By Heather Ashare, MPH for DietsInReview.com
You might be surprised to learn that lavender is much more than an aromatic scent used to enhance soaps and candles. In fact, there are a number medicinal uses for lavender, as well as in cooking, that go back centuries.
Here is a list of just a few ways to use lavender:
If you’ve ever inhaled a breath of fresh lavender your senses are immediately awakened by its soothing fragrance and its almost immediate ability to bring a sense of relaxation. Aromatherapists rely on lavender’s essential oil for calming nervous conditions like anxiety or stress. Burn a lavender candle or add a few drops of lavender essential oil into a carrier oil like olive oil, then apply a small drop to your wrists or across the clavicle. Breathe deeply and relax.
Lavender oil works as an antiseptic and anti-fungal, making it a natural treatment option for skin disorders, acne, scars, cuts, sunburns and psoriasis.
Reverse Hair Loss
One study found that people with alopecia areata, a disease that causes patchy hair loss, who put lavender oil on their scalps had significant hair re-growth compared to those who did not apply the oil.
Skip the prescription sleep medications and embrace the natural relaxation properties in lavender. Having a massage with lavender essential oil may improve the quality of your sleep, helping you to awaken well rested the next day.
To naturally protect yourself from summer bugs, add a few drops of lavender oil to a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply to your skin. Lavender contains geraniol, a compound that wards off biting bugs. Lavender can increase skin’s photosensitivity, so stay in the shade and wear your best sunblock.
Relieve Muscle Aches
Whether you gave it your all at the gym or yanked too many weeds out of the garden, try massaging lavender oil into achy joints and muscles to ease pain rather than popping pills. Just the smell of the lavender oil alone will help to take your mind off of your aching muscles.
Yes, you can even cook with lavender. In your next homemade batch of cookies or shortbread, add a tablespoon of dried lavender leaves to the batter. Your cookies freckled with soft purple leaves will look elegant and everyone will want in on the secret ingredient that turned plain sugar cookies into a culinary delight.