Common Names for Lavender -- lavender, English lavender, garden lavender
Latin Name for Lavender -- Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. It was used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies.
Lavender's use as a bath additive originated in Persia, Greece, and Rome. The herb's name comes from the Latin lavare, which means "to wash."
What Lavender Is Now Used For
- Historically, lavender was used as an antiseptic and for mental health purposes.
- Today, the herb is used for conditions such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and depression.
- Lavender is also used for headache, upset stomach, and hair loss.
How Lavender Is Used
Lavender is most commonly used in aromatherapy, in which the scent of the Lavender Essential Oil from the flowers is inhaled. The oil can be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin. It is gentle enough to use on babies 3 months and older and is wonderful for helping the elderly (and everyone in-between) fall asleep. Because the oil is concentrated, you will only need to use one or two drops when needed. In other words, a little bottle goes a LONG way.
Suggested Uses for Lavender Oil
Place one drop of Lavender Essential Oil on your pillow to promote a deep and restful sleep, or rub a drop or two on the bottoms of your feet to promote relaxation and help boost the immune system. If you inhale the oil straight from the bottle when nervous, anxious or under stress, the oil will help to calm. Spray Lavender Essential Oil in the air or on linens to help purify and refreshen. Topical use of diluted lavender oil or use of lavender as aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults.
Dried lavender flowers can be used to make teas or liquid extracts that can be taken by mouth.
What the Science Says
Small studies on lavender for anxiety show results. Some preliminary results indicate that lavender oil, combined with oils from other herbs, may help with hair loss from a condition called alopecia areata.
Side Effects and Cautions
- Lavender oil is poisonous if taken by mouth.
- When lavender teas and extracts are taken by mouth, they may cause headache, changes in appetite, and constipation.
- Using lavender with sedative medications may increase drowsiness.
See also: Lavender as an Herb
Food for Thought
Supplement Safety: The American Association of Poison Control Centers, published in the journal "Clinical Toxicology," no deaths have ever been found from vitamin or mineral supplements.
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Putting this into perspective: That is more than all the Americans killed in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and the Gulf War - combined.
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