Historically we have known lavender as an effective tool to induce sleep, but what we do not know are the myriad of other benefits it provides when inhaled or applied topically. Not only does lavender oil assist in sleep, but it can also disinfect your skin and scalp, relieve stress and anxiety, reduce pain and plenty more.
Sleep: People have been using lavender as a remedy for insomnia and to induce sleep for centuries, however it is only more recently when scientists have determined the science behind the scent. Psychologists at Wesleyan University discovered that the inhalation of lavender causes slow-wave sleep, which slows the heartbeat and relaxes the muscles. If you are suffering from insomnia or inconsistent sleep patterns, it is best to use a couple of drops of a lavender essential oil in an aromatherapy diffuser, or place a few drops on a tissue or cloth and place it under your pillow.
Scalp: Lavender essential oils may assist in hair growth, curing dandruff and eliminating head lice and eggs. In some instances, hair loss is caused by stress or anxiety disorders and the therapeutic benefits of lavender can relieve these conditions. In addition, healthy hair growth can arise from using lavender to assist in promoting blood circulation in the body, including the scalp.
Regarding dandruff, lavender oil hydrates and moisturises the scalp and provides the necessary nourishment to combat the frustrating condition. Moreover, the scent of lavender repulses head lice and can kill lice through massaging lavender oil into your scalp, and then using a comb to eliminate the lice and eggs. Please note that when using lavender oil for your scalp, ensure that a carrier oil is being used with it to avoid skin irritation. Lavender essential oils are very strong and people may react differently.
Skin: Lavender oil is not well-known for remedying skin conditions, but it may be used as a treatment for acne. The properties of lavender includes inhibiting the bacteria which causes acne and regulating the hormones associated with the over-excretion of sebum. It can also prevent acne scarring and reduce the appearance of pimples. However, it is important to note that lavender oil may affect sensitive skin adversely, so take caution when implementing a couple of drops of lavender in your daily skincare and immediately discontinue use if there is a harmful reaction.
Nervous system: The calming scent of lavender can help reduce stress, anxiety and nervous tension through regulating the heartbeat and increasing mental activity.
Headaches: Inhaling lavender oil can also relieve pain, particularly headaches due to its therapeutic properties deriving from the plant, flower, bark and root extracts. Place a couple drops of the oil on your fingertips and gently massage the oil into your temples. Please note that undiluted lavender essential oil is safe to use in small amounts, however it is best to conduct a test patch on the skin before applying it topically as it may cause skin reactions for some individuals. Place a drop on the inside of your arm and leave it for 24 hours to determine whether there are any adverse reactions.
Combat PMS: Studies have found that inhaling a lavender essential oil can instantly uplift your mood when suffering from premenstrual syndrome. This is as a result of the therapeutic elements contained in the oil, which access the part of your brain where the emotions, trauma and memories are stored through your nasal receptors. Hence the scent modifies your hormonal responses and adjusts your moods and feelings, in turn assisting with preventing depression.
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Olivia Richardson, PMS Busters. Body and Soul, 2015.