Lavender or Lavandula are 39 varieties of fragrant herbs that produce spiked flowers in beautiful color of pale tint of violet, which has given the color its name. The herb belongs to the Mint family of Lamiaceae and is native to Eurasia. The attractive color of the plant has seen it being used for creating aesthetically pleasing landscapes and gardens. The dry flowers of lavender are packed in sachets, to give out perfume the clothes in which they are kept. The sachets are kept in cupboards, drawers and suitcases to keep bacteria and moths away.
Common lavender, the most widely cultivated variety, is scientifically known as Lavandual Angustifolia. It is a Mediterranean shrub that is cultivated for commercial purposes. The lilac-purple flowers of the shrub contain the oil, from which the aromatic Lavender flower oil is obtained. The Lavender spike oil is also distilled from the herb. The pleasant fragrance of the herb has seen its use in manufacture of soaps, perfumes, shampoos, vinegar and powders. The herb is also widely used for culinary purposes.
The whole of the lavender plant including the flowers, leaves, spikes and seeds are used for various health benefits. It has good antiseptic and anti-inflammatory qualities which are used to treat skin infections. The soothing aroma of the herb has been used to induce sleep and relax the mind for ages. The herb is also known for its anti-depressant, analgesic, antispasmodic, sedative, deodorant properties. When used in bath, the herb relaxes the body, in addition to detoxing it to a great extent.
The medicinal uses of lavender include the treatment of:
- Bacterial and fungal skin infections
- Stress, anxiety, depression and sadness
- Tension headaches
- Digestive tract problems like stomach ache, nausea and gas
- Restless sleep
- Cuts, burns and wounds
- Arthritis and rheumatism
Lavender Essential Oil
The heavenly fragrant Lavender essential oil has long been used in production of perfumes, soaps, powders and other products. Known for the calming effect of its scent, it is widely used in aromatherapy to provide relief from stress and anxiety. A light massage from the oil is known to help fight headaches, tensions, cough, colds and infections in respiratory tracts. Diluted Lavender oil (10%) with witch hazel, rosewater or just plain water, when applied to the affected area can effectively treat acne, skin burns and inflammatory conditions. The oil is also used to heal, stretch marks, burns, alopecia, psoriasis, nausea, hair fall, asthma, toothaches, scars, and many other conditions.
Boil water in a kettle or any bowl with tight lid. Add 1 tsp of fresh or dried lavender to the water and steep it for 10 minutes. Strain the mix and drink the tea lukewarm to find relief from headaches, nausea, and congestion.
Lavender Air Freshener
Boil dried leaves of lavender in a broad rimmed open pot and allow the scent to fill in the home. Add lavender to the flower pots, or drop a bit of lavender oil to burning candle to scent the room without the side effects of chemical air fresheners.
Dipping a towel in strong concoction prepared by boiling lavender makes a good compress to relieve stress and aches. It is also known to provide relief from hangovers, cure acnes and uplift the spirit.