Lavender is useful for many different treatments. In fact, it is so multi-faceted in its healing abilities that it has been called the “medicine chest in a bottle” in alternative medicine circles.
Exactly what can you use lavender for? Well, for starters, it’s a good idea to keep lavender on hand at home because it makes a very effective remedy for burns. When applied to burns, lavender could help to speed wound healing and reduce scarring.
Another important use for lavender? The oil has a proven calming effect on the emotions and can be used to reduce stress in a variety of situations. You can apply lavender oil to the soles of your feet for added relief when recovering from almost any ailment. It has a distinctive aroma that makes it a potent healer in the practice of aromatherapy.
Lavender is also antibacterial and antiviral. It is useful in treating skin conditions and can be found as a primary ingredient in natural soaps, shampoos, and bath oils.
In one clinical trial, researchers wanted to determine if lavender had any effect on women suffering from insomnia. Forty-two female college students were recruited for the trial. For four weeks, the women were given lavender fragrance treatment and underwent tests to determine the number of sleep disturbances, episodes of insomnia, symptoms of depression, and sleep-satisfaction. The research team determined that lavender fragrance had a beneficial effect on insomnia and depression in the students.
Just a few notes of caution regarding the use of lavender. Lavender oil should not be taken internally. Pregnant women should not use lavender oil. In some rare cases, someone may have an allergy to lavender, though it should be said that there have been no known cases of adverse reactions to lavender, except in those who have an allergy to the plant.
Because lavender can have a relaxing effect on your body, use caution when combining it with other medications — especially anti-depressants that target the nervous system. You can take one to two teaspoons of the whole herb per cup of hot water to make a healing tea. Steep for 10-15 minutes and drink one to three times a day. For tinctures (1:4): try 20-40 drops, three times a day. To use as aromatherapy, add two to four drops of essential oil in two to three cups of boiling water. Inhale vapors for headache, depression or insomnia.
For topical external application, lavender oil is one of the few oils that can be safely applied undiluted. Add one to four drops per tablespoon to a base oil (such as almond or olive oil). Remember: DO NOT USE LAVENDER OIL INTERNALLY. Also, avoid contact with the eyes or mucous membranes such as the lips and nostrils.