Lavender which is scientifically named as Lavandula angustifolia is a species of flowering plants of the mint family, Lamiaceae, native to Southern Europe, Southwest Asia, Southeast India, Northern and Eastern Africa. Lavender essential oil is extracted through steam distillation from the delicate purple blossoms of the lavender plant. This oil steals the spotlight amongst all the essential oils as it is extremely gentle yet highly effective. Lavender has calming and tranquillizing properties and also has the capability to flush out toxins. Furthermore, it is used to scale down anxiety, relieve pain and improve sleep.
Lavender is popular for its sweet aroma. Thus, is commonly used in cosmetic products but it also very beneficial to the human health. Also, lavender oil has proved to be an extremely helpful oil when it comes to benefitting the human body. Commercial brewing of lavender is carried through dried flowers and the oils of the lavender plant. In ancient times, lavender was used for medicinal benefits. It was also used to treat epilepsy and migraine attacks during the medieval era by medical practitioners. Lavender oil can be consumed orally, applied topically or the fragrant can be inhaled.
Nutritional Value of Lavender
The supply of calories gained from lavender is not very high as there are nearly 49 calories per 100 grams of lavender. So is the measure of fat. Furthermore, lavender contains vitamins and minerals abundantly. It also contains caffeic acid which is proven to be effective for preventing cancer. Moreover lavender contains ample amount of calcium compounds that is approximately 215 mg of calcium in 100 grams.
Health Benefits of Lavender
Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Lavender
Lavender is very popular for getting rid of anxiety and depression as it boosts alpha and theta also known as relaxing brain waves. Lavender helps lower heart rate, increases the gap between heartbeats and also decreases perspiration which signifies a decline in anxiety levels. For low-anxiety situations, lavender helps lower heart rate, increase the variation between heartbeats and decrease sweat secretion indicating a decrease in anxiety levels. An increase in variation between heartbeats indicates a higher tolerance to stress. In high-anxiety situations, lavender causes an increase in variation between heartbeats in women and an increase in sweat secretion in men. However, while the increase in variation between heartbeats indicates a mild decrease in anxiety for women, the increase in sweat secretion proves the opposite effect for men.
Treats hair loss
Lavender is perhaps potent for treating alopecia areata. Alopecia areata is an ailment in which hair loss occurs from few or all areas of the body. By regularly massaging the scalp with lavender oil diluted with carrier oil, one can boost circulation of blood towards hair follicles which allows the body to deliver vitamins and nutrients to improve hair growth.
Rejuvenates the skin
Due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, lavender is very beneficial for skin. Several skin conditions like canker sores, acne, and other allergic reactions can be treated by using lavender oil topically. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities aid to improve skin conditions and reduce the signs of aging such as dark spots and wrinkles.
Anti inflammatory property
It’s clinically proven that lavender oil prevents inflammation and allergic reactions when used either topically or through injections. Also, it can prevent bronchial asthma and restrain inflammation in the lungs.
Due to its antibacterial compounds, lavender suppresses fungal infections and irritations on the skin like common yeast candida. Study states that the effects of lavender oil on various strains of candida with some very positive results. More constituents in lavender oil that are subject to its antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory properties include cis-ocimene, lavandulyl acetate, 1, 8-cineole, limonene and geraniol.
Boosts gut health
Lavender oil is beneficial for digestion considering the fact that it boosts the ability to move food within the intestine. Other than that it also triggers the production of gastric juices and bile that helps in the treatment of indigestion, colic, flatulence, stomach pain, diarrhoea and vomiting.
Cures respiratory problems
Lavender oil can lessen respiratory disorders such as cold, flu, cough, asthma, throat infections, sinus congestion, tonsillitis, laryngitis and bronchitis. It can be used topically by applying on your neck, chest, or back and can also be inhaled as mist. The energizing nature of lavender oil can recline the phlegm and alleviate the congestion caused due to respiratory conditions thus, speeding up the regaining process. The vapor of lavender oil also possesses antibacterial properties which combat respiratory tract infections.
Lavender oil consists of analgesic property and is proven to be remarkable when it comes to treating different types of pains like headache, sprain, rheumatism, migraine, muscle pains, etc. Lavender oil relieves the pain and calms the affected area.
Alleviates menstrual cramps and PMS
Researchers concluded that lavender might help to alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms. Women at reproductive age encounter various symptoms in the premenstrual state known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Another latest study proves that when lavender oil is massaged on the skin it can relieve dysmenorrhoea, which is related with menstrual pain and cramping.
Lavender oil is a nourishing substitute to medicines that are prescribed by practitioners for insomnia. Not only it inhibits sleeplessness but it also enhances the regularity of sleep and loosens up the body and mind. Studies state that lavender increases slow-wave sleep in which the heartbeat slows down and muscles calm. The brain organizes memory while in this state.
Uses of Lavender
Lavender is one of the most versatile of all essential oils. It is mostly popular for its soothing effects on the body and mind. Therapeutic-grade lavender has been immensely recommended for the skin. It is also helpful to relieve skin irritations, clean cuts, and bruises. The sweet aroma is refreshing and relaxing.
Side-Effects & Allergies of Lavender
A published study revealed that continuous usage of lavender oil on the skin triggers pre-pubertal gynecomastia, a condition that enlarges breast tissue in boys before puberty. Use of lavender oil should be discussed with a medical practitioner if one is pregnant or breast-feeding.
Cultivation of Lavender
Lavender is a flowering shrub native to the Mediterranean region and North Africa; dating back to more than 2,500 years ago. Archaic civilizations such as the Arabians, Egyptians and Phoenicians used lavender in the preparation of perfumes and mummification. On the other hand the Romans, Persians and Greeks added it to their bathwater to purify their skin. Also in the bible, lavender oil has been mentioned as the aromatic used for healing.