Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Versatile Lavender and Holistic Health

You are probably familiar with the aromatic fragrance
of lavender used in soaps, shampoos, and perfumes.
However, you may not fully appreciate its versatility
as an herbal medicine.

Historically, lavender has been highly valued
by herbalists for its ability to relieve headaches
and calm nervous tension. Modern research has
shown lavender oil to be an effective antiseptic,
promoting healing of burns, wounds, and sores.
It can also reduce the pain and inflammation of
insect bites. The fragrant scent of lavender
comes from the oil in the blue-violet flowers that
can be used fresh, dried, or steam distilled (to
extract the essential oil).

Lavender was recommended in nineteen of Edgar Cayce's
readings for a variety of effects. The medical prescriptions of lavender
are generally related to its calming and restorative qualities.
A combination of lavender and witchhazel was recommended for
use in a fume bath in two cases involving excessive muscular tension
and nerve exhaustion. Several Cayce readings suggest that
the aroma of lavender can aid with attunement during meditation.
Here are some practical tips for using lavender to improve
your mental and physical well-being:

  • Soak up lavender by placing a few drops of lavender in your bath water.
  • Inhale its healing fragrance by putting a drop or two of lavender oil on a lamp or diffuser designed specifically for aromatherapy.
  • Absorb lavender oil through your skin when you get a massage. It is best to mix it with another oil such as olive oil. When prescribed by Cayce for massage, it was always mixed with other oils. As with any oil, it is always a good idea to test a small area first to minimize the risk of allergic reaction.
  • If you feel a headache coming on, massage lavender oil into the forehead and temples (but away from the eyes).
  • For cuts, bruises, and insect bites, drop lavender oil directly onto the skin.
  • To reduce insomnia, sprinkle a few drops on a pillow at bedtime.
  • For nervous exhaustion or depression, consider lavender tea which can be made from the dried lavender flowers (1 1/ 2 tsp. flowers to 8 oz. water) which can be drunk up to four times a day.
Remember, more is not necessarily
better. Use essential oils sparingly to
achieve maximum benefits.

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