Lavender has more to offer than its wonderful scent and beautiful colour – it has powerful benefits that can improve your health and well-being as well. Many people have enjoyed the pleasing fragrance of lavender and used it to treat a variety of conditions. People say its uses range from helping them calm down and get a good night’s sleep to managing insomnia, anxiety, and menstrual cramps.
With BLANC's founder Ludovic coming from Lubéron, South of France, which is home to the most beautiful lavender fields in the world, we wanted to share some of the ways lavender can improve your life.
Lavender is a multipurpose plant but has recently gained quite a lot of attention and a very good reputation for being a go-to in holistic health. Essential oils are the liquid extracts of various plants, which can be used to help with everything from stress to sleep, hormone health to home cleaning. Each essential oil offers its own unique and special benefits. Here's what you need to know about how one of the most popular essential oils (and one of our favourites here at BLANC), lavender oil, can promote well-being.
What is Lavender?
We're pretty sure you know the basics: Lavender is a purple flower that smells really nice. But really, there's more to lavender than that! There are actually more than 40 types of lavender. One that is common and used for medicinal purposes is "Lavendula angustifolia" (don't worry, we can't really pronounce it either). Native to North Africa and the Mediterranean region, lavender now also grows throughout the United Kingdom and many other parts of the world. At BLANC, our favourite lavender fields are located in Luberón, France – when it flourishes, it's the most beautiful thing!
Almost wherever lavender grows, it grows sufficiently. It's known to quickly spread across many different types of soil, leading some people to think of it as a weed (although we think it's way too valuable for being called such a thing)! The plant’s flowers, leaves and essential oil are all used as natural alternatives to different kinds of medicines. Lavender is taken orally as a supplement, often to treat anxiety, depression, insomnia, as well as physical pain, including headache and toothache. Lavender is used primarily in lotions and creams for skin and hair treatments, as well as to treat wounds and pain. It’s often used as an aromatherapy tool for sleep problems, to improve mood and relieve stress. Lavender is brewed into teas and infusions, and sometimes even used as an ingredient in recipes.
1. Lavender can help improve sleep
Sleep plays a huge role in our physical well being. We've all experienced a few sleepless nights in our lives, and the day after is not so pleasant. Insomnia is a common problem among adults considering the stressful climate we live in today: the National Institute of Health suggests that around 30 per cent of the general population complains of sleep disruption and 10 per cent have the diagnosis of insomnia.
The British Association of Nursing in Critical Care conducted a study in 2015 stating that lavender essential oil is an effective remedy for a restful night's sleep. The scent of lavender lowers blood pressure and heart rate, putting you in a relaxed state. You can either put a handful of dried lavender in a bowl of water in your bedroom, wash your bed linen with our health-friendly lavender fabric conditioner or use a diffuser with lavender essential oil to get some calm in your home.
2. Lavender may help reduce anxiety
Lavender has a high concentration of essential oils, which is why the wonderful smell of lavender is so distinct and pleasing. The relaxing experience of the fragrance has been used in aromatherapy to help relieve mild anxiety. However, it's fair to mention it cannot replace any medication for anxiety or depression but can help create a sense of calm in stressful situations. In several studies, it has shown to improve symptoms such as restlessness, disturbed sleep, and somatic complaints and had a beneficial influence on general well-being and quality of life.
3. Lavender can combat fungal infections
Lavender oil has both antibacterial andtifungal properties, meaning that it can possibly help to fend off fungal infections such as yeast infections, ringworm or athlete's foot. However, before applying this to the infected area, do have a chat with your GP or doctor for them to suggest how to do this effectively. The essential oil itself is too strong to apply just anywhere. More research is needed on this topic before home remedies can actually be made.
4. Lavender reduces inflammation of the skin
Just like lavender essential helps soothe your mind, it can help destress your body. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help calm eczema and psoriasis, which has responded well to the use of lavender oil. It can even be used as a natural alternative to heal or calm very small bug bites. As a natural anti-inflammatory, a few drops of lavender oil will calm any mosquito bite. Dab a drop or two onto the irritated area and wait for 15 minutes. Apply every 6-8 hours if needed, for the next 24 hours.
5. Lavender can help prevent hair loss
Lavender oil deep conditions the hair, keeps it shiny and helps control dandruff. A high-quality lavender essential oil can help your hair grow and stay healthy – using lavender oil in your hair utilizes its healthy antiseptic qualities. Not to mention that it nourishes the hair and smells divine! Put some drops of lavender oil in your hair conditioner or mixed about 15 drops with 2 tablespoons of warm olive or almond oil and use it as a good cure against scalp conditions. Wet your hair and massage the oil into your scalp, let it sit for an hour then shampoo out.