What Are the Possible Benefits of Lavender?
When you hear the word "lavender," it's easy to picture the colour purple. But there's more to this herb than its beautiful flower.
Don't just read on to learn about the many health benefits of lavender—smell it, too. The aromatic herb is a popular ingredient in lotions, teas and essential oils. Still, studies show it also has other potential benefits such as reducing stress, relieving pain and lowering blood pressure. Regardless of someone's specific ailment or need, they should always consult their doctor before taking any medication or supplement.
What Exactly Is Lavender?
Lavender is a flowering plant found in various types of mint families. It's also known as Lavandula and is believed to originally hail from the Mediterranean, Middle East, India, and Europe. Lavender itself has been around since Ancient Greek times 2,500 years ago!
In ancient times, lavender was considered a holy herb and a necessity of life. During that time, lavender added fragrance and hygiene to many personal items, such as clothes and hair.
What Are Possible Health Benefits of Lavender?
Lately, there has been a lot of talk about the benefits of lavender. Today, more than ever, we see first-hand how it plays a role in keeping us healthy. So whether you're dealing with serious health concerns or a few minor ones of your own and often find yourself looking for alternatives to conventional medicines that might come with unpleasant side effects. You might want to consider looking at how this herb can benefit you – so read on!
May Help Improve Sleep
Insomnia is a nagging problem that keeps you tossing and turning throughout the night. Although cutting out caffeine and getting more exercise might help induce sleep, these efforts often prove rudimentary for some with insomnia, who require additional remedies to find relief. But when such pleasurable activities don’t work, one might conclude insomnia isn’t curable. As a result, you’ll continue to function as a groggy mess in the daytime, which is unhealthy and unsettling.
We know how frustrating it can be to have trouble sleeping. Countless people have insomnia and other sleep-related disorders, and unfortunately, the problem only gets worse when one is stressed or has to deal with work-related issues. Recent research has shown that insomnia is directly linked to anxiety and other mental health issues. But luckily for those who have trouble sleeping at night, researchers have recently found a natural remedy that can help improve restfulness by easing insomnia symptoms: lavender essential oil. Thanks to an ongoing study in March 2017 published in the British Association of Critical Nurses. Volunteers exposed to lavender aromatherapy before bedtime was unsurprisingly able to relax faster.
So, If you've tried other natural sleep remedies to little avail, try placing a few drops of lavender essential oil on your eye pillow or herbal heating pad before going to bed tonight. Be sure not to ingest it, or any other essential oil, for that matter, as doing so may put health at risk.
Could Help Treat Skin Blemishes
Using essential oils for dermatology may help relieve a variety of your skin's problems. For instance, lavender oil is perfect for acne and skin inflammation. According to a study published in May 2017 in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, applying lavender oil to affected areas of your skin may even play a role in treating blemishes or alleviating inflammation. Those with sensitive skin can dilute the essential oil before using it with water or carrier oil.
Aside from its previously mentioned sedative properties, lavender also has an antioxidant capacity known to aid wound healing.
Since Roman times Used medicinally, the lavender essential oil has been excellent for relaxation and healing. We suggest checking with your doctor first, though, to ensure you won't be affected by any medications you are already taking.
Natural Remedy for Pain
When dealing with the pain of an injury, some opt to use over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, while others will seek a prescription from a doctor. Acute and chronic pain typically calls for OTCs because they are less potent than prescription drugs and, as such, don't require a prescription.
There are many novice ways to test yourself and find new ways to relieve pain when procedures like dentistry or surgery are needed. One way, which has been proven effective in multiple studies and clinical trials, is aromatherapy, a type of alternative medicine that involves using various aromatic plants and plant extracts. Aromatherapy can help with pain relief because it contains lavender oil (linalyl acetate, linalool) and the like – ingredients that have anti-inflammatory qualities. Another benefit of this type of therapy is that it can work as a sedative by triggering the release of endorphins - or feel-good hormones. In other words, aromatherapy may be an excellent form of treatment for some people because it brings forth a sense of peace or calm and does so by taking negative emotions and replacing them with positive ones!
In a study published in Phytotherapy Research, two polysaccharides were extracted from Lavandula angustifolia. The researchers found that both molecules, compared to pharmaceuticals commonly prescribed for inflammation, such as aspirins and anti-inflammatory drugs, are "the most potent in curing inflammatory diseases", including arthritis and rheumatism.
Lavender or lavender oils may be applied to the skin during labour and delivery. Research suggests that the use of lavender or lavender oil in this application does not affect the duration (or length) of work but does appear to reduce the intensity (level of pain), if not reduce, pain perception among women who receive it.
