Sunday Health Hack No. 24 – Lavender in the air, and on your skin!

Sunday Health Hack No. 24 – Get some organic Lavender essential oil and make lavendish use of it in you evening and bedtime routine.

I have mentioned essential oils before now and then, but there are some which deserve a special mentioning. And Lavender is a MUST in your healthy lifestyle aid-kit!

Traditional herbal textbooks and research studies alike confirm Lavender as a health jack-of-all-trades. Lavender calms the nervous system, it lifts the mood and even lower blood pressure. Research links Lavender usage to less anxiety and depression. It improves your body’s melatonin levels, supporting a better night’s rest. It gently moisturizes and detoxifies your skin. It soothes dry skin conditions. It prevents and mends painful acne breakouts and eczema. It heals the skin that’s irritated by insect bites or reddened from the sun. And its antioxidants battle environmental stressors like UV rays and pollution as well as signs of premature aging, protect against wrinkles, fine lines, and dark age spots. 
So, Lavender is much more than just grandma’s secret weapon for freshening up the powder room.

This legendary violet botanical belongs to the mint family, and it is not only a pretty plant but has a long history as a beauty and medical treatment.
Lavender is one of the world’s most ancient documented plants. Hieroglyphic texts from the Egyptians detail the use of Lavender in embalming, as cosmetics and as medicine.
And even the Bible mentions Lavender several times. The Lavender plant was said to be taken from the Garden of Eden by Adam and Eve, the Virgin Mary laid the infant Jesus’ clothes onto a Lavender bush to dry that the scent was bestowed upon the plant, Mary massaged the bruised feet of Jesus after his long walk through the desert with an Lavender ointment, and she anointed Jesus with Lavender after the crucifixion when she was preparing him for burial.
The early Greeks learned a lot about Lavender and the use of aromatic herbs from the Egyptians, using Lavender oil to clean wounds, heal burns, prevent further infections, and treat many other skin injuries.
The Romans adopted the knowledge from the Greeks and used Lavender flower lavishly in their public baths, to perfume themselves and their homes.
During the Renaissance, it was used to protect against the Plaque, due to its insect repellent properties (the Plague was carried by lices on the rats).
English royalty were particularly fond of Lavender during the Victorian Era. Queen Victoria even appointed an official purveyor, her name was Miss Sarah Sprules “Purveyor to the Queen”, and Lavender was used throughout the castles for everything imaginable.
And during the First World War, before antibiotics and penicillin were invented, Lavender was used by the doctors and nurses as the main antiseptic for its strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties.

Sidenote: Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils capture the plant’s scent and flavour, or “essence.” Essential oils are obtained through distillation (via steam and/or water) or mechanical methods, such as cold pressing. Once the aromatic chemicals have been extracted, they are combined with a “carrier” (oil or water).

So, my Sunday Health Hack of today is making use of Lavender’s powerful health benefits with these easy to implement routines –
First, get some good organic Lavender essential oil in your local health store. Next, invest a little bit of money for a small “diffuser”. I use this one, which is easy to handle, and which I also like to give as a nice present to family & friends (no advertisement!) –
Now, before you go to bed, depending on the layout of your home, either set up the diffuser in your bedroom or your “reading” room. Mix 100ml of water with 10 drops of Lavender essential oil, and put this mixture into the diffuser. As mentioned above, the Lavender smell will have a potent calming effect on your nervous system (after a hell-of-an-office-day), granting you a rejuvenating good-night-sleep.
Additionally, mix again 100ml of water with 10 drops of Lavender essential oil, and put this mixture into a spray bottle. Now spray your bed and especially your pillow with this blend, for even excel the good-night-sleep benefits.

I rather shower in the evening, for getting the day-battle-dust off me before I go to bed. And as a body lotion I use Aloe Vera gel and mix it with a couple of drops of Lavender essential oil. In combination with Tea Tree & Lemon essential oil as a specific (arm-pit) deodorant (see Sunday Health Hack No. 16), and Rosemary essential oil for my hair (see Sunday Health Hack No. 17).
And if I don’t have the time for a shower, at least I put some Aloe Vera and Lavender mix on my neck and face, after I cleaned it with some Lavender (organic) soap.

Extra tip for parents: As mentioned above, already Virgin Mary used Lavender for anointing baby Jesus’s clothes. Very much for a good reason though. The still “unfiltered” senses of babies are even more receptive to the calming and anti-anxiety effects of the Lavender scent. So, next time your new-born keeps you up all night, maybe you should give it a serious try before anything else!  

Peace & plants, Yours  Andreas

Sunday Quote
Forgiveness is the fragrance the violet sheds on the heel that has crushed it.
Mark Twain

Sunday Music
Well, speaking of calmness and soothing your nervous system in the evening before you go to bed –