The Amazing Benefits of the Lavender Plant
Image: flickr An intriguing article by Ustadh Luqman explores the mental health and medical cures of the simple and aromatic lavend...
An intriguing article by Ustadh Luqman explores the mental health and medical cures of the simple and aromatic lavender flower.
The stress relief benefits of lavender are safe, gentle and dependable. Lavender has been used by herbalists for hundreds of years. It has a mild pleasant gentle aroma. It is easy to grow and is therefore relatively inexpensive.
Lavender flower is calming and relaxing both physically and emotionally and is particularly useful for easing tension headaches, and other physical aches and pains.
It is very useful for easing the digestive upsets and gas which often accompany stress. Lavender has been used to ease depression as it is said to be very helpful for people who are “stuck” in repetitive patterns of thinking about a particularly stressful or traumatic event or circumstance in their lives.
It is also often used for encouraging deep restful sleep and stress relief. Lavender soothes the respiratory system, making breathing for stress relief easier.
The physical constituents of lavender thought to be the source of the healing benefits include: flavonoids, coumarins, triterpenes and of course volatile oils for which lavender is famous.
How to use lavender
Make lavender herbal tea - some herbalists suggest taking ½ to 1 teaspoon of the dried flowers per serving. Place the lavender flowers in a cup, pouring boiling water over the herb. Then cover the cup and letting the tea steep for 10 to 15 minutes before drinking.
This can be done a couple of times a day and is generally considered quite safe. However, it is suggested to AVOID using large amounts of lavender during pregnancy.
Other uses and benefits
There are many varied uses for lavender essential oil. With lavender essential oil one might place a few drops on the pillow case at night to promote restful sleep.
It is sometimes considered to be an almost universal remedy which helps bring the body to a state of balance.
The benefits of lavender oil are similar to those of the herb. But the process of using the oil is different. Since essential oils are generally purchased in small bottles, they are very portable and convenient.
I sometimes apply a few drops of lavender oil to on my temples or some other part of my head to ease a tension headache or eyestrain. (Please keep the oil away from the eyes).
The oil is well known as a helpful burn remedy and can be applied directly to the skin.
Lavender essential oil can also be applied directly to aching or painful muscles or joints. Other benefits of lavender oil include relaxation from overwork, which is one of the main causes of stress. Try rubbing a few drops of the oil between the palms of your hands and then bringing your palms to your face and breathing deeply of the scent. It can bring soothing relief.
Even adding a few drops of to the washing machine can add a fresh aroma to the laundry room and clothes and help make routine housework more enjoyable. It's another example of the diverse benefits of lavender.
Lavender is one of the most nostalgic fragrances bringing scenes of childhood vividly to the mind: high summer days that last forever, lavender bushes shimmering against the blue sky, the bees blundering in and out among the flowers, stirring up the intense, sweet sensation.
But lavender is much more than just pretty and calming. It is one of the most powerful remedies in the plant world offering both physical and emotional relief for problems as varied as burns, migraines, insomnia, insect bites, skin problems, infections, stress and nervous tension.
It owes this amazing spectrum of healing powers to its complex chemical makeup.
Top Eco Tips
- Dilute the essential oil of lavender in a little olive oil before applying to the skin.
- To make an infusion simply pour 25 ounces of boiling water over one tablespoon of crushed lavender flowers and let it steep for 3 minutes.
- For application to the skin - there's nothing like an oil soak - take two handfuls of lavender flowers macerated for a few days in olive oil.
Lavender Plant Care - Growing Tips
Since lavender grows easily, you might wish to grow some of your own. For better well-being take time out to grow a garden of herbs and vegetables - with your family.
A pot of lavender is a lovely addition to any garden and can even be grown successfully in large pots on an apartment balcony or patio.
Since it is a perennial in temperate zone locations, you can plant it once and with proper care it will give you five to seven years of blossoms which return effortlessly every summer. If you live in a harsher climate, check local garden books for more specific instructions.
For optimum lavender plant care use soil which is well drained yet retains some moisture.
Place the plants in a sunny location. It is best to cut back the plants after the flowers are harvested. This pruning can also be done in the early spring before new growth begins - the flowers make a wonderful adornment for mantles.
20 reasons to use Lavender Essential Oil
It is a remedy for aching muscles, acne, bugs and bacteria, burns, cuts and wounds, earache, eczema, fatigue, fevers, giddy spells, pulpitations, headache, insomnia, long haul travel, menstrual cramps, moths and mosquitoes, sandflies, scabies, shingles, sinusitis, stress & anxiety and sunburn.
Lavender is particularly rich in aromatic molecules called esters, which are antispasmodic, pacifying and tonic, while other molecules give it its antiviral, bacterial and anti-inflammatory powers. It's good for aches, pains and muscle stiffness and may also help with rheumatic discomfort and joint stiffness.
*Avoid in pregnancy, epilepsy and fever.
Add 6-8 drops Lavender essential oil after running the water and vigorously agitate the water. Add the drops to a capful of milk or Epsom salts and then put in the bath as this helps to disperse the oils through out the water. This is a great way to receive the benefits of Lavender oil. Lie back and enjoy!
After wetting your hair, add 3 drops Lavender oil to a capful of water and tip onto your head. Stand under running water and allow oils to rinse off. Cup your hands over your face and breathe in the vapours. Add oils when shampooing your hair and rinse off as normal.
Fill the top dish of an 'oil burner' or 'vaporiser' with water and add 6-8 drops of Lavender oil.
Place a lit tea light candle in the space provided underneath the dish. This is a very good way to receive the benefits of the Lavender oil. Use in the bedroom or living room. Vaporisation is especially good to use when you have a cold or feel unwell. Keep burner away from draughts and open windows. Hint: use warm water in the dish for quicker results.
One for the ladies - A Lavender Massage
This is a particularly effective way to apply the oils when you have tight and sore muscles or have sustained an injury. The oils will be absorbed quickly into the blood stream, thus assisting the body and mind. NEVER massage UNDILUTED oils, always use a good quality vegetable or carrier oil. Add 5 drops of Lavender oil per 10ml of vegetable oil. Use 1-2 drops for babies and the elderly. Only use lavender with babies.
For tired feet, fatigue or sore/dry hands, add 4-6 drops lavender oil to a large bowl of warm water and soak for approx 10 minutes. Then apply a lavender lotion for added benefits.
For colds - Lavender Steam Inhalation
Add 4-6 drops to a bowl of hot water. Place a towel over your head and breathe in the vapour. Keep your eyes shut. Continue to breathe deeply for a few minutes, occasionally removing the towel and your head from the bowl.
In a bowl or warm water add 6-8 drops Lavender oil and swirl around. Soak a cloth then gently squeeze out and apply to area of your body you wish to treat. Use cold water for treating new muscular injuries or sprains.
Lavender direct for Burns
After running cold water on the burn for approx 10 minutes, put a few drops of neat lavender oil onto the burnt area (including sunburn). This will greatly assist the healing process. ONLY use lavender. Remember serious burns must be seen to by a doctor.
The dosages mentioned are recommended for average sized adults. For the elderly, disabled, the very sick or young children, half the dose is recommended.
Post by Ustadh Luqman Al-Andalusi
Director of Islamic Studies at Andalusian Institute of Islamic-Latino Studies