Lavender health benefits include relaxation, antiseptic properties, and helping sleep issues. It’s one of my favorite herbs and one you can easily grow in most climates.
Since ancient times, lavender has been cultivated for its attractive flowers and sweet scent. Flowers, leaves, and stems of common lavender are all aromatic. Native to the Mediterranean, lavender is now cultivated worldwide. It is used in perfumes, aromatherapy, teas, and herbal medicine. Lavender’s healing properties are legendary. Whether you simply enjoy the fragrance or try lavender oil for its many benefits, lavender is one herbal remedy everyone can try and growing lavender is fairly easy in most temperate gardens.
Lavender Health Benefits
Ancient Greek and Roman elite used lavender to scent their bath waters. The name lavender literally means “to wash”. Lavender’s legendary ability to stimulate relaxation lends itself to aromatherapy. Aromatherapists use lavender oils, massaged into the skin or in scented products such as candles, to impart a feeling of relaxation. Some studies suggest that lavender’s scent helps reduce anxiety, although according to Medline Plus, results of scientific studies on lavender’s effects on anxiety demonstrate mixed results.
As a cure for insomnia, lavender’s scientific study results are mixed. Lavender sachets, tucked into a pillowcase, not only make bed linens smell suite, but they are also said to enhance relaxation and induce sleep. Since there are few if any side effects unless one is allergic to lavender, it may be worthwhile to try it.
Many herbalists recommend lavender as an antibacterial agent. When used with other antibacterial natural remedies, such as tea tree oil, lavender can impart powerful antibacterial effects. It can be used in a carrier oil or as part of a lavender-scented warm water compress for splinters, pimples, or boils. Not only will it sweetly scent the water, it will also help kill any bacteria creating an infection.
Other Lavender Health Benefits
Lavender is also used in herbal medicine to relieve headaches. A cool washcloth, soaked in water infused with lavender and applied to the forehead, may reduce headaches.
Drink Your Lavender – Tea
Lavender has also been used throughout the ages as a cooking ingredient, flavoring fancy desserts. Today, lavender is sometimes added to black tea mixes to create an unusual flavor combination.
Whether you cultivate lavender in the garden to enjoy the scented breezes and dainty purple flowers, or purchase bottles of lavender oil to add to use as an herbal and natural remedy, lavender is one of the most popular herbal remedies. It’s generally safe, although the National Institute of Health cautions it may interact with some sedative medications. Pure lavender oil, applied to the skin, may also be too caustic and cause irritation. Lavender health benefits offer simple remedies for some common ailments.
Jeanne Grunert is a certified Virginia Master Gardener and the author of several gardening books. Her garden articles, photographs, and interviews have been featured in The Herb Companion, Virginia Gardener, and Cultivate, the magazine of the National Farm Bureau. She is the founder of The Christian Herbalists group and a popular local lecturer on culinary herbs and herbs for health, raised bed gardening, and horticulture therapy.