Lavender Benefits, how do I love thee? Let me count 8 ways…

Lavender Benefits, how do I love thee? Let me count 8 ways…

I love lavender! Just the mildest whiff makes me sigh with release.

And, of course, stress relief: That’s what lavender is all about.

I’ve had a stressful couple of weeks. An almost fatal computer crash that took a couple of weeks to remedy, but saved me from having into invest in a new laptop (thanks to my tech support friend at Apple) and this morning’s near death of my iPhone, thankfully averted by Verizon tech support.

So, yeah, with all the other everyday “stuff,” I’ve been stressed. That’s why a keep a bottle of lavender essential oil on my desk (yes, I pause every couple of minutes as I’m writing this and take a sniff) and another in my nightstand. I actually should keep another bottle in my purse to help me deal with moments like last Monday night’s County Commission meeting that turned out to be a waste of time.

There’s quite a bit of research on lavender essential oil, particularly as a stress reliever. One German-Iranian team came to positive conclusion published 2013 in the journal Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative MedicineI: the use of lavender as an anti-stressor in a survey of a large number of published studies on lavender.

Since stress is the underlying cause of more than 80% of doctor visits, this one tool should be an important part of everyone’s natural arsenal.

In fact, lavender is important enough that it will be added to the next edition of my book, 10 Best Ways to Manage Stress.

But there’s even better news: Lavender is great for more than stress relief.

Before I get going, please note that many essential oils can burn your skin if used undiluted. I like to dilute them in organic almond oil or jojoba oil, 20-30 drops to an ounce of carrier oil. Olive oil will do in a pinch, but I think the odors clash.

Also, please do not take most essential oils internally. Many oils are harmful if ingested. They are meant to be rubbed on the skin or inhaled. Rub it on the pulse points where we once put our perfumes. Now we know better than to expose ourselves to unrelenting toxic artificial fragrances. It’s fine to simply inhale from the bottle, put a few drops on a cotton ball, piece of cloth or on your pillow case or use an aromatherapy diffuser.

Here’s a short list of health benefits of a whiff or two of lavender:

Headache relief: European research showed that inhaling lavender essential oil for 15 minutes significantly reduced migraine pain, probably because it contains coiumarin compounds that dilate blood vessels.

Improve brain function: Lavender is an anti-oxidant, so it can be a powerful defender against a host of chronic diseases. Animal studies have shown inhaling lavender can reduce oxidative stress (not the same as emotional stress) on the brain and improve memory.

Sleep inducer: Science shows that lavender slows the activity of the nervous system and promotes better sleep quality with few sleep interruptions.

Treats acne: Lavender’s anti-bacterial (anti-viral and anti-fungal) effects make it an excellent treatment for acne, eczema, fungal infections and wounds.

Treats respiratory disorders: Lavender helps rid your body of phlegm and relieves congestion. It’s often used in vaporizers to treat any kind of nasal or chest congestion.

Pain relief: A massage with lavender oil can relieve joint and muscle pain and even backache and sprains. One fascinating study on postoperative pain relief showed that patients who had lavender vapor added to their oxygen experienced far less pain that those who did not get the lavender infusion.

Hair health: If you’ve got thinning hair or a receding hairline, try lavender! One study showed that people who massaged their scalps with lavender essential oil daily for seven months had significant hair re-growth. And if you’ve got dandruff, try a handful of diluted lavender oil before shampooing for its antifungal effects. Leave it on for at least five minutes.

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