Lavender has been used since ancient times to treat or alleviate various ailments. And although today it is used as an ornamental plant, since it has an unmistakable aroma and beautiful flowers, its medicinal side persists.
Its main uses include the treatment of headaches, but is it really effective? We review what science says and we tell you what this herb can offer you.
The lavandula, commonly called lavender, lavender or lavender, is a genus of plants belonging to the Lamiaceae family.
More than 200 species are registered, although only 60 are accepted. They are characterized by their intense smell and by having a lilac, blue, purple or violet flower that is used for medicinal purposes.
The best way to take advantage of it is from its essential oil, which is extracted from flowers normally through steam distillation.
This is usually used both in aromatherapy and to make candles, cosmetics, detergents, jellies, massage oils, perfumes, shampoos, soaps and tea.
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Currently, there is no strong scientific evidence on the efficacy of lavender for headache symptoms, although traditional medicine has used it to reduce symptoms.
There is also research that analyzed these properties. An example of this is the study on mice published in 2013 in Phytomedicine, where the authors found that the antioxidant activities of lavender essential oils are the main mechanisms of its powerful neuroprotective effects against oxidative stress.
Another placebo-controlled clinical trial, conducted by the Mashhad University School of Medicine, in Iran, and published in European Neurology, showed the efficacy of lavender essential oil inhalation.
In this case, the participants had to rub 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil on their upper lip at the first signs of a headache and inhale the aroma for 15 minutes.
They were then asked to note the severity of their headache.
The results indicated that inhaling lavender essential oil at the first symptoms of a migraine reduced the severity of the headache and symptoms associated with migraine.
The scientific evidence is preliminary, but many specialists agree that lavender may be useful for headache relief thanks to the fact that it contains terpene alcohols, such as linalol, geraniol and borneol, and esters, which guarantee its sedative properties for the nervous system.
These compounds also have hypotensive and bactericidal effects.
How to take advantage of it
Inhalation is the simplest and most recommended way to take advantage of the properties of lavender. It can be inhaled from a handkerchief, from the pillow on which we rest or through vaporizers.
An infusion can also be prepared for headaches. To do this, you just have to:
- Heat the amount of water that you are going to use.
- Once it reaches the boiling point, remove it from the heat and pour into a cup in which you have previously deposited the dried plant (a small spoonful, approximately 2 or 3 g) or the fresh herb (a handful of leaves or flowers).
- Cover immediately and let stand 5-10 minutes. This step is essential to prevent the active substances from evaporating and losing their properties.
- Then strain and drink.
This drink has a significant concentration of minerals, specifically iron and calcium, vitamins, especially A, and antioxidant compounds.
Lavender is also associated with other health benefits, such as promoting relaxation, combating insomnia, stimulating healing, caring for the skin against conditions such as acne, acting as an insect repellent, strengthening hair, relieving cough, and favoring good breath.
Remember, excessive consumption of lavender infusions or the use of its oils can cause stomach problems and irritation.
It is also not recommended for pregnant or lactating women, or for those who use antihypertensive or sedative medications.
Until there is significant scientific evidence from human trials, people interested in using herbal therapies and supplements should exercise extreme caution.
Do not abandon or modify your medications or treatments, first talk to your doctor about the potential effects of alternative or complementary therapies.
Remember, the medicinal properties of herbs and supplements can also interact with prescription drugs, other herbs and supplements, and even alter your diet.
Sources consulted: Comprehensive Natural Medicines Database, US National Library of Medicine, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, US Department of Agriculture, National Institute for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.