Lavender has been used for centuries—we’re talking all the way back to Cleopatra’s Egypt. Even then, people would place lavender flowers by their beds, or spritz a lavender oil on their necks, because the scent creates calm and soothes the senses. The clean, botanic scent of lavender has the magical ability to put everyone in a better mood. In the sixteenth century, it was even believed the scent of lavender could help fight off fits of evil and bad juju. Sometimes all you really need when you’re irritable is a little aromatherapy!
We could all benefit from some lavender in our lives right now, especially because, for many, there is no difference between our bedroom and our office. This has created stress and anxiety for some and left many of us feeling like we live at work. There have been so many obstacles outside of our control during the Covid-19 pandemic that it’s nice to take control and try something we normally wouldn’t. Let’s take a chance exploring the effervescent power and health benefits of lavender. The natural at-home remedy with the ability to heal our mind, body, and soul.
Lavender – The Quick Remedy
Lavender’s effects go far beyond merely soothing our senses, and perhaps attracting a few suitors along the way. Lavender is one of the few alternative medicinal remedies used to alleviate general anxiety disorders. Scientific evidence promotes that lavender creates calm from within, decreasing anxiety and overall restlessness. I don’t know about you, but working from home every day in a tiny apartment has made me more restless than ever. Using lavender oil–by either inhaling it or taking it in capsule form–also improves overall moods. A controlled study demonstrated that taking lavender oil, in conjunction with the antidepressant Imipramine, can increase the benefits of the drug and decrease overall feelings of hopelessness. In need of a quicker fix? Rub a bit of lavender oil on your temples. It can alleviate headaches, nervous tension, and emotional stress.
Healing Benefits of Lavender
During uncertain times–like, I don’t know, the worst global pandemic since the Spanish Flu in 1918–our anxiety will naturally increase, causing the body to suffer. When we increase anxiety and stress, our chronic pains and weaknesses become inflated. For example, evidence has shown that women experience increased pain and discomfort from menstrual cramps due to increased stress and anxiety in their lives. But don’t worry, queens—lavender can help with that! A 2012 study suggests applying lavender oil in a massaging motion to the lower abdomen can decrease the severity of menstrual cramps. In addition, inhaling the scent of lavender during premenstrual syndrome may alleviate the need to cry and/or be rude to your significant other.
One of the most common reasons people love to use lavender for health benefits today is to aid their insomnia. Studies show inhaling or consuming lavender oil capsules can positively affect sleep quality, as lavender has the natural ability to relieve anxiety, one of the main causes of insomnia in women and men. Lavender oil contains the chemicals linalool and linalyl acetate, which are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. When tested on mice, these elements have shown to produce sedative and pain-relieving effects. Try dabbing some lavender oil on your pillow before hitting the hay, or even placing a few dried lavender pods inside your pillowcase. Even veteran insomniacs will be love at how these small changes increase sleep quality.
Lavender to Treat Wounds
People have used lavender oil to treat anxiety for centuries, but there is another reason lavender oil goes way back. The ancient Romans were the ones to first discover the healing properties of lavender. Lavender oil has been proven to advance the healing of skin tissue and inflammation. In the 1930s, René-Maurice Gattefossé, a French chemist, actually coined the term “aromatherapy” after applying lavender oil to treat a nasty chemical burn. He was impressed by the soothing sensation and how quickly the burn healed. So next time you burn yourself with that tricky curling iron, or when pulling some roasted sweet potatoes out of the oven, you should give lavender oil a try.
The application of lavender oil may also be useful to soothe skin irritation in the form of sunburn or razor burn. Natural remedy to the rescue—because TBH, who knows what chemicals hide inside that lime green aloe dispenser? Mix some lavender oil with a bit of fresh aloe vera juice for the ultimate sunburn defense!
Anyone else been eaten alive by mosquitos this summer? Studies show that the health benefits of lavender oil show to be a great natural alternative to insect repellent as well. Already have a few annoying bites? Dab a few drops of lavender oil on the itchy areas. Don’t forget to dilute the oil with a few drops of water if you plan to use it on children or those with sensitive skin.
