Lavenders are flowering plants, which belong to the mint family. These plants are natives to the Mediterranean region, some parts of Africa and India. They are widely grown as ornamental plants, and are popular for the fragrance and beauty of their flowers. They are also commercially grown in many regions. The essential oil extracted from these plants is used in various products, like soaps and perfumes. Essential oil is mainly extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant, and it has many uses, especially in aromatherapy.
Lavender and Lavender Oil
Lavender plants belong to the genus Lavandula, which consists of around 40 species, but there are numerous other varieties, which emerged as a result of cross-pollination. Archaeological evidences suggest that the use of lavender started before 2500 years. The Ancient Egyptians used lavender oil as a cosmetic and also for embalming mummies. Arabians too used this oil for medicinal purposes and also as perfumes. Lavender plants were used in Greece and Rome too. Even today, lavender flowers are used for various purposes. Dried flowers and plants are used for repelling moths and insects, for making flower arrangements, and as an ingredient in potpourris.
Benefits of Lavender Oil
The naturally occurring chemical compounds, particularly aromatic molecules called esters, are responsible for the benefits of lavender essential oil. It is believed that, pure lavender oil has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also used as an antispasmodic, pacifier and tonic. Owing to these health benefits, this essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy. The aroma of lavender has a soothing and calming effect, which helps to relax and reduce anxiety.
- As lavender oil has a calming effect, it is used for treating tension headache, migraine, depression, anxiety, and stress.
- It is also used for treating insomnia, as it has been found that, this essential oil stimulates sleep.
- Lavender oil is also used as an antiseptic. Diluted form of this oil can be applied on minor burns, wounds, insect bites, and stings. It may alleviate pain too.
- Lavender oil is also useful for treating head lice. For this purpose, rinse hair using water mixed with this oil (use five to ten drops of oil). You can add two drops of undiluted oil to a fine comb and use it to remove nits.
- It is also used for treating hair loss, especially alopecia areata. Lavender oil is used as a remedy for scalp psoriasis.
- Lavender oil is used for treating various skin conditions, like psoriasis, eczema, scabies, shingles, dermatitis, and acne. It is also beneficial for treating sunburns and wrinkles.
- It has also been observed that, joint pain and muscle pain can be relieved by massaging a small amount of lavender oil.
- This oil is found to be effective for alleviating the symptoms of respiratory conditions, like bronchitis, laryngitis, cold, cough, flu, sinus congestion, asthma, and throat infections.
As essential oils are highly concentrated, you must use them as per the instructions of a qualified herbal practitioner. You may also consult your doctor and seek his opinion, before starting any herbal treatment with lavender oil. Only a few health benefits of this oil are backed with scientific evidence. However, this essential oil has been used as a remedy for various ailments, and is said to be effective to a certain extent. As it can cause allergies, lavender oil should be used with caution, and under the supervision of a qualified herbal practitioner. It may also cause side effects in some of the users. It is not advisable for pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers, and kids. It has been suggested that, topical application of lavender oil is not good for young boys, as it may cause hormonal imbalance. Those who use sedative medicines must avoid use of lavender oil.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.