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Lavender - Natural remedy of the month

 April 2009


lavenderSummer is a little way off yet, but one of the things I love about the warmer weather is lavender. Those chunky bushes with bright flowers look lovely in any setting and of course they have that staggering scent.

Even better, the lovely flower heads can be used to produce lavender oil – an oil with a number of beneficial properties.

The lavender plant is believed to come from the south of France and other areas around the Mediterranean coast. Its official name is lavandula angustifolia or lavandula officinalis and its benefits have been known for over 2,500 years. There is evidence lavender was used for mummification and perfume by the Egyptians and the Pheonicians. Certainly it has been well documented since Roman times, when the civilised citizens of this ancient empire used to use lavender oil in their baths and also as insecticides in their house.

It is from the Romans, and their latin language, that gave us the name – thought to be derived from either lavare (to wash) or livendula (a bluish tinge).

The English varieties of lavender were introduced mainly in the 1600s, and in some areas washing women were known as “lavenders” because they used to dry their laundry on lavender bushes to give it an extra fresh scent. Monastries were some of the earliest groups in the UK to grow lavender plants for their medicinal properties.

It is mainly the oil of lavender that is used for health purposes, obtained through distillation of the flowers; but dried lavender is also popular for a number of uses.

Lavender has long been associated with the ability to calm and relax; it is also thought to help ease the symptoms of stress and nervousness. Many people use lavender to ease muscle pain and stiffness, and fresh lavender in a cold compress is believed to help relieve headaches and migraine. Lavender is also used to help ease the symptoms of arthritis and as an anti-depressant, a sedative, a diuretic, anti-rheumatic and other purposes.

The disinfectant properties of lavender can be used on the skin as well, and some claim that lavender oil is excellent to tone and revitalize the skin and helps in cases of acne, burns and wounds.

The wonderful scent of lavender certainly can help to create a gentle mood and vapours of lavender oil are popular in aromatherapy. Dried lavender is popular for potpourris or in cushions and it is also useful in drawers and cupboards to give a lovely scent and help keep moths away.

The Roman trick of using lavender to disinfect their homes remains to this day, and many households rely on natural lavender oil for its disinfecting and antiseptic properties around the house.

Lavender is now widely grown across the UK for commercial use and lavender products are available everywhere.


Nutricentre Discount for laterlife visitors If in any doubt about any of the information covered in health and nutrition related articles and it's relevance for you, consult your GP.



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