Commonly known as lavender, the Lavandula is a genus having 39 different species of flowering plants. Found in the Canary Islands and southern Europe, the members of this genus are usually cultivated for garden and landscape use, and are sometimes also used as a culinary herb.
This genus has plants that are usually short lived and perennial, and their flowers are rich in nectar. Lavender is also sometimes used in salads and dressings, and is candied to be used as cake decorations. Lavandula angustifolia, which we know as lavender today, is also commercially produced to gain essential oils.
Apart from these different uses, lavender is also found to contain some valuable medicinal properties, some of which are listed down below.
- The essential oil of lavender was used in hospitals during the World War I, and even today, its oils have a special place of importance in aromatherapy practices.
- Several studies have confirmed the efficiency of this herb as a natural treatment to calm and relax frazzled nerves, thereby acting as a natural treatment for anxiety, stress and insomnia.
- The anxiolytic effects of this herb are thought to have positive impacts on the sleep, and using just a few drops of lavender oil on the pillows and sheets before sleeping is thought to induce a relaxed sleep and reduce the risk of several sleep disturbances.
- Lavender extracts have also been found effective in dealing with wounds- a diluted solution of this herb can soothe skin burns and other inflammatory conditions of the skin.
- Lavender is also believed to be helpful in dealing with several gastrointestinal conditions including intestinal gas, nausea, stomach upset, loss of appetite, vomiting etc.
- Inhalation of lavender oils have been proved to be effective in curbing depression, nervousness, anxiety and other mood disorders.
- When applied to the scalp, lavender oil may be helpful in improving hair growth and curing alopecia (baldness). The oil is also found to be effective in driving away mosquitoes and other insects.
- Many soaps, moisturizers, creams, perfumes and cosmetics also use lavender extracts for its fragrance.