Lavender (scientific name: Lavandula) is an aromatic perennial that has been used for medicinal, therapeutic and culinary purposes for over 2,500 years and is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Lavender is one of the most fragrant and highly versatile herbs known to man and is grown all over the world with Bulgaria, England, The United States, and France at the forefront of production of Lavender Essential Oil.
The most commonly cultivated Lavender species is English Lavender (scientific name: Lavandula Angustifolia) due to its ability to tolerate humidity and other environmental factors very well. In many areas Lavender grows wild and although most varieties of Lavender are blue or purple, there are a few species bearing yellow and pink flowers instead. Lavender should always be harvested at the peak of the days heat for optimal performance.
Lavender’s roots are deeply tied with ancient herbalists and Ancient Egyptians used Lavender for a variety of purposes including for perfumes and embalming during their mummification processes as well as as a medicine. Fast forward and there are many other amazing benefits and uses known today.
Lavender Essential Oil is mostly extracted from the flowers, typically through a process called steam distillation, where the majority of Lavender’s benefits can be found. As we already stated, Lavender offers many powerful properties that have been scientifically shown to be effective in treating many diseases, disorders and ailments, and Lavender Essential Oil is often considered the best way to utilize these properties. Most commonly the Lavender Essential Oil is used in aromatherapy, skin care products and in herbal medicines. For aromatherapy purposes the herbs can be dried and hung or fresh picked and placed in a vase in your home or simmered in a pot on the stove. Lavender Essential Oil is usually added to a diffuser, room spray, perfume or potpourri dish for aromatherapy purposes.
Below we go over many of the amazing benefits and uses of Lavender in both herbal and essential oil forms. One thing is for sure, the more Lavender is studied and used, the more benefits that are discovered.
Benefits and Uses of Lavender in Herbal Form
Many of the benefits and properties of the Lavender plant include it being anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-convulsive, anti-rheumatic, anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressant, analgesic, carminative, parasiticidal, insecticidal, disinfectant, antiseptic, vermifungal, nervine, cytophylactic, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, emmenagogue, galactogogue, diuretic, decongestant, hypotensive, sedative, sudorific, tonic, rubefacient, vulnerary, and is deodorizing and restorative too.
Lavender Culinary Information
For culinary purposes Lavender buds should be vibrantly colored and tightly closed to ensure the best quality and taste. Of course the Lavender buds should also be organic and stored in a tightly sealed container away from light and moisture. If Lavender buds are stored properly, they should maintain freshness for approximately six months.
When ingesting Lavender as a culinary herb or supplement, it is great at helping your body increase its uptake of vitamins and minerals and is great for eye, skin, and mucus membranes due to its high content of Vitamin A. It is often recommended that you take a maximum of 44-78 grams a day of this macro-nutrient. The great part is that this serving contains approximately a whooping 287 IU of Vitamin A, 200 mg of Calcium, and 2 mg of Iron among other things.
Another great benefit of Lavender is that it is a low-fat and low-calorie food and may be used to make delicious foods and drinks such as meats, salads, dressings, condiments, cheeses, ice creams, teas, herb-infused water, chocolates, lemonade, baked goods, baked potatoes, and Lavender may be candied or blended with sugar. Lavender tea and Lavender lemonade are very popular choices for those seeking to add Lavender to their diet and they are extremely refreshing, uplifting and relaxing all in one. Lavender nectar is often used to make high-quality honey as well. Yum!
Lavender as a Supplement
Lavender is often taken in capsule form as a supplement, particularly by those that either don’t like the floral flavor, or by those that don’t want to or can’t incorporate Lavender into their culinary recipes for whatever reason. If you want to fill your own capsules, Lavender may be purchased as dried whole-buds, cut and sifted or in powder forms. If you purchase the whole buds to put into capsules, it may be a good idea to break it up as best as possible for easier digestion. Of course you may also purchase pre-filled capsules from reputable companies as well if you don’t have the time or don’t want to deal with filling them yourself.
Benefits and Uses of Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender Essential Oil has been shown to have a well-researched impact on humans, particularly on the autonomic nervous system and is used to treat many issues within and on the body. Lavender Essential Oil is primarily extracted through a process known as steam distillation and is typically made using only the Lavender flowers (buds) that are at their peak of perfection. There is a variety of Lavender Essential Oils to choose from as well and all vary in their aromas to an extent. Some smell sweeter than others, but they all smell amazing!
Lavender Essential Oil is great for treating insomnia, regulating heart rate, lowering blood pressure, protecting from heart attacks and atherosclerosis, treating hypertension, restoring hormonal balance, treating urinary disorders, reducing cystitis or inflammation of the bladder and relieving associated cramps, enhancing blood circulation, creating and maintaining immunity against many diseases including rare ones such as Tuberculosis, Typhoid and Diphtheria, treating respiratory problems, reducing anxiety and stress, calming and sedating, slowing the aging process, soothing aching muscles and joints, relieving headaches, sprains, backache and lumbago, treating throat infections including those from the flu, cough, cold, asthma, bronchitis, whooping-cough, laryngitis, tonsillitis, and sinus infections, relieving congestion due to its ability to break up and loosen phlegm while helping the body to rid itself of unwanted material, speeding up recovery time, helping to prevent certain cancers, increasing food mobility within the intestines, aiding the digestive system by stimulating the production of gastric juices and bile, relieving gas, colic, vomiting and diarrhea, treating leucorrhoea, healing burns and wounds, restoring complexion through its ability to reduce acne and wrinkles while slowing aging with powerful antioxidants, speeding up sunburn healing time, improving eczema and psoriasis, relieving pain and itching from bug bites or stings, disinfecting the scalp and hair, repelling bugs, killing lice, lice eggs and nits, preventing hair loss (particularly for alopecia), and for preventing male patterned baldness.
Lavender Essential Oil may be used in an ultrasonic aromatherapy diffuser to reap many of Lavender Essential Oil’s benefits and for the amazing aroma. We always recommend making sure that your diffusers are BPA free and want you to be aware that BPA is found in many diffusers, so do make sure and read the product information before purchasing one…or two…or three. Best case scenario, you will have a minimum of three diffusers (or more depending on how big your home is) throughout your home to ensure it covers the entire home. Lavender Essential Oil is considered one of the most popular essential oils on the market, most likely because of it’s wide variety of uses and the fact that it is possibly also one of the safest ones to use and can be used on children.
Lavender Essential Oil is also added to many cosmetics, perfumes, lotions, hair products, bug and pest repellents, candles, potpourris, and more. If you make any of your own products at home, Lavender Essential Oil works great for almost everyone and is highly versatile, therefore we highly recommend considering adding Lavender Essential Oil to your products if you don’t already.
As you can see, Lavender and Lavender Essential Oil have so much to offer us that it’s no wonder it is considered a holy grail plant by many. The Herb Forest truly hopes that you have enjoyed another one of our articles and we would love to hear from you! Please feel free to browse The Herb Forest’s Shop where you can find Lavender and Lavender Essential Oil as well as a wide variety of other amazing natural products! Thank you!