Best known for its purple blossoms and its alluring scent that sends you on a tranquil journey, lavender is a perennial plant that was first discovered over 2,500 years ago. Not only does it look pretty to the eyes and smell heavenly to the senses, but it also has many health benefits.
The word “lavender” comes from the Latin word “lavare” – which means “to wash”. This makes perfect sense given its calming properties and its power to wash away your stress and worries.
Lavender flowers are known to represent purity, silence, devotion, serenity, grace, and calmness.
For more than 2,500 years, people have used lavender as a decorative shrub, in cooking, for therapeutic purposes, and as a scent. Greeks employed lavender oil's therapeutic benefits to treat headaches, gastritis, and sore throats, while Egyptians used it in their mummification process to embalm corpses. The Romans, who transported it across the Empire, also utilized it extensively especially in their baths.
- Supports sleep: Some studies suggest lavender can improve your body’s melatonin levels, supporting a better night’s rest.
- Reduces pain and inflammation: Research has shown that lavender essential oil can help reduce headache pain.
- Helps with mood, anxiety, and depression: Lavender is known for its ability to calm the nervous system, lift the mood, and even lower blood pressure.
- Relieves menstrual pain: In one study, women who smelled lavender for 30 minutes a day during the first three days of their period had less pain after two months. Other research has linked applying lavender essential oil to the abdomen with less menstrual pain.
- Kills harmful viruses and bacteria: People used lavender to clean hospital wards. It’s still used for its antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
There are 5 main types of Lavender that are the most common: English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), French lavender (Lavandula dentata), Portuguese lavender (Lavandula latifolia), Greek lavender (Lavandula stoechas), and Lavandin, which is a hybrid between the English and Portuguese varieties. Each has a different scent and growth conditions, and they are grown for different purposes worldwide.