Lavender has gotten a pretty bad rep over the years.
This little purple flower has been associated with overpowering candles – you know the kind you find in that chain candle store that you always hold your breath as you walk past them in the mall. Let’s call it Confederate Candle – the scent of old lady’s potpourri, and generic bubble baths.
It’s also the name of that girl in Harry Potter – aka, Lavender Brown – who tried to ‘get with’ Ron Weasley and later became werewolf food.
Lavender is the type of flower that everyone knows the name of, yet only a few recognize the scent or what it actually looks like. Put this pretty little flower in a line up with rose, tulips, and daisies and I can almost guarantee that a person will not be able to name it.
What is Lavender? Let’s talk science!
Lavendula – aka lavender – is 1 of the 47 flowering plants that are part of the mint family, known as Lamiaceae. It’s native to the Old World and is mostly found in Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, along with Eastern Africa, Southwest Asia, and Southwest India. Lavender is a popular flower for landscaping and commercial farming due to its use as a culinary herb (Check out this recipe for Lavender Tea Bread!) and essential oil.
Which brings us to…
What is Lavender Oil?
“An essential oil that is obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender.” – Wikipedia (Cause, yeah. It’s legit…)
So what are the benefits of lavender oil? Well, there are quite a few!
Lavender Oil Benefits of Hair
- Prevents Dandruff: Lavender oil helps to balance sebum production and moisturizes the scalp. This, combined with its antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, is great for preventing and getting rid of dandruff.
According to Natural Living Ideas, the best way to use lavender oil for dandruff is to mix 8 drops of oil with 2 tbsps of coconut oil before massaging into your scalp and letting it sit overnight before washing it out in the morning.
- Hair Growth: Lavender oil helps to increase hair growth for two reasons. First, the lavender oil helps to increase blood circulation, which is essential for hair growth, and, secondly, the action of massaging the oil into your hair causes your scalp to ‘consume’ all of the vitamins and nutrients that are great for hair.
Lavender Oil Benefits of Skin
- Treating Acne: Lavender oil contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, which is an ideal duo for healing and preventing acne due to their abilities to fight bacteria that causes acne and inflammation.
According to the University of Maryland, Lavender is used extensively by aromatherapists for treating acne.
- Detoxifying the Skin: Whether you believe in detoxifying or not, there’s no denying that benefits that come with lavender oil and its use on the skin. Due to lavender’s powerful antioxidants, the oil is great for riding the skin against the effects of pollution. Check out this Lavender and Honey Face Mask!
Lavender Oil Benefits of the Body
- Increase Digestion: With all the added chemicals found in our food today, it’s no surprise that out digestive system isn’t exactly up to par. Lavender oil can lend a little hand to this. The oil helps to increase the movement of food within the digestive track and stimulate the production of gastric juices. And you know what that means…better digestion = less belly bloat.
- Helps Respiratory System: According to Organic Facts, “Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapor or is applied on the skin of the neck, chest, and back.” This will help to alleviate stress on your lungs and help you to build endurance for your workouts.
Whether the smell of lavender reminds you of your grandmother’s house or those strongly scented candles, the benefits of lavender oil are undeniable and are, indeed, beauty essentials.
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