Lavender – the calming herb

The botanical name lavandula comes from the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash.” Long revered in literature as a herb of love, it is a key ingredient in soaps and shampoos, sachets, perfumes and seasonings.
Active ingredients:
essential oil, tannins.
  • Internal use
    • Lavender is used internally for indigestion, irritability, anxiety, exhaustion, tension headaches, migraine and bronchial complaints.
  • External use
    • Used externally to treat most type of burns, including sunburn, rheumatism, muscular pains, neuralgia, cold sores, insect bites, head lice, halitosis, vaginal discharge and anal fissure.
    • It has an analgesic effect on the skin, which helps with pain relief, but it is the antiseptic and stimulant properties which make it very effective for use on wounds and burns.
    • It is mainly used for its antiseptic and anti-dandruff properties but also have antibacterial, spasmolytic (relieving spasms) and local pain killing actions.
    • It also contains ursolic acid, which is not only antibacterial, but also active against lipid oxidation and inhibits elastase – which results in tissue degeneration as well as inflammatory processes as well as tissue degradation such as psoriasis and eczemas.
    • The rosmarinic acid and polyphenolic derivatives have good antioxidant properties, which is helpful in countering aging.
    • On the skin, lavender oil tones and revitalizes it and it is useful for all types of skin problems, such as abscesses, acne, oily skin, boils, burns, sunburn, wounds, psoriasis, lice, insect bites, stings. It also acts as an insect repellent.
  • Aromatherapy and essential oil use
    • Lavender essential oil must be one of the most popular essential oils on the market, due to its versatile and safe use.
    • It has a soothing and calming effect on the nerves, relieving tension, depression, panic, hysteria and nervous exhaustion in general and is effective for headaches, migraines and insomnia.
    • It is an excellent oil to help with depression, migraine, insomnia and stress. Its antiseptic qualities are excellent for wounds and burns and its spasmolytic properties to treat coughs and intestinal complaints.
    • The therapeutic properties of lavender oil are antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary.
Insomnia or Agitation
In folklore, pillows were filled with lavender flowers to help restless people fall sleep. Scientific evidence suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with essential oils, particularly lavender, may result in improved sleep quality, more stable mood, better concentration, and reduced anxiety. In one recent study, people who received massage with lavender felt less anxious and more positive than those who received massage alone. Several small studies suggest that lavender aromatherapy may help reduce agitation in patients with dementia. Lavender flowers have also been approved in Germany as a tea for insomnia, restlessness, and nervous stomach irritations.

Alopecia areata

In one study of 86 people with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out, often in patches), those who massaged their scalps with lavender and other essential oils daily for 7 months experienced significant hair regrowth compared to those who massaged their scalps without the essential oils. However, there is no way to tell whether it was one or the combination of oils that was effective.
Other uses
Aromatherapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender oil. It is also used in a healing bath for joint and muscle pain. One study evaluating treatments for children with eczema founded it was therapeutic touch from the mother that improved symptoms; in other words, massage with and without essential oils (including lavender) both reduced the dry, scaly skin lesions. Another study found that lavender oil may improve pain control after surgery. Fifty patients undergoing breast biopsy surgery received either oxygen supplemented with lavender oil or oxygen alone. Patients in the lavender group reported better pain control than patients in the control group.
 
Sources and References:

PODLECH, D.  (1996) Herbs and healing plants, Munich: HarperCollinsPublishers;
http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/lavender-000260.htm#ixzz2R8UsEhRd
http://www.ageless.co.za/herb-lavender.htm

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s