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Health Benefits and Uses of Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender is much loved for its delightful aroma and relaxing properties. Lavender, or lavandula angustifolia to differentiate from its mint family relatives, has been used for centuries to treat a wide variety of complaints and ailments.

Health Benefits of Lavender

Below are just some of the many benefits of and uses for lavender.

1. Improves Sleep

Lavender can be used to help treat insomnia, sleep apnea, and general restlessness. Brew some lavender flowers in hot water, steep, strain, then drink up. Lavender tea helps induce relaxation, calm the nervous system, and clear the mind, which makes it extremely helpful in improving sleep quality. Lavender can also be utilized via essential oil and aromatherapy.

2. Antiseptic

Lavender naturally contains antiseptic properties, making it an effective remedy for infections. Crushed lavender leaves can be applied directly to the site of wounds to expedite the healing and recovery process, all while preventing infection.

3. Healthy Hair

Adding some lavender to your shampoo can help address hair loss, dry scalp, and dry, lifeless hair. You can usually find a bottle of organic lavender-based shampoo, or you can make your own at home. Steep some lavender flowers in a pot of boiling water as if you were making tea. Once the “tea” has cooled, apply it to your hair. This natural shampoo will clean your hair without stripping it of its natural nutrients.

4. Reduce Stress and Anxiety

To relieve stress, you can simply grind the leaves and flowers of a lavender plant between your fingers, then apply to your temples. This remedy will relax the mind and body, alleviating stress and anxious thoughts. You can achieve a similar calming effect by brewing yourself a nice cup of fresh lavender tea.

5. Fights Inflammation

Add some lavender flowers to your warm bath for some all-over anti-inflammatory benefits. You can also add a small amount of pure lavender essential oil to your bath. Lavender will relax and soothe sore muscles as well as address other areas of inflammation.

6. Skin Care

Lavender is an excellent skin nourisher and moisturizes without being too heavy. Add some lavender flowers to a spray bottle filled with water, and mist over dry, irritated skin when needed. This can not only treat dryness, but also conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

7. Digestive Aid

There are certain polyphenols in lavender that help regulate the balance of bacteria in your gut. By helping the good bacteria keep the bad bacteria in check, lavender reduces gas, bloating, cramping, and other digestive issues.

8. Heart Health

Because lavender has such calming and relaxing properties, it may also reduce your risk of heart disease. Lavender may reduce blood pressure, therefore preventing atherosclerosis and other heart issues.

How to Use Lavender

  • Lavender can be dried and used as a tea when steeped in hot water (not boiling) for a few minutes, honey may be added to this.
  • A tincture of lavender can be used to help with sleep and relaxation.
  • Sunburns or other burns can soothed by adding a few drops of the lavender essential oil to a bottle of cold water and sprayed into the burns. Another version of the spray can be made by brewing the dried lavender herbs into a strong tea which can also be used as a scalp rinse to help dandruff and dry scalp ailments.
  • To make a relaxing bath, add a cup of the strong lavender tea or a few drops of the essential oil along with a cup of Epsom salts to running water and soak as long as needed or desired.
  • Smelling lavender and peppermint oils relieve headaches, as well as rubbing the oils on the temples.
  • Topically, the lavender essential oil can be used to help with skin irritations or acne.
  • Dried lavender can be simmered in a pot of water with citrus peels to make a natural air freshener.

Knowing now how useful lavender is, you may want to plant your own lavandula angustifolia in your yard so that you always have some on hand. Whether you enjoy a cup of lavender tea to help you fall asleep or make yourself a bottle of lavender shampoo, this is one plant that is good to keep around.

Caution

It is okay to ingest lavender in very small amounts, but it should be used with caution, as there are some negative side effects such as constipation, headaches, and increased appetite. Young boys and pregnant women should not use lavender in an invasive manner because it has been said to affect hormones. Lavender has sometimes been thought to cause gynecomastia (growth of excess breast tissue) in boys before puberty by suppressing male hormones.

Taking lavender with other sedatives can be dangerous by causing extreme sleepiness, while depressants should also not be taken with lavender. Chloral Hydrate may also cause extreme drowsiness when used in conjunction with lavender.

Take into consideration the concentration of the essential oil prior to using topical or for inhalation purposes, as lavender essential oil should not be ingested at all.

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