Medicinal uses of lavender
Lavender has been used for centuries as an herbal remedy. It was once considered essential to the medicine chest in every home. It was used for everything from nerve stimulant and restorative, to relief of muscular aches and pains and sprains, to inducing peaceful slumber, to easing the ache of rheumatism and nervous headaches to promoting the appetite, to relieving flatulence. And, it does appear to have antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsive, and anti-depressant properties. It is the flowers fresh or dried, that contain the medicinal properties of lavender.
Lavender has been used internally for
Liver and gall bladder problems
Loss of appetite
Breath freshener and mouthwash
For internal use it is not recommended that you use the essential oil unless you have a home still and knowledge of the distillation process and can make your own. You cannot be sure how purchased oil was grown and using it could make you very nauseous. However, lavender flowers make a relaxing and refreshing tea which has the same basic medicinal properties. A weak infusion sweetened with honey was a traditional treatment for insomnia, irritability and nervous headache. Lavender acts as a sedative to both the nervous system and the respiratory tract.
Inhaling the essential oil has been used to induce relaxation and sleep, ease symptoms of depression and reduce headache pain. Its sedative action is amazingly strong and often, just by opening a bottle of oil in a confined space, people in the room visibly relax.
Externally lavender oil is one of the safest essential oils and can be used full strength on the skin. It works well and can be applied directly for cuts, scrapes, wounds, burns, bee, wasp, and insect stings, rashes, muscle aches, rheumatism, arthritis, cold sores, canker sores, blisters, bruises, athlete’s foot, and rubbed directly into the temples in case of headache or migraine. A few drops of oil rubbed on the temples was considered effective for insomnia and nervous headache.
Lavender was used extensively as an antiseptic in World Wars I and II when surgical supplies became scarce. Lavender farms, herb farms and every grower of a lavender bush in England were asked to contribute lavender for this cause.
In France it is still quite common for housewives to keep a bottle of essence of lavender for use on bruises, sprains and bites.
Other uses of lavender include:
using unsweetened tea as a hair rinse to help reduce hair loss and dandruff
using the dried flowers in sleep and dream pillows, in potpourris, sachets and tucked in drawers to freshen clothing and repel moths
putting a few drops of oil into warm bath water for a refreshing and relaxing treat
the stems with the leaves stripped can be burned like an incense stick and can also be used in crafts such as basket weaving and making lavender wands
A rub down of lavender oil before retiring to bed has been used to relieve night-time leg muscles spasms. A few drops of oil rubbed into the skin has been used traditionally to ease neuralgic pain.
Arab women have traditionally used a lavender and basil-based tonic to perfume and strengthen the hair.
The straw – stems of dried lavener – have been burned in bundles as a deodorant and disinfectant in sick rooms.
|Calming in small amounts||Mood uplifting|
|Stimulating in large amounts||Promotes restful sleep|
|Reduces stress and tension||Soothing for the nervous system|
|Balances mood swings||Relaxes tight muscles|
|Lessens aches and pains||Reduces inflammation|
|Breaks up congestion||Improves digestion|
|Healing to the skin||Soothes itch of insect bites|
3 parts lavender flowers
hop flowers or lemon verbena leaves
sweet Cicely leaves
2-3 drop lavender oilSew the mixture into a bag made of thin material which will allow the fragrance to escape, for example, organza or muslin, silk is ideal. Make a pillow slip to contain the sleep pillow.
Lavender antiseptic cream
125 g white wax
500 g sweet almond oil
370 g distilled water
10 g essential oil of lavender
2.5 g spike oilGrate the white wax into chips. Warm the almond oil very gently. Place the wax in a container in a water bath and heat gently until melted. Remove from water. Add oils gradually while constantly whisking the mixture. Finally, add water slowly, continue whisking. Set aside to cool and solidify. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator.
60 g beeswax
25 drops essential oil of lavender
10 drops essential oil of lemon or neroli
5 drops essential oil of thyme
2 T. oil of lavender
Warm the beeswax in a small pot in pan of hot water. When melted, beat in oil of lavender. Then as ointment cools, add essential oils and continue beating until cool. Store in the refrigerator.
Lavender massage oil
1 cup safflower or sunflower oil
dried pot marigold petals
12 drops essential oil of rose geranium
12 drops essential oil of lavender
10 drops essential pine oil or oil of cypressPlace safflower oil in a glass jar and add as many marigold petals as possible. Cap bottle and place in the sun for 4-5 days. Filter out petals and squeeze any oil from petals before discarding. Oil will now be deep orange. Mix in other oils and store in the refrigerator.