“It always seems to me as if the lavender was a little woman in a green dress with a lavender bonnet and a white handkerchief. She’s one of those strong, sweet, wholesome people, who always rest you, and her sweetness lingers long after she goes away.” –Myrtle Reed
A search on Wikipedia.org reveals the fantastic history of lavender (formal botanical name Lavandula), which dates back more than 2000 years. There are over 47 species of the lavender plant found in the cool French Alps as well as the dry heat of the Middle East. Lavandula is Latin for “to wash” and comes from the ancient Romans who perfumed their baths with lavender oil (solvents or steam distillation are used to extract the essential oils from the plant).
The color “lavender” derives its name for this plant.
For a history of this plant, follow this link https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lavandula
Not only is the plant beautiful and smells good, it also has countless health benefits. During my research, I discovered many medicinal uses for this unusual plant.
For instance, back in the 16th century, some herbalists claimed that lavender would cure paralysis of limbs and neuroses! Not only that, they believed that wearing a skullcap made of lavender would increase intelligence!
And the research also shows that as recently as World War 1, some governments wanted to use extracted oil from lavender to treat soldiers’ wounds.
Why am I writing this blog? For one, I believe in the natural healing powers of essential oils. Secondly, because of the six essential oils I’ve used personally (tea tree, orange, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, lemon grass), because of its versatility, l prefer lavender.
Carrying a bottle of lavender essential oil around with you is like having a personal first aid kit.
Also, I’m always looking for ways to make caring for myself a bit easier, more pleasant, and offer comfort.
Consider this brief overview:
Medicinal Uses of the Essential Oil Lavender
- Calms and relaxes: one research paper found that new mothers using lavender oil in their bathwater reported lower discomfort scores several days after giving birth; further, lavender oil is also currently used in many delivery rooms for its general calming action. Try rubbing 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped hand and inhaling for an immediate calming effect.
- Cures colds: put a few drops of lavender oil into a large bowl of steaming hot water, cover your head, close your eyes, and breathe in through your nose for one or two minutes.
- Relieves headaches: massaging just a few drops of lavender oil into your forehead, temples, and nape of the neck will result in a refreshing and soothing feeling.
- Treats bacterial infections that are resistant to antibiotics: studies show lavender to be lethal to bacteria that cause typhoid, TB, and diphtheria.
- Soothes aching muscles: add lavender oil to your bathwater after a day moving and lifting to ease aches and pains and relieve tension.
- Reduces stress and anxiety: caregivers worry a lot; research shows that lavender oil is just as effective for signs of anxiety as Valium or Xanax—and without the side effects.
- Heals cuts and bruises: lavender oil soothes pain, aids in scar-free healing, and prevents infection.
- Treats acne: lavender oil blocks the bacteria that causes skin infection and helps to rebalance the over-secretion of oily or waxy matter called sebum.
- Reduces wrinkles: suitable for all skin types; moisturizer and cleanser high in antioxidants that increase blood flow and protects skin from harmful free radicals as well as ultraviolet rays of the sun
- Improves allergies: fight a runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, or headaches naturally; use lavender oil mixed with lotion topically or diffuse lavender to reduce inflammation in bronchial tubes (do not ingest).
- Relieves eczema: apply infused lavender oil onto dry, itchy skin or add a few drops of lavender oil to calamine lotion, shake, and rub on for a comforting feel. Others have mixed the lavender oil with a nut or vegetable oil and used topically.
- Eases insomnia: put 3 or 4 drops of lavender oil on your pillow or use a diffuser to help you go to sleep and stay asleep; awake rested and more alert.
- Relieves motion sickness: lavender oil appears at #3 behind peppermint and ginger on most lists to treat motion sickness or nausea. If you’re traveling, use a car diffuser or inhaler, or just place one or two drops on tissue paper and inhale as needed.
- Reduces teeth grinding (bruxism): studies have shown that the scent of lavender can change brain wave patterns and calm nerves. Use a room diffuser or apply one or two drops to critical points on the body, such at temple, back of the neck, inside writs, chest, and shoulder.
- Relieves minor burn pain: run cold water on a burn and then apply lavender oil for almost immediate pain relief and without scarring.
- Eliminates dandruff: dry skin is the most common cause; use several drops of lavender into the scalp as a gentle moisturizer. It’s anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory that also smells great!
- Fights fatigue: add a few drops of lavender to a hot foot bath and soak for several minutes, so that it reaches your bloodstream more quickly. Lavender will stimulate and soothe your entire body.
These 17 ideas do not nearly cover the many medicinal purposes of the marvelous lavender plant. However, you can see from this list that lavender essential oil can ease the common problems that many face, such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, and insomnia.
