What is Lavender? Know its Benefits and Side effects
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an evergreen plant in the mint family that is believed to be native to the Middle East, Mediterranean andIndia. It is common in herb gardens for their fragranceand attractive flowers. It iswidely cultivated for itsessential oil which is used to provide aroma to a variety of products. For example, driedflowers of lavender havelong been used in scentchests and closets. Lavender is also used to flavour beverages and sweets. It also has numerousapplications in herbal medicine as it is used for various medicinal purposes.
Lavender is beneficial in a number of problems such asreducingmenstrual pain or discomfort and is useful in managing stress due to its antispasmodic and anxiolytic properties. For treating menstrual cramps, Consume lavender tea or use lavender essential oil for aromatherapy. It is advisable to avoid excessive consumption of lavender tea as it can cause some side effects such as nausea and vomiting.
Benefits of using Lavender
Insomnia is an annoying problem that wakes you up all night long. For this, put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow before going to bed. Make sure you don't ingest it as it can harm your health.
Reduces fungal infections-
Lavender has antifungal and antimicrobial properties which work in destroying the membranes of fungal cells.
Promotes hair growth-
Applying lavender oil on the affected part provides nourishment to the hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
Regulates Blood pressure and Heart rate-
Inhaling lavender essential oil effectively controls the blood pressure and improves the heart rate.
Relieves asthma symptoms-
Lavender has anti-inflammatory properties which helps in improving bronchial asthma. Lavender essential oil has a positive impact on respiratory health.
Treats skin blemishes-
Applying lavender oil to the affected area can play a role in treating blemishes and reduces inflammation due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Lavender acts as anti-anxiety medicine which lowers the level of anxiety and provides better sleep.
Precautions while using Lavender
Lavender affects the nervous system and is not considered to be safe when it is consumed with anaesthesia or other medications during surgery. It is advised to prevent the use of lavender for 2 weeks prior to the scheduled surgery.
Pregnancy or Breastfeeding-
It is recommended to avoid using lavender or consult a doctor before using lavender during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
Avoid certain medications-
Lavender when used with certain sedative medications such as barbiturates which causes excessive drowsiness or sleepiness. Therefore, it is recommended to avoid using lavender with these medications.
Lavender seems to have a hormonal effect that can interfere with the normal hormones in a boy's body as it causes the development of abnormal breast growth in boys. So, it is advised to use it in limited cases.
Side effects of Lavender
- Lavender is usually safe when taken as medicine. However, excess consumption may lead to side effects including constipation, intestinal cramping, diarrhea, and headache.
- Lavender is usually well-tolerated when applied on the skin but it may sometimes cause skin irritation or allergic reactions. Therefore, people with an allergic reaction to lavender should not use it.
Where is it found?
The region of Provence in France is where most lavender is grown commercially because the climate is ideal for lavender production, with cool winters and warm sunny summers.
This plant is perennial and requires a dry, sunny climate to grow. It usually grows in areas with less rainfall. Lavender flowers in India are successfully planted on the hillsides of Himachal Pradesh, the Kashmir valley and the state of Uttar Pradesh.