.
Here are a few things that lavender is often credited to helping:
In 1998, a study concluded that a carrier oil containing lavender, rosemary, thyme, and cedarwood oil was effective in helping people with alopecia aerate to regrow their hair over a period of several months. The oils were topically rubbed into the patches that had lost the hair. It is unknown which of the oils were the most effective in the study.
Another study used mice to determine that regular lavender use increased the number of hair follicles on applied areas. It is debated whether or not lavender benefits humans in the same way.
Many sufferers of these skin conditions have seen some benefits through the use of lavender oil. That being said, you should it in an isolated area before applying it everywhere (and ask your dermatologist for more information before use). Make sure to properly follow the instructions given with the product, especially if you have sensitive skin.
Some parents have used lavender oil that has been greatly diluted into a gentle carrier oil to reduce diaper rash on their infants.
Lavender and Home Benefits
As a popular scent, lavender is used in many homes around the world. The good news is that there may be some possible benefits to including it as part of your decor. Here are just a few:
Lavender may work to repel unwanted pests from in and around your home. Many people have seen results in keeping away mosquitoes, flies, flees. and moths.
Lavender is a popular additive to many soaps, shampoos, and conditioners. While the essential oil isn’t always used in commercial brands, you can always add a few drops to a bottle to increase the possible health benefits to your regimen. Many people feel relaxed after a lavender-infused bath.
Wiping down surfaces in your home, using a diffuser, or simply creating a home spray including the oil can help your home smell fresher. You can also experiment by placing sachets of lavender flowers in your drawers or the corners of some rooms.
Though Lavender is an acquired taste, many people have gone beyond tea and have added the plant to their favorite recipes.
Lavender Side Effects And Cautions
As with anything, there are a few things you should be cautious about. While many people swear by its benefits, those who have allergies to the plant should stay away. You should also ensure that you only use products with the herb in the recommended way. Here are a few things you know:
Never Drink Lavender Oil
Unfortunately, there are some people who will tell you that it is okay to drink some “special brands” of oils, however, most (if not all) aromatherapists will not recommend this practice. Drinking lavender oil, even in small amounts, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and make it difficult for your to breathe. If you want to take lavender orally, stick to teas or supplements.
Make sure that you dilute any oils if you have sensitive skin. You should also start off any new regime slowly to ensure that you can stop if you have a negative reaction (such as bumps on your skin or a burning sensation).
While rare, frequent lavender use has been linked to some cases of prepubertal gynecomastia. This condition will enlarge the breast tissue in prepubescent boys.