Reduce Blood Pressure and Heart Rate
There are many nasty side effects of high blood pressure, which can be reduced by a simple solution: Lavender Essential oils. A proven method approved by doctors not just in the U.S. but also in Iran, this idea is easier to use than you think and doesn't involve needles or drugs! A lot more research needs to be done before large hospitals start buying into the idea. Still, for now, many people have significantly benefited from using lavender essential oils to reduce their blood pressure and heart rate.
A small study published in 2017 in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that when 40 people inhaled lavender flower essential oil, they underwent open-heart surgery, their blood pressure and vital signs were reduced. This outcome suggests the oil has a positive impact on blood pressure and heart rate. Yet, additional research is required - specifically a randomized controlled trial with a larger sample size - before conclusions can be drawn.
Could Relieve Asthma Symptoms
Because lavender has anti-inflammatory effects, it may also help treat asthma. A study published in July 2014 in the Journal of Life Sciences found that mice treated with lavender essential oil saw improved respiratory health, including decreased allergic inflammation and mucus hyperplasia. Although it's unclear whether the same effect would be observed in humans, additional research involving controlled clinical trials would yield precious data that could then be used to develop quality, effective treatments.
Lessens Menopausal Hot Flashes
Menopause is difficult for many women. It can cause them to experience sudden heat sensations in their body, making them flush in the face and even triggering sweating. Beyond mood changes and other symptoms, hot flashes have a significant effect on how their life is going.
But spending 20 minutes in lavender aromatherapy twice a day might help you fight menopausal flushing and improve your quality of life, according to a study from September 2016 in the Journal of Chinese Medical Association.
Help Combat Fungus Growth
Lavender is the latest in alternative medicine trends. The results of a study found that lavender essential oil was effective in combating disease-causing fungus - and it could be helpful in several ailments caused by yeast infections, including Athlete's Foot and jock itch. The test-tube research showed that compounds secreted from the plant interacted with fungal cells and disrupted their growth while leaving human cells unaffected. This finding provides natural alternatives to fighting these illnesses, which can quickly spread if not treated properly.
Potentially Promotes Hair Growth
In a study published in the International Journal of Cosmetic Science, it was shown that laboratory mice exposed to lavender for upwards of four weeks grew up to have more hair follicles and a thicker dermal layer than those who weren't. This is usually not the case with people, though, as they were specific mouse strains used in the study whose DNA contributes to their hair growth patterns, so it's reasonable to assume that what works for them may work for us, too.
What Is Lavender’s Effect on Stress Levels?
Although stressful situations are something that nobody enjoys, there are ways to help lessen the burden. Using lavender for natural relief is a nifty way to keep your mood up and perhaps add colour to your day. For example, if you've been feeling down in the dumps lately and find yourself struggling with headaches or low energy, then consider adding stress relievers to your life. By doing so, lavender can help boost your mental outlook. A research study has shown that it might be beneficial for headache and migraine sufferers and those afflicted by insomnia and depression.
For example, published in February 2018 in the journal Complementary Therapies in Medicine, a randomized controlled trial demonstrated that lavender oil could be successfully used as a natural remedy for women who suffer from premenstrual syndrome symptoms. The participants who inhaled the oil experienced being calmer and more relaxed than those who did not. Likewise, another randomized controlled trial, published in October 2017 in the International Journal of Nursing Practices, found that reflexology massage treatments with lavender oil resulted in positive psychological changes for participants. In both instances, women experienced lower depression and anxiety levels only when given the essential oil treatment versus going through the same reflexology treatment without any essential oil.
What Are Some of the Different Forms of Lavender?
Lavender is available in different forms. For example:
The aromatic oil extracted from the Lavender plant is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. Used to massage the skin or even in a diffuser, this fragrant oil is anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic, perfect for managing stress or anxiety.
This perennial plant is a delight to the human senses. It is both colourful and sweet-scented, making it great for any garden setting.
Lavender Capsules or Supplements
You can also take lavender supplements in capsule form. This comes in handy when you're looking to get the benefits of lavender but don't have access to as many essential oils or don't have time to make your skincare products. Of course, you should work with a healthcare provider before taking any supplement because they may interact negatively with medications you might be taking. And since the FDA doesn't regulate accessories, it takes some additional research on your part to find one you trust.
Lavender has been used for years as a natural ingredient to promote sleep and serenity. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has stated that eating lavender in foods like tea can help fight against anxiety and stress. You can purchase prepackaged tea made by tea companies, or you can make your own by steeping fresh lavender buds in boiling water for about 15 to 20 minutes.