Arguably the best natural remedy with almost unbelievable health and healing benefits…
Lavender is so much more than just a pretty flower with a sweet scent. Incredibly versatile, the health benefits of this amazing natural remedy seem to know no bounds…
So just what is lavender used for? And what does it do?
Its powerful healing properties have been used in aromatherapy for thousands of years for a wide variety of ailments ranging from being unable to sleep, getting rid of headaches and pain, to working wonders for skin and hair health. Lavender is also renowned as being one of the best natural remedies to reduce stress and anxiety and improve mental well-being and mood. And it does so quickly too...
Before you add yet another over-the-counter medicine to your first aid kit, first have a look at all the different – and natural – health and healing benefits you can get from just this one. Here’s how the multi-purpose magic of lavender essential oil can be used to help with a whole bunch of health issues you and your family…
LAVENDER OIL BENEFITS FOR SKIN HEALTH
1. It helps treat acne and soothes irritated skin
Lavender is a potent antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory so it can be used to treat a number of skin problems like eczema, psoriasis and other allergies. It’s also a highly effective and proven treatment when you have an acne flare-up and to help keep blemishes at bay.
2. It minimizes wrinkles and age spots
Due to its powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, lavender not only nourishes the skin back to a healthy glow, but also helps prevent wrinkles and lightens the appearance of age spots and dark marks. Antioxidants fight off the free radicals that bombard your skin on a daily basis and speed up the aging process.
3. It has wound healing properties
Because it’s an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory, lavender oil helps speed up the healing of small burns, cuts, scrapes and wounds. Its soothing compounds also provide welcome relief from sunburn.
4. It relieves itchy bug bites and keeps insects at bay
Lavender not only helps calm inflamed and irritating bites and stings but also acts as an effective insect repellant. A lavender sachet in your closet is well known to ward off moths, and a lavender spray also successfully repels mosquitoes, flies, ants, fleas and bed bugs.
5. It helps combat fungal and viral infections
As an antimicrobial, lavender not only helps eliminate bacteria but also acts against certain types of fungi. It’s been found to be a highly potent remedy for athlete’s foot and ringworm. It can also help reduce inflammation and clear up viral infections such as cold sores and warts.
How to use lavender for skin health:
• Dilute 9 drops of lavender essential oil in one tablespoon of carrier oil like jojoba or sweet almond oil. Reduce dosage if you have sensitive skin.
• You can also add lavender essential oil to an unscented face cream using the same dilution ratio.
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LAVENDER OIL BENEFITS FOR HAIR HEALTH
6. It may stimulate hair growth
Preliminary research suggests lavender oil not only stimulates new hair growth but can also increase scalp and hair health and thickness when massaged in daily. Another study showed that massaging in a mix of lavender, thyme, rosemary, and cedarwood essential oils can significantly improve hair loss caused by alopecia areata.
7. It’s a natural treatment for head lice
Proven to be more effective than common over the counter treatments, a combination of lavender and tea tree oils diluted in olive or coconut oil has been found to clear up head lice after 3 weeks.
8. It can help improve hair health
Because lavender oil is an antimicrobial, it may prevent the formation of dandruff. Its natural anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce scalp inflammation and dry scalp.
How to use lavender oil for hair health:
• Mix equal parts of lavender essential oil and a carrier oil like coconut or olive oil, massage into the scalp and wait 10 minutes. Leave on overnight for the best results.
• Add 5 drops of lavender essential oil to one ounce of unscented shampoo or conditioner.
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LAVENDER OIL BENEFITS FOR MIND HEALTH
9. It improves stress, anxiety and mood
There’s plenty of research that shows that lavender has a soothing, calming effect on mood, stress, anxiety, and depression. One study found that lavender oil performed exactly the same as a prescription medication in reducing anxiety. Another observed that lavender lessens anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression. It has also been shown to help with postpartum depression and PTSD symptoms. Lavender has even been found to improve emotional health and mood.
10. It supports better brain health
Interestingly, lavender oil has been shown to improve memory loss and dementia symptoms due to its potent antioxidant properties. A study also found that lavender is an effective natural treatment option for other nervous system disorders affecting the brain such as a stroke.
11. It clears up a headache or migraine
When a tension or migraine headache strikes, lavender has been proven to be one of the best essential oils to help. As a natural sedative, it works quickly to relieve tension, ease anxiety, relax the body and calm the mind.
How to use lavender essential oil for mind health:
• One of the best ways is to diffuse lavender essential oil at a rate of 3 to 5 drops per cup of water for 15-20 minutes at a time.
• Otherwise simply take a couple of deep sniffs into each nostril straight out of the bottle for immediate relief.
• A hot compress infused with the healing benefits of lavender can be particularly helpful for a headache or migraine, and even to relieve stress. Warm up a lavender spa mask or neck pillow in the microwave and place on the forehead, temples, or back of the neck.
