The lavender plant is a flowering evergreen shrub originating in the Mediterranean region. The plant grows to about 3 feet tall and the flower is collected, dried and used for external and internal purposes.
The essential oil extracted from the lavender flower contains more than 150 chemical compounds. The fragrance of lavender stays potent long after the flowers have dried.
Benefits of Lavender
Applied externally, lavender oil can protect sunburned skin and prevent infection in blisters that are caused by 3rd degree sunburn. Used as a compress it tightens the skin to prevent further damage as it heals.
Studies show that the lavender plant oil has sedative capabilities. A tea made from the flowers is used as a tonic for restlessness and insomnia. It is also used in the treatment of headache relief because of its relaxation qualities.
At the University of Leicester in England, researchers monitored the sleep habits of nursing home patients and found that they slept just as long and more soundly when the fragrance of lavender oil was infused into the air during the night hours, as compared to when they took their regular medications.
Lavender helps calm the smooth muscle lining the digestive tract. It also promotes the secretion of bile which helps digest fats and is used for relief of intestinal gas. Also discovered is the calming of the muscle in the uterus which relieves menstrual cramps.
Lavender oil is widely advocated as a remedy for stress, nervous tension and anxiety. Massage therapists are known to add lavender to a neutral oil thereby enhancing the relaxing effect of the total body massage.
The lavender plant, when the oil is extracted from the flower, provides relief from rheumatism, sprains, sore joints and strained muscles.
Side Effects of Lavender
Lavender is considered safe in the recommended amounts. There have been a few reports of minor skin allergies. Consult your physician before taking this or any other supplement.
Because of its sedative qualities, do not mix with prescription tranquilizers or pain medicine. Excessive use of the tea could bring about drowsiness.
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