7 Benefits of Lavender
Lavender does not only possess a pleasant aroma and beautiful flowers, it also has many other wonderful properties.
1.) Can Increase Deep Sleep
It's no secret that lavender is used far and wide to promote good sleep. Before the widespread availability of lavender essential oils and lavender-scented products, like eye masks, heating pads, and dryer balls, people would dry lavender flowers and place them in a bag under their pillow.
Now, recent studies are pointing to lavender's ability to actually boost deep sleep when inhaled. That's because the lavender aroma increases delta waves in slow-wave sleep, which is the stage of sleep where you sleep the most deeply. It also reduces alpha waves in wake-stage sleep, which decreases the amount of restless sleep a person might experience.
2.) Fights Fungal and Bacterial Infections
Lavender is known for its attractive, calming scent, but did you know lavender also has antibacterial and antifungal properties? Studies are looking into how lavender essential oil compares to common antifungal medications on the market. Early data is showing that lavender may be more effective, making it a potential antifungal agent. It's also been found to be effective against many different species of bacteria, including staph infections.
So what makes it so soothing? Neither fungal nor bacterial infections are pleasant to experience, and lavender may have more power than we previously knew to alleviate some symptoms of both. It also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties.
3.) Can Potentially Reduce Pain
Lavender is often hailed for its ability to reduce pain, whether acute (temporary) or chronic (long-term). A study that looked at 100 ICU patients found that after massaging lavender essential oil into the feet of the patients, there were significantly noticeable changes. These included lowered blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, wakefulness, and pain.
When a person is in pain, blood pressure and heart rate can go up, showing that lavender may work as an all-natural pain reliever. Other studies show that lavender might work as a topical analgesic or painkiller when rubbed into an area of the body experiencing pain.
4.) Helps Alleviate Digestive Problems
You may have seen different lavender teas in grocery stores. While most purport calming or sleep benefits, others are designed to aid with digestion. Lavender is said to help with different digestive issues like vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas, upset stomach, and abdominal swelling.
5.) May Reduce Stress and Anxiety
Arguably the holy grail of lavender benefits is its proven merit in reducing stress and anxiety. Research shows that lavender can improve symptoms of anxiety, like restlessness, disturbed sleep, and even physical symptoms that anxiety can cause. Lavender was also shown to positively influence general well-being and quality of life.
6.) Soothes Itchy Insect Bites
If an insect has bitten you and you're looking for an herbal remedy to relieve the swelling, itching, or pain, lavender oil is a good option. According to the National Institutes of Health, linalool, the active chemical compound in lavender, alleviates the swelling and itchiness of insect bites. Its anti-inflammatory properties work on all insect bites, especially bee stings, and bites from fire ants and spiders.
7.) Adds a Unique Flavor to Foods and Drinks
You can use culinary lavender in a host of ways, from garnishing a cocktail to spicing up a dessert. Its flavor is similar to rosemary, with a hint of mint. Fresh and dried lavender can be mixed into marinades and salad dressings. Or add a lavender-infused syrup to iced tea or ice cream.
Lavender is fat-free and has only a few calories per tablespoon, but don't use too much. Its flavor is strong and distinctive. Lavender smoothies, teas, and coffees are all the rage at fancy coffee shops and cafés.
- Information for this blog post was sourced from Real Simple by Ashley Zlatopolsky.