Disclaimer: Lavender should not be used in place of prescribed medications.
Today, lavender is very popular in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine world. The lavender flower is widely known for its beautiful color and appealing fragrance. Its name derives from the Latin root “lavare”, which means “to wash”. Thousands of years ago, many regions, such as Persia, ancient Rome, and Greece used lavender in their baths, believing it helped purify the mind and body (Bowman, 2016).
Research today suggests this herb does offer numerous physical and mental health benefits. Lavender is well integrated into many skin and beauty products; however, this multipurpose plant has been used to treat several ailments and conditions. This flower contains antiseptic (anti-bacterial) and anti-inflammatory properties. It is most commonly used in the treatment of minor burns, bug bites, fungal infections, acne, insomnia, and restlessness (MedicalNewsToday, 2019***). Studies suggest that lavender also has potential mental health benefits, and can aid in stress and anxiety management. In a study published to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), researchers studied lavender’s effects on the nervous system and examined the herb’s anti-anxiety property. This study compared the effects of oral lavender oil and Lorazepam (an anxiety medication) on people with general anxiety disorder. After a 6-week intake of oral lavender oil (80 mg per day), the study indicated lavender use is comparable to a daily 0.5mg dosage of Lorazepam (Koulivand, Ghadiri, and Gorji, 2013). As the evidence suggests, lavender oil may be a helpful supplement to lower anxiety levels.
So, what are the best ways to reap the many benefits of lavender?
Aromatherapy is the most popular method, in which the fragrance from a lavender essential oil is used to promote relaxation and calmness. Lavender essential oils can be added to baths, diffusers, or even massaged right into the skin! If you don’t have an essential oil diffuser, lavender candles are also a popular way to benefit from the fragrance. Below is a recipe to make your very own lavender candle!
How To Make A Lavender Aromatherapy Candle
Cooking with Lavender
Another way to incorporate lavender into your life is by infusing it into foods and beverages. It adds a nice floral tone to beverages and foods, and promotes anxiety relief and wellbeing! A recipe I personally love is for lavender lemonade (attached below). The best way to make this recipe is with dried lavender flowers, rather than essential oil. Check it out and give it a try!
Makes 1.5 quarts
1. Combine sugar with 1 cup water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar.
2. Add lavender blooms to the sugar water, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand at least 2 minutes, or up to 2 hours
3. Strain the mixture and discard the lavender. Pour the infusion into a glass pitcher. Add lemon juice and another 4 cups water. Stir.
4. Pour into glasses over ice or refrigerate until ready to drink.
Bowman, J. (2016, June 6). What Lavender Can Do for You. Retrieved November 5, 2019, from https://www.healthline.com/health/what-lavender-can-do-for-you.
Fishel, H., & Simpson, V. (2015, May 8). Get Rid of Headaches & Anxiety with Homemade Lavender Lemonade & More. Retrieved November 5, 2019, from https://food- hacks.wonderhowto.com/how-to/get-rid-headaches-anxiety-with-homemade-lavender- lemonade-more-0161608/.
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. doi:10.1155/2013/681304
Nordqvist, J. (2019, March 4). Lavender: Health benefits and uses. Retrieved November 5, 2019, from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/265922.php#uses.
Organic, W. (2019, August 19). How To Make An Aromatherapy Candle With Essential Oils. Retrieved November 5, 2019, from https://wildlyorganic.com/blogs/recipes/how-to-make-an-aromatherapy-candle-with-essential-oils.
Prasertong, Anjali. “Recipe: Lavender Lemonade.” Recipes from the Kitchn, Kitchn, 3 May 2019, www.thekitchn.com/recipe-lavender-lemonade-recipes-from-the-kitchn-13827.
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