Lavender belongs to the mint family and like other members is famous for its strong perfume. In Elizabethan times it was used to perfume clothing and bed linen, while these days it is a common ingredient in perfumes and potpourris.
Medical Herbalist Gabriella Clarke introduces some of the health benefits of lavender and the conditions it can help.
Lavender is well known for inducing sleep. One study showed that patients coming off sleeping pills experienced some relief from the withdrawal effects when using lavender oil. It was also noted that daytime wakefulness improved as did sleep quality.
Try putting a few drops of the essential oil in an oil burner in your bedroom. Alternatively, lavender pillow sprays and capsules are available. [i]
ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION:
If you are looking for a natural way to beat the blues or get through anxious moments, lavender has been shown in studies[ii] to significantly alleviate symptoms. Inhaling the oil may help but taking tablets or tincture is more beneficial.
Inhaling lavender oil may be a safe and effective way to manage migraines. Forty-seven patients suffering from migraine attacks reported significant reduction of pain severity and associated symptoms after 15 minutes inhalation of lavender oil (2-3 drops of the lavender essential oil rubbed on to their upper lip) in the early stages of an attack[iii].
BACK AND NECK PAIN:
Research shows lavender oil may help control chronic pain. A group of patients suffering from non-specific neck and lower back pain were given eight sessions of acupressure with lavender oil over three weeks. At the end of the study[iv] all reported less pain as well as improved movement in the cervical and lumbar spine.
Lavender wheat pillows, which you heat in the microwave and place over the affected area, can be a comforting way to manage pain.
DID YOU KNOW?
Lavender helps to repel pests such as flies, mosquitoes and even mice. Try strewing lavender blooms in areas you want to keep pest free.
For more information on lavender check out the lavender herb fact file