Dr. Mark Crapo, our guest blogger this week, shares beneficial information about lavender, its history and its many uses.
Lavandula is more commonly known as lavender. This perennial flowering herb has a history dating back over 2,500 years. It is part of the mint family and originally native to Africa and the Mediterranean area, later spreading across Europe, then to India and Asia.
The name comes from the Latin lavare, which means “to wash.” It is a common ingredient in soap (for skin or clothes) and shampoo. It is also used to scent the home and can be particularly useful in linen or room spray where it’s known to help with insomnia.
Studies show it is calming and has sedative effects. Evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation and improve one’s mood. It is also used in balms, salves and other topical applications.
Lavender has over 150 active “ingredients.” It is rich in esters, an aromatic compound that is antispasmodic and both calming and stimulating. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
For centuries, herbalists have treated skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema and acne with lavender oil and used it in healing baths for joint and muscle pain.
Used in a diffuser it can provide relief from respiratory infections. It may also be applied to the chest, throat and back for symptoms associated with cough, colds and the flu. The stimulating nature of the oil can help loosen phlegm and can be added to a vaporizer where you would also benefit from its antibacterial properties. I’ve found running a finger (tipped with the oil) from between the eyebrows to the tip of the nose, is amazing to help open the sinuses.
Need to shovel a little snow? Lavender oil can help improve circulation and has beneficial effects on the heart; helping to maintain proper blood pressure while oxygenating the blood and helping to lower the risk of heart attack.
Once the drive and walkway are clear from the snow, you can use the oil to help with sore, strained and tense muscles. There is a long history of using the oil alone or adding it to massage oil for muscular aches, back and joint pain.
Studies have shown the oil to be very calming not only to muscles but for nerves and general tension. It’s often used to help with emotional stress, anxiety, depression, headaches and insomnia. The oil may be applied to the inside of your wrists or mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the bottom of your feet before bed.
Try incorporating lavender into your daily routine for its many benefits.
This article is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
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