The Wonder of Lavender

Since ancient times, lavender has been adored for its soft, floral fragrance and its remarkable versatility.  Originally from the Mediterranean regions, lavender now thrives worldwide. Pure lavender is an evergreen shrub of the mint family (Lamiaceae) that grows in clumps and has fragrant, lilac to bluish flowers and gray-green spiky leaves.  It is also referred to as English lavender, although it becomes wild in France.  The truest of the pure lavender hails from the higher altitudes of Provence.  France remains the primary producer of this luxurious plant.

When you hear the word “lavender,” you might immediately think of a lighter shade of purple. But there’s more to this herb than its color.

In ancient times, lavender was used as a holy herb. Additionally, it was often used to freshen up and give a light scent to a variety of personal items, such as clothes and hair.

Today, lavender is more than just a fragrant plant. As it turns out, this herb is also commonly used for medicinal and therapeutic benefits. So, if you’re dealing with a few medical issues of your own, and you don’t want to risk the unpleasant side effects that come with many over-the-counter and prescription medicines, here’s a look at the potential health perks of using lavender.

May Help Improve Sleep

Insomnia is a nagging problem that keeps you tossing and turning throughout the night. Cutting out caffeine and getting more exercise might help induce sleep. But sometimes these efforts and other remedies don’t work. As a result, you end up a groggy mess in the daytime. If you’re willing to try anything for a restful night’s sleep, lavender essential oil to be an effective remedy in improving the sleep quality of intensive care unit (ICU) patients who had difficulty sleeping. Place a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow before going to sleep tonight. Just be sure not to ingest it, or any other essential oil, for that matter, as doing so may pose health harms.

Help Treat Skin Blemishes

A variety of essential oils are also excellent for dermatology use, including lavender. If you have acne, eczema, or skin inflammation, applying lavender oil to affected areas may play a role in treating blemishes and ease inflammation.

Offer a Natural Remedy for Pain

Some people reach for over-the-counter pain relievers when dealing with acute or chronic pain. And depending on the severity of pain, you might seek a prescription from your doctor.

Before going the traditional route to help ease pain, try aromatherapy with 2 percent lavender essential oil that is diluted in water. One study found lavender to be an effective remedy for postoperative pain. It can function as a pain reliever because the oil contains linalyl acetate and linalool — anti-inflammatory components that are found in many essential oils.

Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Rate

Chronic high blood pressure puts added stress on the heart, increasing the risk of health complications like stroke and heart attack. The inhaled lavender essential oil can reduce their blood pressure and heart rate, suggesting the oil had a positive effect on their vital signs.

Relieve Asthma Symptoms

Because of the anti-inflammatory effects of lavender, it may also improve bronchial asthma. Lavender essential oil had a positive impact on respiratory health, relieving allergic inflammation, and mucus hyperplasia.

The good news is that lavender may help lift the black cloud hanging over your head and give your mental outlook a much-needed pick-me-up. There’s plenty of research that suggests lavender has positive effects on mood, stress, anxiety, and depression.

What Are Some of the Different Forms of Lavender?

Lavender Oil

Nectar extracted from the flowering plant is used to create a fragrant oil. The oil can be massaged into the skin, placed in a diffuser, or applied to a pillow or cotton swab and inhaled for aromatherapy.

Lavender Plant

this is a sweetly scented perennial plant. It adds color to a garden and gives off a sweet aroma.

Lavender Capsules or Supplements

You can also purchase lavender as a supplement in capsule form. Take as directed for medicinal benefits — be sure to work with your healthcare provider to ensure the supplement won’t have harmful interactions with any medication you’re taking. Also, I know that supplements aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Lavender Tea

this form of lavender, can offer a calming beverage that helps ease anxiety and promotes sleep. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s MyPlate guidelines lists lavender tea as a healthy addition to your meal plan. You can purchase lavender tea or make your own by steeping fresh lavender buds in boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Other Uses for Lavender

Bugs are a nuisance during the summer and warmer months. You might be happy to learn that lavender may act as a natural bug repellent, keeping away a variety of critters, like flies, mosquitoes, and moths.

Also, you can place lavender in different areas around the house to help freshen the smell of a stale room. Lavender can be placed in the laundry room, the garage, and closets; or dab a little bit of the essential oil on your finger and rub around your neck for a natural perfume or a few drops in a diffuser.

Surprisingly, dried culinary lavender can also be used in recipes. Lavender flowers are most commonly used in dessert recipes, but as you progress in cooking with lavender, you will discover it is also an outstanding addition to savory recipes.

Lavender is much more than just pretty & calming. It is one of the most powerful remedies in the plant world, offering both physical and emotional relief for many.

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