The Many Healing Benefits of Lavender
Lavender (Lavandula officinalis, et. al.) is thought to have originated in Mediterranean Europe. For centuries European peoples have valued it for its healing benefits--both physical and spiritual.
What makes Lavender so good at healing?
Lavender is made up of volatile fractions, including linalyl, acetate, linalool, caryophyllene, terpinen, octanone, myrcene, borneol, camphor, and limonene, just to name a few. These (and others) chemical ingredients within lavender make it especially effective against burns, bruises, and muscle pulls, sprains, and external contusions. Along with external remedies, lavender makes just as good of healing internally. Used in a tea/infusion or lavender water, the healing chemistry of lavender can be put to use calming nausea, reducing colic in infants, and even calming young ones down to promote healthy sleep. And...a little bit of lavender essential oil goes a long way!
Using Lavender Externally
Lavender acts much like camphor and eucalyptus when used for sports rubs, and is very soothing for muscle pulls/injuries, sprains, and burns. Next time you suffer a sunburn, brew a lavender infusion, let cool or even refrigerate it, and spray the sunburned area of the body for a cool and soothing remedy. Lavender essential oil is also a great use in curbing tension and stress-related headaches by rubbing a little bit onto the temples, massaging gently for a few minutes to ease the ache.
Using Lavender internally
Normally, lavender oil is used specifically for external conditions. If it is desired to utilize the healing properties of lavender within the body, it's best to brew an infusion with the dried flowers. Lavender water is another means of ingesting lavender. There are many conditions that lavender is very beneficial to treating:
- nausea and indigestion
- colic and vomiting
- upset stomach/digestion
- nervousness and anxiety
The main issue with utilizing lavender essential oil externally is that the oil is definitely not recommended to be used internally. And there is a whole range of digestive health benefits and healing properties that are not present when the oil is inhaled.
As a carminative, lavender is mainly put into use by the body through the gastrointestinal walls. Much like peppermint, lavender can be used to treat nausea, indigestion with gas, and general upset or uneasiness within that area of the body. This is especially useful with infants with colic and young children with emotional upset due to stomach upset.
Lavender is also considered a lucky herb, and planting a patch of lavender near an entry way is a sure-fire way to enjoy all it has to offer. More on the spiritual benefits of lavender later, so stay tuned!
Aromatherapy with Lavender
Aromatherapy is a valid therapeutic practice. Scents from essential oils are easily absorbed within the mucus membranes of the nasal and oral cavities, entering the systemic circulation to deliver various healing properties. This in turn results in healing a whole multitude of conditions, from physical to mental and emotional.
When using lavender oil as an aromatherapy, the healing benefits are directly related to the Spirit: stress, tension, anxiety and depression. Believe it or not, these negative mental states of the Spirit have a direct impact on the body's physical health. Stress and tension can lead to pounding headaches-turned-migraines, sore muscles, and loss of sleep.
Anxiety and depression can lead to the same conditions, and even go a bit further and lead to upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, vomiting, and general dis-ease of the whole digestive system. In short, lavender as an aromatherapy continues to prove beneficial in many applications involving stress-reduction and promoting relaxation, harmony, and mental well-being.