Lavender is a powerful herb that has been used for centuries for its anti-anxiety and anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender is a strong antioxidant and has phytochemicals that support digestion. Because of its natural blood thinning effects, individuals on anti-coagulants need to be careful.
Lavender is a bright purple fragrant flower that can be used in teas, capsules, oils, cosmetics, perfumes, hair care products, skin care products and other topical and inhalation formulas to help with anxiety, inflammation and GI distress.
The leaves and flowers can be used fresh or dried in a number of foods that include bakery products, jams, jellies, marinades and sauces. Lavender tea has become very popular and has shown positive effect in enhancing mood, helping with anxiety, restlessness and depression, helping with sleep, detoxification and soothing the gastrointestinal tract. You can steep the lavender flower in water for 7-10 minutes and enjoy the flavor and the aroma of the tea. Many people enjoy the calming effect that this tea will have on stomach upset and gastrointestinal reflux (GERD).
Dating back to the early days of the Greeks and the Romans, lavender derives its name from the Latin word lavare which means to wash. Lavender can be used in bath water to help calm sore joints and muscles. Because of its antiseptic properties, lavender infused water can be used on wounds, bug bites, skin infections, rashes and cuts. Lavender has been recommended by health care professionals for its natural antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal benefits.
The lavender plant produces oil that can be used as inhalation therapy or placed directly on the skin. Inhalation and/or topical application have shown positive results with migraines, sleep disorders and mood disorders. Many massage therapists and integrative therapists will incorporate lavender oil as part of the inhalation and topical experience to enhance the relaxation of their client.
Lavender when ingested is low in calories and in any form; lavender has great phytonutrient and antioxidant properties. Skin care products use lavender to combat the effect of aging, help with inflammation, rashes, sunburn, acne and even psoriasis. Hair care products with lavender are recommended for helping reverse hair loss.
Studies on lavender have been small but favorable. Positive results have been found in the areas of insomnia, anxiety, stress, musculoskeletal pain, headaches and alopecia.
Lavender has natural blood thinning properties. Anyone on blood thinning medicines should check with their health care professional to find out if this herb is right for them. In high doses some individuals may have an adverse reaction that could include agitation and GI upset. Lavender may also interact with pharmaceutical drugs that are prescribed for anxiety, depression or pain. Pregnant or breast feeding women should avoid lavender since there is not enough scientific data to identify safety in this group.
Possible short-term side effects
- possible drug interactions with blood thinners
- possible drug interactions with anti-anxiety meds, antidepressants and opiates
- need to avoid in pregnancy or breast feeding
- anti-anxiety effects
- anti-inflammatory effects
- supports detoxification
- helps hair loss
- great antioxidant
- natural antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal
- nourishes the skin
- supports gastrointestinal health
- helps headaches
- helps soothe the musculoskeletal system
- repels insects
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Written by Dr. Becky Maes | 01-24-2018
Written by Dr. Becky Maes
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