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Lavender is as old as humankind. Traced back 2,500 years, this beautifully-scented herb has been used in the following ways: perfume, disinfectant, deodorant, aphrodisiac and insect repellant.
Did you know lavender was also used in ancient times to tame lions and tigers? Perhaps ancient peoples intuitively knew what researchers are finding out about lavender...it calms anxiety and provides natural stress relief. And that's not all -- lavender has a long list of medicinal properties, making it a natural health superstar.
These days, lavender is enjoying renewed popularity as an alternative to conventional drug treatments.
Lavender is known as a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and natural stress relief.
One recent study discovered that the scent of lavender increases the time you spend in deep (slow wave) sleep, though the effects were stronger for women than for men. 1 Other findings suggest that lavender reduces the severity of depression when taken concurrently with an antidepressant.2
While lavender aromatherapy can help with your sleep and mood, it also has a wide range of health benefits.
Throughout history, people have turned to lavender for all kinds of ailments including acne treatment, skin disorders, digestive complaints, pain relief, and to prevent and treat infections.
While much of the evidence that supports the medicinal use of lavender is anecdotal, scientists are starting to research the effects of lavender on the body and have discovered that lavender has anti-microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties.3,4
Lavender has also been shown to reduce the progression of candida albicans and may be an effective treatment for other infections.5
In combination with other oils, lavender was found to slow the growth of breast cancer tumors in mice.6
Aromatherapists feel that lavender essential oil is the most versatile because of its many healing properties and considers it one of the best essential oils to have on hand.
Lavender grows naturally in dry, sunny, rocky areas and is native to the Mediterranean. France is the world leader in lavender trade, but it can be grown anywhere if you select the right variety and provide ideal growing conditions.
Commercially, lavender is already in many personal care products, although most of the time, it is in trace amounts and combined with chemicals that are not ideal for your skin or your health. If you want to experiment with the many uses of lavender, it is available fresh, dried and powdered, and as an essential oil.
Essential oils are concentrated extracts from the plant, making them 70 times more potent than the plant itself!
Some options for using lavender essential oil are:
You can also use the fragrant dried flowers of lavender to make wonderful scented sachets. For a natural alternative to mothballs, add the sachets to your drawers and closets. Of course, this provides an added benefit of relaxing lavender aromatherapy to your clothing as well!
There has been some speculation that lavender and tea tree oils in shampoos and lotions could create an estrogen-like affect in pre-pubescent boys, causing them to develop breast tissue. There were 3 reported cases that went away after the products were discontinued, so while laboratory research is still inconclusive, it's important to be aware of how any product can affect children.7
Before you reach for over the counter drugs for your next headache, skin eruption or muscle ache, do what ancient Egyptians did and look to nature first! After all, if lavender could tame tigers, imagine what it could do for Monday mornings at the office
Lavender essential oil
has so many benefits that can be a wonderful part of your natural health lifestyle.
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