By Alexis M., Instructor and Wellness Coach
Follow along with her @asanaandacai and check out our schedule to sweat with her at Southern Flow Yoga!
Lavender, also known as Lavandula, comes from the mint family, Lamiaceae! It’s a small evergreen shrub with beautiful purple flowers. In Texas, you can visit the dreamy lavender fields at the Becker Vineyards in Fredericksburg and pick up some lavender treats. The flowers from the lavender plant are steam distilled to extract the popular lavender essential oil. Pure lavender essential oil has long been used as an ancient herbal remedy and can be used a variety of ways such as diffused to inhale aromatically, applied topically, added to baths, used in cooking, ingested internally, and so much more. At Southern Flow Yoga, we love dipping our cold towels in lavender essential oil to cool, relax, and soothe our students after a hot, sweaty sculpt or stretch class. Here are 5 benefits of lavender we love on and off the mat!
1. Relaxing & Calming
Stop and smell the lavender! Aromatherapy works by activating smell receptors in your nose which send messages through the nervous system to the part of the brain that controls emotions. Studies have shown smelling lavender has a calming and soothing effect on the nervous system. Therefore, lavender and its essential oil is popularly used to calm the body and mind to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression. That’s why we love treating our students with cool, lavender-dipped towels for an extra relaxing shavasana. It can also ease nausea, motion sickness, cramps, headaches and other aches.
As a health coach, I see a lot of people struggle to fall asleep, stay asleep, or simply sleep deeply, so lavender is one of my go-to sleep tips. Because of lavender’s relaxing and calming effect, it is a perfect remedy to unwind at night. Add some drops of lavender essential to a hot bath, diffuse it in your room, or dilute with your favorite oil – like olive or coconut – to massage onto your chest, wrists or feet. Above and beyond lavender, my favorite sleep supplement is DoTERRA’s Serenity capsules which combine lavender essential oil, passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile, l-theanine, and German Chamomile for a synergistic effect to promote deep sleep. You can snag it at my link, here.
The French scientist Rene Gattefosse was the first to discover lavender’s ability to speed wound healing by stimulating tissue regeneration after he burned his arm. Pretty cool! Lavender essential oil also has antimicrobial properties and is packed with antioxidants that protect and nourish your skin. You can dab on burns, scars, sunspots or stretch marks to speed healing. You can spot-treat acne, eczema, bug bites or other skin irritations. Another favorite is to mix with coconut oil to nourish chapped lips!
Who doesn’t love that head massage you get at a hair salon? Try it at home by mixing some drops of lavender essential oil with coconut oil to massage onto your scalp and nourish your hair. Because lavender is a vasodilator that promotes blood circulation, sources say massaging it into your scalp can help stimulate hair growth and even calm dandruff. I haven’t tried this yet so let me know what you think!
5. Allergies & Infections
Seasonal allergies got you down? Lavender essential oil acts as a natural histamine and reduces inflammation to help relieve allergies. Try diffusing lavender essential oil or rubbing it between your palms to inhale directly. As mentioned, it’s also antimicrobial as well as anti-fungal so it can help combat other infections too. A favorite way of mine to combat any oncoming allergies or infections is to combine a few essential oils with olive oil in a capsule and take internally for a more powerful impact. I usually combine ones like lavender, peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, rosemary or oregano. Got to love the power of plants!
Final note So Flow fam, not all lavender is created equal, so do your research online and read labels. There’s a difference between lavender oil and lavender essential oil. Lavender oil does not have to be derived from the plant so you want lavender essential oil. Lavender products at drugstores and grocery stores are typically made with low-grade oils that aren’t pure or have been diluted with fillers and synthetic ingredients. These can maybe be diffused for the smell but should not be used topically or internally. Look for quality sourced and tested brands like Saje, doTERRA, and Young Living.