The word Lavender has been derived from a Latin word ‘lavare’. It was earlier used by the Romans as incense and perfume in the bathrooms. The lavender flowers are well known for strongly aromatic, sweet floral and herbaceous smell. The herb has been used for strewing the aroma in the rooms or bathrooms for refreshing purpose.
It is a flowering plant of the mint family and belongs to the family Lamiaceae. The plant is native to Europe and spreads across the East Africa, South East Asia Including India. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in the temperate region, and to extract essential oil for commercial use, which has wide application in culinary, medicinal and cosmetic industries.
It is a perennial medium-sized woody plant. Its leaves are simple, toothed and branched. The spikes bear blue, purple, violet or lilac flowers. Essential oil is present in flowers and leaves.
Most widely cultivated species of English lavender is Lavandula angustifolia. It has been named so due to the colour of its flowers. Lavender is a classic plant since it has the most delightful aroma in the entire plant kingdom. For the same reason, it has been largely used in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and as a delicious addition in the food industry.
Lavender has a complex structure and possesses more than 100 active components. Lavender oil is richly loaded with aromatic molecules or esters, which have calming, stimulating and antispasmodic effects. Linalool, camphor, terpinen-4-ol and linalyl acetate are the key components of lavender. Other components are limonene, triterpenes, cineol, tannins, flavanoids, lavandulyl acetate and geraniol. All these are responsible for anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.
Lavender has anti-anxiety, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, spasmolytic, sedative and neurological effects.
Benefits of Lavender
Minimizes Stress: Lavender minimises anxiety and stress, improves mood, and induces sleep due to its calming effect.
Improves Digestion: It helps in digestion-related disorders, including flatulence, vomiting, colic, diarrhea, stomach pain and indigestion.
Improves Respiration: Lavender provides relief in respiratory ailments such as, throat infections, asthma, cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, cold and flu.
Relieves Pain: Lavender oil is used to relieve pain such as, joint pain, muscle pain, lumbago, sprains and backache. It lessens the pain on internal consumption and external application.
Improves Skin Health: It helps in various skin disorders like wrinkles, acne, minor scars, itching, swelling, wound healing, burns and cuts.
Improves Hair Health: Lavender oil is good for the hair health, prevents dandruff, hair loss and possibly may boost hair growth effectively in alopecia or baldness.
Relaxes Nervous System: Lavender has been also used internally for mood imbalances such as anxiety, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress, including “nervous stomach.”
The action of lavender on nervous system makes it a part of the ingredients in Daily Calm Tea.