Lavender Oil Benefits for Hair
Stress and anxiety can play a big role in hair health. The more anxiety we face, the more hair loss we seem to deal with. Lavender oil may have something to say about that. A dermatological study in Scotland stated that 44% of patients with alopecia areata, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to reject new hair follicles, experienced new hair growth after applying lavender oil onto their scalps daily. Try dabbing it on your eyebrows before bed, too. Move over, sticky castor oil–there’s a new essential queen in town!
In addition to hair growth, lavender oil can also reduce dandruff. Mix up a DIY scalp mask with a few drops of lavender oil and two tablespoons of olive oil and leave it on your scalp undisturbed for ten minutes. Feeling crazy? Go with a chic, slicked back low-bun, and keep that itchy scalp glazed all day long for even better results. Please never let the sleek low-bun go out of style…
Lavender Oil Benefits for Skin
Applying pure lavender oil directly to our face can lead to a plethora of benefits. Lavender oil is one of the most beneficial oils to fight acne. It inhibits the bacteria that cause acne, and regulates and minimizes sebum production. As I previously mentioned, lavender oil is great to reduce and soothe scarring, so it can also reduce the appearance of acne scars and scabs. Keep it on your vanity and use it as a spot treatment. For the ultimate anti-blemish cocktail, combine a few drops of lavender oil and tea tree oil. Get rid of those pesky zits—naturally.
One of themany health benefits of Lavender oil is one of the most detoxifying essential oils. It contains powerful antioxidants that fight against environmental toxins and pollutants, keeping our faces squeaky clean. Add a few drops of the essential oil to your moisturizer. The addition of lavender oil will firm the skin and boost overall circulation, keeping the skin nourished, and improving skin cell growth. City dwellers and subway riders, take notes.
Applying lavender oil directly to the skin can also relieve dry, itchy areas. Lavender oil has even been proven to alleviate eczema and psoriasis-ridden skin. The best method to use when treating these flare-ups is to mix a few drops of lavender oil with another oil, like tea tree or coconut oil, and massage it gently onto the irritated areas. Since the main property of lavender oil is that it can reduce inflammation, lavender oil can also works directly to the face to ameliorate hyperpigmentation. Buh-bye, splotchy skin!
As mentioned earlier, lavender oil has extensive antioxidant properties, so it is also regarded to contain anti-aging properties. A few days a week, swap your go-to moisturizer for a couple of drops of lavender oil and a tablespoon of coconut oil. You will be amazed by how fresh and supple your skin feels. Plus, you will save a few hundred bucks on packaged anti-aging serums—with sketchy ingredients—which is never a bad thing. Lavender: always there to cheer us up!
Health Benefits of Lavender Baths
In general, baths can elevate moods and improve sleep quality. Adding lavender to a bubble bath or Epsom salt to the mix takes everything up a level. Enjoying a warm, lavender-infused bath can also alleviate irritated skin due to the flower’s soothing and detoxifying agents. The mood lift you are sure to feel from the intoxicating aromatherapy is a total plus.
Epsom salt has its own multitude of health benefits, including soothing achy muscles, aiding digestion, and detoxification. When combined with lavender oil, you are sure to emerge from the tub, feeling fantastic. Try to make your own lavender Epsom salt at home. Start by adding about 15 drops of lavender oil to 2 cups of Epsom salt. It’s time to take control of the ingredients we use on our body.
Side Effects of Lavender Oil
If you plan to incorporate the health benefits of lavender oil into your lifestyle to treat chronic pains or irritations, there are a few side effects to remember. While the flower is fine to consume in its natural form, lavender oil is toxic for consumption. So, keep the oil topical, and apply it only to your scalp and skin. Lavender oil capsules are also not great in combination with drugs to reduce high blood pressure like Captopril, Enalapril, and Losartan, or with drugs that induce sleep like Ambien. Just chat with your doctor before taking anything to the next level with lavender.
How To Use Lavender At Home
- Purchase a few lavender flowers and stick them in your pillowcase for optimal sleep.
- Dab some lavender oil on your sunburn to relieve the irritation.
- On Self-Care Sunday, try a DIY lavender oil hair mask to promote new hair growth and hydrate your scalp.
- Dab some lavender oil on a pimple and leave it on overnight.
- Hop in a warm bath filled with homemade lavender Epsom salt. Make sure to have a soothing playlist handy.
- Bring your favorite mug filled with lavender tea to bed with you for ultimate relaxation.