Since antiquity, lavender has been remarkably effective against life-threatening illness and infection. Today, lavender is garnering attention as a safe alternative to risky chemical disinfectants, dangerous antibiotics and hazardous antiviral medications. As an added health protecting benefit, lavender naturally stimulates the immune system to guard against invading bacteria and viruses.
When the great epidemics of plague were sweeping through Europe during the Middle Ages and into the 17th century, a mysterious phenomena was taking place: tannery workers who used the essential oil of lavender in production and those who worked in lavender fields were escaping the illness unscathed. Unknown at the time, lavender boosts immunity and is a powerful bactericide.
As a strong disinfectant, lavender can be utilized in a variety of ways. Up until the first World War, lavender was used on wounds and also to sterilize surfaces and equipment in hospitals. Furthermore, it is a potent antiseptic for cuts, scrapes, burns and bites.
Lavender is a formidable protector against infectious disease. It directly attacks bacteria and viruses through its germicidal properties. Additionally, lavender stimulates white blood cell production within the body to help fend off invading organisms. Unlike antibiotics, the use of lavender does not create harmful anti-microbial resistant strains of bacteria.
Whether included in food or brewed as a tea, lavender is a versatile herb. Enjoying a long culinary history, lavender is a key ingredient in the French spice mixture Herbs de Provence. Slightly bitter and astringent in taste, lavender lends a unique flavor to edibles while maintaining all its health giving attributes. A tea or infusion brewed with the flower is beneficial for supporting the immune system, especially during periods of stress or illness. When consumed in this way, the powerful healing properties are both ingested and inhaled for enhanced benefit. Potent tincture concentrations are also available.
The essential oil of lavender can be used in the bath; combined with a carrier oil and applied to the skin; inhaled in steam or simply placed on clothing. It also can be mixed with humidifier water which assists in controlling airborne germs. Due to its concentrated nature, only a few drops are necessary and should be diluted if used on the skin. Internal use of essential oils is not recommended.
Sources for this article include:
“Natural Immune System Strengtheners” Bioterrorism, Holistic Online. Retrieved on August 1, 2012 from: http://www.holistic-online.com
“Natural Remedies: 5 Health Benefits of Lavender” Leslie Barrie, April 28, 2012, Huffpost Healthy Living. Retrieved on August 1, 2012 from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
“Lavender: History, Taxonomy, and Production” Joe-Ann McCoy with Dr. Jeanine Davis. Retrieved on August 1, 2012 from: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu
“Boost Your Immune System with Essential Oils and Aromatherapy” Linda DuToit. Natural Medicine at Suite 101. Retrieved on August 1, 2012 from: http://suite101.com
“Medicinal Uses of Lavender” Gardens Ablaze. Retrieved on August 1, 2012 from: http://www.ces.ncsu.edu