We all know that lavender has an amazing fragrance and color, but few of us acknowledge the fact that this plant also has amazing healing properties.
Lavandula angustifolia is the most therapeutic and highly regarded type of lavender. This plant has been used since ancient times when antibiotics and medicines were not readily available. The Phoenician and Egyptian societies used this plant for embalming, healing and as perfume, while the Romans used lavender for its medicinal properties, as an insect repellent and even for smoking.
During the wars, soldiers were frequently given lavender oil to kill bacteria in their wounds and to ease the pain. Lavender also has relaxing and calming proprieties, can ease depression and improve mental performance.
Lavender essential oil eases allergy symptoms, heals burns, neutralizes the itch of insect bites and is a natural antifungal and antiseptic substance. It also relieves symptoms of nausea, skin irritation, hair loss, insomnia, mental health issues, toothaches, acne, and headaches.
Lavender and cancer
Lavender contains perillyl alcohol, an active plant chemical with potent anti-tumor proprieties. Recent studies have shown that the long-term inhalation of perillyl alcohol can increase the lifespan of cancer patients by a few years. Combining perillyl alcohol with paclitaxel significantly dropped the tumor weight and caused significant cancer cell death.
Massage therapeutic lavender oil directly on the affected areas. The oil will be quickly absorbed into the bloodstream (less than 20 minutes). You can also diffuse lavender oil into the room using a cool mist diffuser.
- Anxiety and stress
Lavender can ease stress, anxiety and calm the nervous system. It also improves mood and the quality of sleep. Put a few drops of lavender oil onto your palm, rub your hands and deeply inhale the scent of the plant for about a minute. You can also diffuse the oil using a cool mist diffuser or apply it on the soles of the feet before going to bed.
- Immune system
Lavender also has anti-bacterial properties which protect the immune system of cancer patients, from various bacteria and viruses such as the golden staph. It also helps the body fight off infections. Massage lavender oil on the skin, especially on the soles of the feet, an area with the largest pores of the body.
You can use lavender not only as an essential oil but also as a dry herb to make a calming tea, as a tincture, in cosmetic masks, for cooking or in homemade lotions, lotion bars and whipped body butter.
Before using lavender essential oil, make sure it is derived from Lavandula angustifolia and not lanadin (a substitute widely used because it yields more oil, but without the healing properties of the real plant). Try to avoid using lavender if you take anticoagulant drugs. This combination might increase the bleeding risk. Do not apply lavender essential oil inside the ears or near the eyes. Also, you should be aware that long-term regular use of lavender essential oil can cause hormonal imbalance in men.