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LAVENDER OIL BENEFITS FOR BODY HEALTH
12. It improves sleep and insomnia
Good quality sleep is widely recognized to be the most important thing for optimal health. Many studies have shown that lavender is a natural choice to improve the length of sleep, the time it takes to fall asleep, and reduce insomnia – all due to its calming and sedative properties. It’s been found to increase the percentage of deep sleep amongst both men and women, improve sleep quality scores for midlife insomniacs, and also enhance the quality of sleep amongst young mothers.
13. It reduces blood pressure and heart rate
Hypertension puts added stress on the heart, increasing the risk of a stroke or heart attack. A few studies have shown lavender to lower blood pressure and heart palpitations, including amongst postoperative open heart surgery patients.
14. It lessens menopausal and PMS symptoms
A small study has shown that lavender aromatherapy for 20 minutes twice a day can help reduce hot flashes. Regular aromatherapy massages using lavender, rose geranium, rose and jasmine oils also improved hot flashes, depression and pain. Lavender aromatherapy has also been found to alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms.
15. It eases most types of pain
Whether it’s a muscle or joint pain, sprain or back ache, lavender oil is a safe and effective natural painkiller. Many studies support its use for a wide array of pain conditions, including post-operative pain, menstrual cramps, neck pain, arthritis and rheumatism, and labor pain.
16. It helps relieve respiratory symptoms
As a potent anti-inflammatory, lavender has been found to help with bronchial asthma to reduce inflammation of the airways and mucus. This could also apply to other respiratory conditions like colds, flu, coughs and sinus congestion, especially when lavender is used together with other essential oils.
How to use lavender essential oil for body health:
• Aside from diffusing lavender oil, you can also toss a lavender sachet under your pillow and spritz your linen with lavender spray for a better night’s sleep. A warm bath before bed has also been shown to improve sleep.
• To help clear up colds and flu or other respiratory conditions, add 3-7 drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl with 2-3 cups of hot water, place a towel over your head, and breathe in for 5-10 minutes.
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WHAT DOES LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL DO?
All essential oils are extracted from plant material through steam distillation. With lavender, it takes about 3 pounds of flowers to pack all the powerful healing properties of the plant into just half an ounce of essential oil.
So lavender essential oil doesn’t just smell nice. It’s made up of hundreds of soothing natural compounds, and when you inhale it or apply to your skin, it can have a profound effect on both your mind and your body.
So just how does lavender oil work? When the scent of lavender essential oil is inhaled, the aromatic molecules travel up your nose to your olfactory bulb, which immediately sends a message to the limbic system, often referred to as the ‘emotional brain’. The limbic system influences many basic things like breathing, blood pressure, stress levels and hormone balance. But it’s also where your memories, emotions and feelings are stored. That’s why the scent of cookies baking can quickly trigger a memory from childhood.
This whole process happens within milliseconds. It’s why we often have an immediate response when we smell something - instantly triggering a mood, emotion or physical reaction. And it’s why just one whiff of lavender can often make you immediately feel calmer and more relaxed.
Lavender essential oil also works effectively when applied to the skin. It has a low molecular weight and is fat soluble, which means its healing components easily penetrate skin and provide benefits to the body. When applied topically, it is rapidly absorbed - it takes a mere 20 minutes for the oil to affect every cell in the body. And in many instances, you actually get a twofold benefit as you also inhale the essential oil at the same time as you apply it topically.
Because it’s highly concentrated and potent, it’s important to note that lavender essential oil always needs to be diluted before applied topically. It’s also a good idea to safety test for sensitivity on the inside of your upper arm before use.
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MAKE SURE YOU USE 100% PURE LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
As essential oils aren’t regulated, it can be very easy to purchase the wrong product instead of a pure lavender essential oil. Here’re some things to look out for to make sure you’re getting a 100% pure lavender essential oil:
Avoid ‘fragranced’ or ‘perfume oils’: Fragranced oils are just that – a synthetic fragrance or perfume added to an oil without all the health and healing benefits of a pure lavender essential oil extracted from the plant.
Check the label: It should include the Latin name of the plant, which in the case of lavender is Lavandula angustifolia, if other ingredients have been added to it (should be the just pure lavender essential oil without fillers), and country of origin.
Dark colored glass bottles: Reputable companies package essential oils in either brown or blue glass bottles to protect the quality. Pure lavender essential oils are highly concentrated and degrade plastic bottles over time.
Evaluate the company: Look for a trustworthy company or brand that has been around for a number of years.
Compare prices: Prices between different brands can cover a broad range depending upon their production and sourcing methods. Pure essential oil prices can also vary widely within a brand due to the scarcity/availability of each base ingredient. However, if you find a lavender essential oil at a rock bottom price, it’s probably not genuine.
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