Lavender – an insomniac’s friend

I get a certain feelgood factor when I see Lavender,  especially a field full of them. I love the colour – once again the doctrine of signatures is seen in that the colour is on the sleep inducing spectrum (that of the Pineal Gland/Third Eye).

This beautiful herb conjures images of long hot days in Provence and the refreshing aroma can lift flagging spirits in no time. This is because Lavender belongs to the mint family which is known for distinctive fragrance. Its popularity as a perfume goes back to Elizabethan times when it was used to freshen clothing and bed linen and, today, it is a popular ingredient of essential oils, perfumes and pot potpourris.

Traditional Use and Health Benefits

Lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years, with its name coming from the Latin root “lavare”, meaning “to wash”. It most likely earned its name because it was frequently used in baths to purify the body and spirit.

Lavender was used by the Ancient Egyptians for embalming and cosmetics. The Royal Families and priests used it in massage oils and medicines, Queen Elizabeth I is reported to have drunk Lavender tea to treat her frequent migraines and, more widely, has been used for centuries to relax and calm the mind.

This wonderful herb has many uses but, of course, my interest is that it is one of the optimal relaxing and sleep inducing remedies.

Research shows that these compounds create a sedative and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) effect. If you are a restless sleeper, Lavender has been shown to increase the duration of sleep time before you awaken again. It also increases deep/slow wave sleep, meaning restorative and restful sleep is achieved. It calms an overwrought nervous system enabling relaxation and sleep. Try putting a few drops of the essential oil in an oil burner or infuser in your bedroom. Alternatively, I love Lavender pillow spray by Neal’s Yard. 

if you are looking for a natural way to beat the blues or get through challenging times, Lavender has been shown to significantly alleviate symptoms when inhaled. Try putting 1-2 drops of essential oil in a small amount of olive oil and rub under your nose and gently inhale. Or, as above, try a few drops of the essential oil in an oil burner or infuser in your bedroom. Alternatively, try Lavender pillow spray by Neal’s Yard.

as above, try inhaling 1-2 drops of Lavender essential oil in a small amount of olive oil and rub under your nose. This is a safe and effective way to manage migraines.

Lavender wheat pillows, which can be heated in the microwave and placed over the affected area, can really soothe pan and bring comfort generally.

Lavender Essential Oil has antiseptic properties. Applying it to wounds can not only increase cell growth causing the wound to heal faster, but it also decreases the appearance of scars. The anti-microbial action of Lavender Oil protects scrapes and wounds from infection, while allowing them heal. 

Lavender Oil is an effective burn and scald remedy. It relieves the pain of burns, as well as having anti inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It stimulates the cells to regenerate more quickly, preventing scar tissue. 

Lavender improves food to pass through the gut more readily, known as gut motility. Colic, vomiting, and flatulence can all be helped through the use of this herb – herbal tea is a convenient way to ingest the herb in safe quantities. It is said to balance harmful and beneficial bacteria but how remains a mystery. 

Lavender has naturally soothing and calming properties. For the skin it can help to calm down irritation and itching, inflammation and redness. It makes an excellent facial cleanser and toner that is especially suited to sensitive skin. With natural sedative qualities, Lavender Hydrolat can be spritzed onto bed linen and used as a bedroom air freshener to create the perfect environment for a sound night’s sleep. 

Lavender helps to repel pests such as flies, mosquitoes and even mice. Try burning candles, joss sticks or essential oils diluted in water, or use a spray.

Caution: do not use as a herb if you are breast feeding or pregnant. Always seek the advice of a qualified Herbalist.

My favourite go-to Lavender products are:

For more details and bespoke, individualised treatment for insomnia, anxiety, stress or any other sleep problem, just contact me. 

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