I feel as expressed by Karen Rose: “If you had to choose an oil, it would have to be lavender essential oil because it is antibacterial and antiviral. So, it’s great to have when the people around you are sick; it can also be used to relax.”
This quote pretty much summarizes how we can benefit from lavender essential oil—a fragrance that’s calming, relaxing both physically and emotionally. I agree with many who say we should carry a bottle of lavender around with us as our first aid kit!
The information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not intended to prescribe, treat, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. Should you begin a regimen using essential oils, please consult with your physician, naturopath, or aromatherapist before doing so. The use of essential oils can be very empowering and beneficial. However, use your discretion.
“When we long for life without difficulties, remind us that oaks grow strong in contrary winds and diamonds are made under pressure.” –Peter Marshall
If you Google “Stress Management,” you’ll receive 54,100,000 or more results—a massive topic that shows how important this is to your wellbeing. And on a single site, such as WebMD, you’ll find more than 5,361 articles devoted to stress.
Why is this topic searched on, and talked and written about in such large numbers?
Because . . .
Many years ago, I worked in a high-pressure sales job. The money was great. We had company cars and expense accounts. But we also had seemingly unending and increasingly higher sales goals to meet.
Well one day, Sam, our highest achiever, dropped dead in the office. Just like that! To everyone’s horror, he fell flat on the floor, face down outside his cubicle.
What made his death so shocking was that Sam was an avid tennis player. So he got plenty of exercises. This tragedy baffled us.
We learned later that the doctor said he died from chronic stress, or what’s referred to as, “acute stress hormone.”
He was only 55 years old.
What is stress?
“A state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances” –Oxford English Dictionary
Consider these U.S. Stress Statistics
- 77% percent of people regularly experience physical symptoms caused by stress
- 73% periodically experience psychological symptoms caused by tension
- 33% feel they are living with extreme pressure
- 48% believe their stress has increased over the past five years
- 76% cited money and work as the leading cause of their emotional strain
- 48% reported lying awake at night due to stress.
(Source: 2016 Statistics Brain Research Institute)
Stress Causes Workplace Violence!
From a survey conducted January 12, 2018:
- 80% of workers feel stress on the job, and nearly half say they need help in learning how to manage stress
- 42% say their coworkers need help dealing with the daily job pressures.
- 14% say they had at one time felt like striking a coworker, but didn’t
- 25% have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress.
- 10% fear an individual at work could become violent.
- 9% are aware of an assault or violent act in the workplace.
- 18% have experienced some in-your-face threat or verbal intimidation in the past year.
(Source: The American Institute of Stress [AIS])
Add to the above statistics the fact that many feel less job security than ever before while working longer and harder. Many workers overcommit and stretch themselves too thin. Plus, some have awful bosses and hate their jobs.
Recipes for disaster!
Stress Makes Us Sick!
According to Jay Winner, MD, as reported by R. Morgan Griffin on WebMd.com, these are 10 of the most significant health problems due to stress:
- Heart disease (sudden emotional stress can be a trigger for heart problems).
- Asthma (stress can worsen asthma).
- Obesity (excess belly fat poses the more significant health risk).
- Diabetes (stress can worsen diabetes: increases lousy behavior and raises glucose levels of people with type 2 diabetes directly).
- Headaches (stress is one of the most common triggers for tension headaches, including migraines).
- Depression and anxiety (chronic stress equates to higher rates of depression and anxiety, such as experienced by people with demanding work with few rewards; they have an 80% higher risk of developing depression within a few years).
- Gastrointestinal problems (stress doesn’t cause ulcers but makes them worse; also contributes to gastroesophageal reflux disease and irritable bowel syndrome).
- Alzheimer’s disease (stress might worsen the condition; researchers speculate that reducing stress could slow down the progression of the disease).
- Accelerated aging (there’s evidence that stress can affect how you age; according to research, stress seemed to accelerate aging by 9 to 17 additional years).
- Premature death (a study looked at the health effects of stress by studying elderly caregivers looking after their spouses—people who are naturally under a great deal of stress and found that caregivers had a 63% higher rate of death than people their age who were not caregivers) **
What can you do?
How can you improve your health?
Dr. Winner shares” Four Ways to Fight Back Against Stress—and Improve Your Health”:
- Breathe deeply (Just a few minutes of deep breathing can calm you; you can do this anywhere. As you breathe out, you relax a specific muscle group. Start with them muscles in your jaw. On the next breath out, relax your shoulder. Move through the different areas of your body until you’re feeling calm.)
