Most people think of lavender as a color or fragrance, but it is a herb that offers some surprising health benefits. The plant can be processed to release lavender essential oil, or the plant can be dried and crushed into flakes. The scent of this plant is also very relaxing, and dried herbs have been used from early times to freshen linens when tucked in storage drawers and closets.
Lavender essential oil is useful to rid the scalp of dandruff flakes. Mix 10 drops of the oil with two tablespoons of olive or almond oil before heating to a comfortably warm temperature. Massage the hot oil into the scalp, cover with plastic and shampoo out after an hour. This treatment may need several repetitions to cure the problem completely.
The lavender herb contains polyphenols, an antioxidant that helps to reduce the harmful bacteria that can occur in the gut after taking antibiotics. Dried Culinary lavender can be added to Greek yogurt and eaten to relieve bloating that sometimes occurs from poor digestion.
Its Essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory, so it can be used to alleviate the itch of mosquito bites. A dab or two on an itchy bite can reduce the swelling, redness, and itchy. Mixing lavender with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil also helps to repel insects when applied to the exposed skin surfaces.
Everyone knows a good nights sleep is essential for optimum health, but stress and certain foods can cause insomnia. A diffuser with lavender oil or dried lavender in a vase near the bed lowers the heart rate and blood pressure for increased relaxation. Other factors such as too much caffeine also cause sleeplessness, so coffee or caffeinated drinks late in the day should be avoided.
The scent of lavender is a pleasant fragrance without being too strong. It is used in a broad range of perfumes and toiletries as well as soaps and room fresheners. Some women who are particularly fond of the fragrance hang pouches of dried lavender in their closets and tuck them into their dresser drawers.
Lavender can be used as a herb to flavor foods and add phytonutrients to foods by sprinkling a lavender based spice on grilled meats, vegetables, and whole-grain pilafs.
While the health benefits of lavender are significant, some people are allergic to the herb. Use the herb sparingly and cautiously in the beginning and be aware of any allergic reactions.