Herb of the Week
Lavender: (Lavendula vera)
Part used: the plant
Medicinal properties: stimulant, aromatic, fragrant, calmative
Description and uses:
Lavender is one of those herbs with a distinct smell we are all familiar with. It has been used for thousands of years by many civilisations, and continues to be used today in soaps, perfumes, moisturisers and other body care products, as well as its essential oil.
Lavender can be used in combination with other herbs, as its pleasant taste can be used to disguise their sometimes not-so-pleasant taste.
Calming and relaxing
Drinking lavender tea, or inhaling the essential oil of lavender, or its fresh or dried flowers, can have a calming and relaxing effect on the body. It can help to alleviate anxiety, depression, nervousness and a range of symptoms caused by stress, and treat insomnia and other sleep disorders. Additionally, headaches and migraines can be treated by rubbing a few drops of lavender oil into the temples and forehead.
Helps with sleep
Sprinkling a few drops of lavender oil on bed sheets or pillow cases, or adding around 5 drops to a bath at night, can help to get a good night’s sleep, and is often used for this purpose with babies.
Lavender can also prevent fainting, through its calming effects, and nausea, indigestion and flatulence, through its ability to relax the digestive tract and relieve excess bloating.
Lavender essential oils have been shown to have powerful antiseptic properties, effectively killing bacteria, and helping to heal sores and ulcers on the body.
Using lavender on burns or other injuries can help to minimise the formation of scar tissue, and can be applied topically to treat insect bites, relieving inflammation and pain. The oil diluted can be used to treat a range of skin complaints such as eczema or acne.
The flowers and leaves are traditionally dried and used to give a sweet perfume to drawers and linen cupboards. This also has the added benefit of deterring moths from clothing. The leaves can be used in cooking to season food.
Helps with colds
Using lavender oil as a rub, or inhaling it with steam, can help to treat colds, coughs, asthma and bronchitis, as well as the flu, pneumonia or tonsillitis.
Lavender has a mild diuretic effect, and for this reason, can help the body to detoxify—by its intake, toxins accumulated in the body are quickly eliminated through the skin and urine.
Remember, like all essential oils, lavender oil is strong, and a little goes a long way. However, with a long list of uses for a wide range of ailments and maladies, it is no wonder that lavender has been such a popular herb for such a long time.
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