Lavender and its health benefits
What is Lavender?
The popular flowering plant lavender, scientifically known as Lavandula, is a native of the Mediterranean region.
It is manufactured and eaten globally for a variety of purposes. There is information to learn about lavender, whether you are an expert who wants to learn more or a beginner who is interested in the exciting plant.
- It is a member of the mint family, along with other herbs including rosemary, oregano, and thyme.
- The Latin word “lavare,” which means “to wash,” is the source of the English word “lavender.” Because of its calming and purifying effects, the Romans used it is in their bathwater.
- It was used for both mummification and perfume in ancient Egypt.
- Lavender was utilized to prevent the Black Death throughout the Middle Ages because it was thought to have antibacterial qualities.
- It is believed to relax the nervous system and benefit stress and anxiety.
What are the various forms of lavender, and how to use it?
Lavender essential oil
- One of the most common types is this one, made from flowers via steam distillation; it can be infused into massage oils, added to bathwater, or diffused aroma to promote relaxation in an area. ,
- It is produced by drying the flowers, and cooking frequently uses it. Tea may be brewed using it as well.
- It is used in baking and cooking, especially for sweets. Additionally, it can be used to make vinegar or honey.
- This essential oil distillation procedure residue is the mild, aromatic water that may be used as a body spray, face toner, or bath additive ,
Functions of lavender
- The essential oil is a favorite for aromatherapy because of its well-known calming and sedating qualities.
- It’s a vast medical history dates back to the dawn of humanity. Since it is believed to have anti-septic and anti-inflammatory properties, it can be used to treat severe burns, insect bites, and other skin irritations.
- It may be used in various culinary recipes, from sweet to savory, and has a sweet, flowery flavor. Lemon, honey, and other herbs like rosemary and thyme go well with it.
Beauty and cosmetics
- It is widely used in shampoos, lotions, and other cosmetic and aesthetic goods. Acne, eczema, and other skin diseases can benefit from its antibacterial and antifungal qualities.
Household and cleaning
- It may be used as a natural air freshener or to add a few drops of essential oil to your laundry to refresh the air in your house. As a result of its inherent antibacterial qualities, it may also be used as a cleaning agent.
Health benefits of lavender
It has been used for medical purposes for ages, and contemporary scientific study has validated several advantages. Here are a few examples:
Relief from anxiety and stress
- Its essential oil is renowned for relaxing and has been proven to help individuals feel less stressed and anxious. It can be used topically or in aromatic therapy to promote relaxation.
- There is evidence that it helps people have better sleep and experience less insomnia. It is a popular option for people who have trouble falling asleep because of its calming effects, which may promote better sleep.
- It can lessen pain and inflammation since it has natural analgesic effects. It has been shown to ease headaches, menstrual cramps, and other aches and pains.
Pregnancy and labor
- Lavender oil is one of the most acceptable oils, according to midwives who have been trained to use it during labor and delivery. It has painkilling, anti-inflammatory, calming, and relaxing properties, lowers tension and anxiety, and might aid with perineal pain.
- Colds and coughs, among other respiratory conditions, have been treated with it. Because of its anti-inflammatory qualities, breathing may be more accessible by reducing respiratory system inflammation.
- It successfully treats skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and acne. It can also be used to speed up healing and minimize the appearance of scars.
- It has been employed to treat digestive issues like gas, bloating, and nausea. Better digestive health may result from reducing inflammation in the digestive tract.
Precautions to be taken before use
When taken in moderation, lavender is usually considered harmless, but like any drug, it can negatively affect certain people. Before using lavender, you should follow these safety precautions:
- You may also be sensitive to lavender if you have allergies, particularly to plants in the Lamiacea family (including mint, sage, and rosemary).
- A patch test should always be performed to check for a response.
Breastfeeding and Pregnancy
- It is advised to avoid it during these periods because there is insufficient evidence of its safety in pregnant and breastfeeding women.
- Before applying an essential oil to your need to properly dilute it, undiluted oils can adversely affect the skin and other organs.
- Always buy lavender products of the highest caliber from reliable vendors. Products of low quality may be contaminated or be deficient in the essential active ingredients.
- Children could be more sensitive to essential oils and other compounds than adults. It is typically advised to take caution and avoid using essential oils on newborns younger than three months old.
- It needs to be diluted with a carrier oil (such coconut or jojoba) to prevent irritating the skin.
- To avoid unintentional consumption, use a small quantity for inhalation.
- Undiluted lavender oil used straight to the skin can imitate it and make it red and itchy. Before applying lavender oil to the skin, dilute it with carrier oil.
- Lavender allergies can cause symptoms including hives, wheezing, and swelling of the cheeks, lips, tongue, or throat in some people.
Nausea and diarrhea
- It may cause nausea, vomiting, and stomach distress. Consuming essential oils is necessary only if a healthcare expert is supervising you.
- Although it’s frequently used to treat headaches, it can occasionally worsen them or trigger migraines.
Effects of hormones
- It includes substances that might mimic estrogen and cause some people’s hormonal balance to become unbalanced.
- When administered in large quantities, it has a calming effect and might make you drowsy.
Interaction with medicines
There are potential interactions with medicines that you should be aware of:
- It could intensify the sedative effects of drugs, including benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep aids. If you are taking any of these, speaking with your doctor before using lavender is crucial.
Blood thinning drugs
- It is not advised to combine it with medications with the same properties, such as aspirin or warfarin, since it may have blood-thinning effects.
- It may interact with antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and have adverse effects like sleepiness more likely.
- It may have estrogenic effects, and using it with hormone therapies, such as birth control pills or hormone replacement, is not recommended.
- It may lower blood sugar levels, and taking it with anti-diabetic medications is not recommended, as it may increase the risk of hypoglycemia.
- With a long history of usage, lavender is a popular and versatile herb.
- It’s necessary to keep in mind that you should always test a tiny amount before taking it often because some individuals may be allergic.
- Overall, it’s a valuable and attractive herb that may enhance your life with joy, relaxation, and a dash of natural beauty.