7 Impressive Benefits of Lavender

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

In addition to its pleasant scent, lavender has a variety of important health benefits, which include its ability to relieve stress, improve mood, promote restful sleep, lower skin irritation, prevent infections, reduce inflammation, eliminate dandruff, and soothe stomach bloating.

What is Lavender?

Nearly forty plants within the mint family are technically classified as lavender, with the common form being Lavandula angustifolia [1]. This genus is found in Europe, Africa, the Mediterranean, and parts of Asia. The reason that it is so widely used is its massive range of applications, from food and fragrance to cosmetics and herbal medicines; this plant is full of essential oils that can have powerful effects on the human body and has the most unique and beloved scents in the world. It also has one of the most unique and beloved scents in the world.

One of the challenges with lavender is its ability to grow and spread quickly, which is why it is considered a weed in certain parts of the world. As a culinary element, it is used in salad dressings, honey, sauces, beverages, various teas, and as a flavoring spice for a number of cultural dishes. Lavender essential oil is highly sought after and widely available. [2]

Health Benefits of Lavender

The scent and flavor of lavender are wonderful, but the bonus comes from its wide range of health benefits, which we will explore in greater detail below.

Reduces Anxiety & Stress

According to research in the journal Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry [3], there are a number of methods of using lavender to soothe anxiety and stress. The natural organic compounds in its leaves and flowers can be ground between the fingers and then rubbed onto the temples. This topical application can soothe the body and mind by relieving anxious thoughts and balancing the mood. Apart from this topical application, you can also brew lavender tea and achieve much the same effect. The antioxidant components in it can impact the endocrine system to lower the levels of stress hormones in the body.

A close-up view of a beautiful lavender flowers

Lavandin Essential Oil Lavandin is a hybrid of true and spike lavenders. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Treats Sleep Issues

If you regularly struggle with insomnia, apnea or restless sleep patterns, it can negatively impact your life, as suggested by a research published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. By brewing a few lavender flowers in hot water, you can steep a wonderful tea that has been used to induce sleep and relaxation for thousands of years. This is closely linked to the flower’s impact on the nervous system, and can also help clear your mind of negative thoughts. It is commonly used in meditation techniques and its essential oils are used in aromatherapy. [4]

Anti-inflammatory Qualities

Everyone is looking for a reliable way to relax the body and mind, and lavender takes care of both. If you add these flowers to your bathwater and take a nice long soak, the anti-inflammatory components can help in reducing the inflammation, according to research published in Phytochemicals in the University of Trieste, Italy. The antioxidant properties of lavender are also quite potent and it is one of the most trusted applications of its flowers. [5]

Skin Care

An easy, mobile way to always care for your skin is to fill a spray bottle with lavender flowers. When your skin is feeling dry or irritated, simply spray some of the infused water on the area, and enjoy quick relief. This can also work for chronic conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne. [6] [7]

Antiseptic Ability

Although many people turn to lavender for relaxation and aromatherapeutic applications, its effect on treating infection is impressive, to say the least. Many people apply crushed leaves on wounds and injuries for speedier healing of wounds as well as to prevent the development of infections on them. [8] [9]

Hair Care

If you suffer from hair loss or any other condition that affects the quality of your locks, seek out lavender-based shampoos. Be aware that some of the organic cosmetic products can be quite expensive, while others which claim to be derived from it may still contain harsh chemicals. You can steep lavender flowers like a tea and then apply the mixture to your hair. This will function as an effective shampoo and significantly boost the health of your follicle beds and hair. [10]

Protects Heart Health

The relaxing qualities of lavender, which come from its organic compounds and antioxidants, also help the heart by reducing blood pressure and easing the tension on blood vessels. This can prevent atherosclerosis and other cardiovascular problems. [11]

Prevents Digestive Issues

The polyphenols found in lavender have a wide range of effects on the body. It can prevent the development of harmful bacteria and the accumulation of gas in the gut, as per herbal medicine expert and practitioner Paul Michael, Herbal and Endobiogenic Medicine, GAPS Practitioner. This will ease stomach discomfort, reduce bloating, and eliminate cramping. Chewing on its leaves or drinking its tea can be effective too. [12]

Word of Caution: Although, not commonly considered an allergenic substance, if you are susceptible to allergens in the mint family, you could experience negative side effects from using lavender as well. These are usually mild in nature and include constipation, headache, and increased appetite, while the topical application can cause irritation and redness.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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