- Focus on the moment (Instead of worrying about the future, focus on what you’re doing right now. If you’re walking, feel the sensation of your legs moving, and so forth.)
- Reframe the situation (If you’re running late for an appointment and stuck in traffic, it won’t help to get all worked up. Look at that time as an opportunity to yourself.)
- Keep your problems in perspective (The next time you’re feeling stressed out, think about the things for which you are grateful. If you have family and friends, consider yourself fortunate. This can be a surprisingly effective method for stress relief.)
- Eat right.
- Get enough sleep.
- Exercise every day.
- Listen to soothing music.
- Take in the beauty of creation.
- Read * (my favorite way to relax)
There you have it: Top 12 Coping with Stress Strategies. Many of us experience enormous pressures in our daily lives. Use these and other tips to keep stress from leading to burnout in your life.
I’m tired!!! As a full-time caregiver, I found myself saying this over and over again.
Typically, I’d have concluded that I was doing too much. But that didn’t fit situation because I just did what was necessary.
One thing that happened is that my husband stirred restlessly at night. This situation caused me to get up about every two hours to ensure he was okay. Thus I didn’t get much sleep. This sleep deficiency is itself was stress on my mind and body, and this made it less likely I could handle the other pressures going on at the time.
To quote Shakespeare: “Sleep that knits up the reveled sleave of care. The death of each day’s life, sore labour’s bath, Balm of hurt minds, great nature’s second course, Chief nourisher in life’s feast.” (Macbeth: Act 2, Scene 2)
Sleep here symbolizes innocence, purity, and peace of mind.
Since I wasn’t getting the sleep I needed to refresh my mind and relax my body, I felt tired. I often thought in a constant state of fatigue and exhaustion.
Imagine how this affected my health! Of course, the simple answer would have been to get more sleep; however, getting eight hours of sleep was out of the question for me at that time.
Researchers have found that lack of sleep causes learning and memory problems, motor-skill impairment, and a weakened immune system. It makes you cranky and causes depression. And I had discovered that when I was tired, I was prone to make errors, which could have been severe—even deadly.
So if I was unable to get the recommended amount of sleep, what else could I do? What was the answer to my fatigue?
Drink More Water!
It’s right there in the kitchen sink. Usually, it’s available to everyone. It costs little, but can bring better health. And it’s one of our body’s most essential nutrients. Yes, it’s cool, clear water. Even health-conscious people often neglect the simple advice to drink more water..
It’s true that 70 percent of our body is made up of water. And the food we eat supplies water because many foods are made up mainly of water. For example, an egg is about 74 percent water. Did you know that? And what about a piece of steak? Well, it’s about 73 percent water. Fruit also supplies a lot of water, such as a watermelon that has 92 percent water.
But plain old water does great things for the body.
Consider these facts as expressed by many experts, including Kaiser Permanente Nephrologist, Steven Guest, MD:
Fact: Water helps to relieve fatigue because fatigue is one of the first signs of dehydration. Less water causes the heart to work harder to pump oxygenated blood through the bloodstream; our other organs work less efficiently. Drinking more water helps your body function better and thus reduce fatigue.
Fact: Without sufficient fluid to flush out the by-products of cell metabolism, body cells can slowly become poisoned by their waste. The kidneys do a fantastic job of cleansing and ridding the body of toxins “as long as the intake of fluids is adequate,” according to Dr. Guest. Further, when your body is not getting enough fluids, “urine concentration, color, and odor increases because the kidneys trap extra fluid for bodily functions.”
Fact: Water helps energize muscles and build muscle tone; without the fluids, muscles don’t work well, and this results in muscle fatigue.
Fact: Water helps keep skin looking good. Dr. Guest says, “Dehydration makes the skin look more dry and wrinkled.”
Fact: Water, along with fiber, is necessary for digestion and helps prevent constipation. According to Dr. Guest, “When you don’t get enough fluid, the colon pulls water from stools to maintain hydration – the result is constipation.
With all of these health benefits, including less fatigue, I needed to drink more water!
Dr. Guest suggests these 5 tips:
- Have a beverage with every snack and meal.
- Choose beverages you enjoy; you’re likely to drink more fluids.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables high in water content.
- Keep bottled water with you at all times.
- Choose drinks that meet your individual needs (for me, this meant calorie-free beverages and caffeine-free, sugar-free tea).
If you are a caregiver, as I was, or performing any duties that require that you’re on the go constantly, and you want to boost your energy (and who doesn’t?) and improve your overall health, you must drink more cool and refreshing, God-given water!
“Drinking water is like washing out your insides. The water will cleanse the system, fill you up, decrease your caloric load and improve the function of all your tissues.” –Kevin R. Stone