When I started this research, I didn’t know lavender was good for so many mental and physical health problems. What I found is that lavender is almost a miracle supplement. Everyone needs lavender in their medicine cabinet.
Lavender oil healing properties range from anti-inflammatory benefits to treatment for parasite infection, stings and other insect bites. Minor burns can be treated with lavender oil. Inhaled lavender works as a natural antihistamine in the body. Histamines are naturally occurring compounds that regulate the immune system. They affect the immune response to any kind of infectious agent that enters the system. They help white blood cells in the chemical reaction to send signals to the brain and digestive system to fight allergies.
Studies done on humans have shown that lavender reduces heart rate and causes relaxation. This is being explored as a help for anxiety and depression. Lavender aids in detoxifying, can be a sedative, helps in healing scars and bruises.
Where Does Lavender Come From?
Lavender has about 39 species of plants. They are in the family of mints that are originally grown in the Middle East, Mediterranean, East Africa. Basil, rosemary and thyme are in the same family. Lavender is distinct and recognizable with its colored flowers. English, Sweet, Yellow, Purple Haze and French are some types of lavender.
The oil for essential oil is found on stems, flowers and leaves of the plant. The best is from the stems of the flowers when they are blooming. Oils are obtained by a steam distillation process.
Is the Use of Lavender New?
The use of lavender for healing goes back thousands of years. The ancient Romans and Greeks used it as cleanser, and to aid in sleep. The name comes from the Latin word for “wash.” They used lavender for bathing and washing clothes because of the pleasant, clean aroma.
In Medieval times lavender was used in perfume, soap and for medicinal use. Hospitals during the first World War made use of the antiseptic properties. It is regarded as safe to use with no side effects reported. However, it is always wise to remember that essential oils are highly concentrated, powerful substances. Use only as directed, dilute with water, or just use one single drop at a time. Anti-fungal, Anti-spasmodic, Analgesic and digestion problems were helped with lavender by the ancient Romans.
What Chemicals Makes Lavender Useful in Healing?
Lavender’s contains two powerful phytochemicals, linalyl acetate and Linalool. Lavender contains about 51% linalyl acetate and 35% Linalool. It also contains lavandulol and camphor, which is a terpene compound. Phytochemicals are chemical compounds found in plants. They are often natural poisons to ward off insects. Some of these are terpenes, which are compounds which contain chemicals to ward off parasites.
In ancient times phytochemicals in some plants were used as poisons. This would be the case in belladonna. When scientists began to extract them from the plants, it became known that these same chemicals could be beneficial as anti-inflammatory, pain relieving and medication.
Linalyl acetate is also found in Bergamot. Both linalyl acetate and Linalool are quickly absorbed into the bloodstream through the skin. Dutch lavender has a higher content of terpenes. It also is less fragrant.
Linalool is found in a wide variety of plants, including cannabis. It helps with pain and seizures by changing the way the brain processes pain. Linalool slows the way pain is communicated to the brain through the spinal fluid.
Does Lavender Effect the Brain?
Studies in animals have shown that lavender causes relaxation. It can reduce aggression and conflict. Monkeys exposed to lavender became quieter, more content and less likely to fight with each other. I wonder if drones should be dropping sprays of lavender oil over war-torn countries rather than bombs.
Insomnia, anxiety, and depression have been treated with lavender for thousands of years. Presently, there research in these areas with both humans and animals.
Lavender is being tested to help in neurological disorders, depression and anxiety. One of its chemical components, Linalool improves the immune system. It helps reduce the effects of stress that are damaging to DNA. Lavender affects dopamine in the brain and the neurons that control muscles. Lavender changes the brain waves. EEGs show a reduction in anxiety and social anxiety. Tests show increased theta and alpha waves in the brain activities when exposed to lavender.
In studies with dementia patients, lavender has improved mood and reduced problems of restlessness and agitation. Some of these tests have used lavender along with other essential oils, such as patchouli, peppermint and lemon balm.
What About Testing and Purity?
There have not been many tests on humans and what have been done are inconclusive. This is due to the differences in admiration by oral, odor or directly to the skin. Differences in the origin of the plants, preparation and purity all affect the outcome. This is mostly determined by word-of-mouth, asking a health store worker who is knowledgeable. There are so many complicated variants that if would be very difficult to determine what is the best essential oil on your own. Lavender oil healing properties depend on the purity of the essential oil. Essential oils can vary significantly according to the quality and distilling.
The most advanced test for purity in essential oils is the Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS) test. It is also the most expensive. Larger companies are using this because it is very accurate. There are other tests that are considered reliable in determining the chemical contents and quality. Tests use a gas chromatograph spectrometer to analyze the molecules of the oil.
One warning is that if the label reads “naturally derived,” it means just the opposite of natural. That term signifies that the molecular structure of the plant has been copied in a lab. A synthetic product is then obtained from the derivation. Remember, “naturally derived” means fake.
Some grow and distill your own lavender essential oil. Much of the quality is determined by the growing conditions of the plants. Sun, water and nutrients determine how good the quality of the plant oil that is produced.
Questions About Legitimacy of Using Essential Oils for Health
For thousands of years the lavender plant has been used in healing and well-being. Stress, anxiety, depression and pain are not new to modern man. History documents people using lavender for these conditions 2,500 years ago. Every civilization since and maybe before has taken advantage of lavender’s antiseptic qualities. It can heal scars and skin conditions. It relieves pain and helps with abdominal discomfort. Lavender is an anti-inflammatory that reduces the effects of insect bites.
I know personally of an instance where someone used lavender oil to stop pain from a bee sting instantly. It has also relieved congestion in my lungs on many occasions. As an asthmatic, I wish I would have known about it many years ago.
Science has not proved empirically that there is proof to healing properties of lavender or any essential oil. That would require much more testing to be done on humans. In an Oct. 16, 2017 Forbes Magazine article, it estimated that it took $2.7 trillion to test just one medication enough to sell it.
Most would agree that we need to be sure that the medicine doctors prescribe Is safe and that it does what it is supposed to do. But, in many cases, prescription medication does neither of those things, even after being tested and approved.
There is an alternate that is comparatively inexpensive and has been used for thousands of years. Lavender oil healing properties were known long before ancient Rome and Greece. Isn’t 2,500 years of testing long enough?
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What do you think about this subject?
Do you or anyone you know have experience with essential oils, and especially, lavender?
Do you trust medicine prescribed by a doctor more than alternative medicine?
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