Saturday, March 2, 2013

Lavender And Its Many Health Benefits

Besides smelling wonderful, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) actually has many healthful benefits. You'll probably be surprised by how many, I know I was. Used as aromatherapy, a tea, and with dried or fresh buds it can help with a myriad of health issues. Lavender is a calmative, and has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antifungal  and disinfectant properties. It contains antioxidants (polyphenols) and is chock full of phytonutrients for good health.

Lavender oil should always be diluted and used sparingly.  It is very potent.

ANXIETY, STRESS, TENSION, DEPRESSION-  Rub some essential oil into your temples and/or under your nose. Or soak in a hot bath that you've added flower buds or oil.

APPETITE LOSS- Breathing lavender aromatherapy for 15 minutes can stimulate the appetite.

DEMENTIA-  Lavender oil has been found to lower aggressiveness and 'agitated behavior' in dementia patients when used as part of massage therapy.


    a. Alopecia (hair loss): When rubbed into the scalp. Combine with oils of cedarwood, thyme, and rosemary. Could increase hair growth by 44% in 7 months. The WebMD recipe is as follows:

For bald spots (alopecia areata): one study used a combination of essential oils including 3 drops (108 mg) of lavender, 3 drops (114 mg) of rosemary, 2 drops (88 mg) of thyme, and 2 drops (94 mg) of cedarwood, all mixed with 3 mL jojoba oil and 20 mL grapeseed oil. Each night, the mixture is massaged into the scalp for 2 minutes with a warm towel placed around the head to increase absorption.

  b. Dandruff: Steep flowers in hot water, cool, and use as a rinse until the flakes disappear.  You can also add 15 drops of lavender essential oil to 2 tablespoons of almond, olive or white sesame seed oil,  microwave until warm (about 10 seconds or so), massage scalp with the concoction, put on a disposable shower cap, let sit for an hour, then shampoo out.  This also might take a few goes to notice a difference.  You could also add some essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner.

  c. Lice and Nits: Apply oil to a comb and comb through hair. It supposedly kills the nits.

INSOMNIA-  Inhale some lavender essential oil before bed time, or put some on your pillow. You can also steep some lavender flowers in hot water to help relax and promote sleep, drink before bed. Adding some chamomile to the lavender could double the effect. Turn on a diffuser with lavender oil at night. Place a vase of dried lavender next to your bed.

PAIN- When inhaled, it can also help reduce pain, probably by reducing anxiety. Massaged, it can  help with joint pain, and headaches.


   a. Mosquito Bites: Get rid of the itch with essential oil. Dab a few drops of essential oil on the bite, wait 15 minutes.  Then reapply every 6 to 8 hours for 24 hours.  If the skin gets irritated within the first 15 minutes, stop using.

  b. Burns or Irritations: Add some oil to moisturizer or hand lotion, or to some water in a spray bottle.

TUMMY TROUBLES- Add food-grade dried lavender to some yogurt to help with bloating and poor digestion, especially from antibiotic use. The polyphenols help with the bad bacteria in the gut.

Besides the above, it has been known to help with many other ailments including acne, asthma, colic, cuts, flatulence, hay fever,  nausea, vomiting,

SIDE EFFECTS AND INTERACTIONS: Although lavender is generally safe, there are some potential issues you should consider before using.  If you are trying to lose weight, you should probably stay away from lavender since it can stimulate the appetite. It can also cause constipation, headache, and skin irritations. Stop using lavender in any form at least two weeks before a scheduled surgery since it can slow down the central nervous system too much when used in conjunction with general anesthesia.  Apparently, it's also not a good idea to use on  pre-pubescent boys because of hormonal issues: it can cause gynecomastia (abnormal breast growth). It's probably best to not use on any young children. Diabetics should also stay away from lavender use. And as always, pregnant and lactating women should stay away. And here is some important information on interactions.

Unless you know for sure the lavender is safe to ingest, do not take orally.

Please remember always check with your doctor or health practitioner before you use any herbal remedy.

Sources: HuffPo, Marks Daily Apple, Health Cave, WebMD,