- Background - A bit of history about Lavender
- Lavender properties, actions and benefits
- How to use lavender
- The safety of lavender
Lavender is a flowering plant from the mint family (Lamiaceae). It is native to Africa, Asia and Europe. The name is derived from the latin word “lavare” - meaning to wash, as it was used by the Romans as a scent for baths, beds, clothes and even hair.
History shows us that Lavender was cultivated in Italy, France and Spain since 600bc. As well as the distinct scent used for therapeutic properties it was also used medicinally to ward off infections and heal wounds. The Ancient Greeks also used lavender to treat Insomnia and back aches.
Lavender has also shown to contain the following properties.
These actions can help with a range of health problems including:
- Respiratory and circulatory system
- Digestive and GI tract
Lavender has been well known for its relaxing effects. This can help induce sleep and Lavender is a great natural sleep aid for insomniacs.
After a nice warm lavender bath, try putting a few drops of lavender oil onto your pillow to ease into a natural sleep.
Many natural plants have oils which can help with skin conditions including lavender. It is an anti-inflammatory and applying this oil can help with skin conditions such as eczema, acne and other skin blemishes.
You could even add some drops to your shampoo as lavender has shown signs to promote hair growth (no wonder it was used by the Romans for their hair).
You should remember to use a carrier oil and not apply the essential oil directly onto your skin. You can add a few drops to some topical cream and this will act as a carrier for the oil.
Respiratory and circulatory system:
Breathing in the aroma of lavender, through the use of an oil vapouriser or burner, can have positive effects on our respiratory and circulatory systems. The anti-inflammatory properties could be beneficial in conditions such as asthma and the aroma can even have a positive effect on our vital signs such as lowering blood pressure.
Digestive system and GI Tract:
As lavender can be consumed, whether it is in a cake recipe or as a tea, it can help reduce inflammation in this part of the body too. Lavender has shown to help with digestive issues such as, vomiting, nausea, upset stomach and gas.
The essential oil from lavender can be blended with a carrier oil and added to your bath salts, creams and hair wash providing you with great health benefits. The aroma is very relaxing and is great to bring a sense of calmness to your life. Aside from the topical and aromatherapy use of lavender, it can also be used as a culinary ingredient for adding a healthy flavour to cakes. Its sweet, fragrant flavour makes it a great healthy additive and goes well with ingredients such as; strawberries, blueberries, pears, orange, lemon, honey, sage, rosemary, thyme and even chocolate.
You can also add a lavender tea to your diet, just add a few fresh lavender buds to some hot water (a loose tea strainer is recommended) and just let the flavour escape for ten minutes.
Adding lavender essential oil to an aroma diffuser is a great way to create a relaxing environment but it is also a great herb to use in a herb vapouriser. If you are new to vapourising please have a read of our vape blog.
If you choose to vapourise lavender then you should set your device to 100°C to 125°C (212°F to 257°F).
If you are not too keen on the taste or aroma of lavender but you want to see if the plant can benefit you then capsules are also available. Just remember, however you choose to use lavender make sure that it is organically sourced to avoid any harmful pesticides.
Is Lavender safe during pregnancy?
As with all essential oils and natural treatments you should speak to your midwife or doctor before using them. Lavender, known for its relaxing properties, may tempt you into a relaxing bath, especially if you are heavily pregnant.
The good news is that you can mix a few drops in with your bath salts if you are pregnant. However, It is advised that you should avoid using during your first trimester, especially if you are at risk of a misscarriage. This is mainly due to the effects lavender has on the circulatory system and that lavender may stimulate the uterus.
Is Lavender safe to use with medication?
It is always advised to seek medical attention before you introduce any natural products to help treat symptoms. You should be especially cautious when taking certain medications as some natural plants and oils can interact.
The following medications can affect you when combined with lavender.
- Drugs that induce sleepiness, such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates and Ambien
- Drugs to reduce blood pressure, such as captopril, enalapril and losartan.