Lavender as an Anti-depressant?

Veggie of the Week

Lavender as an Anti-depressant?

What is Lavender?

Lavender in a glass jar

Lavender adds scent to a room

This shrubby member of the mint family has been used for centuries for its odour-masking scent and health properties. Used in the public baths by Greeks and Romans, the word lavender is derived from the Latin word lavare, or to wash.

The essential oils and the dried flowers are most often used, but occasionally lavender is used in cakes and biscuits/cookies.

Under the Spotlight

Lavender contains the following, which have positive effects on our health:

  • Volatile oils (linalool, linalyl acetate)
  • Hydroxycoumarins (umbelliferone, herniarin, coumarin)
  • Caffeic acid derivatives (rosmarinic acid)
  • Flavonoids (luteolin)
  • Tannins

Benefits to Your Health

Lavender has long been used for insomnia and to help induce sleep, but there are many other uses:

  • Calms the stomach; used as a treatment for nervous stomach, abdominal bloating, flatulence and also a gurgling stomach when combined with fennel or chamomile
  • Calming and slightly sedating in a bath; good for insomnia, premenstrual anger, stress-induced headaches and irritability
  • Helps promote healing for episiotomies as the essential oils are antibacterial and anti-inflammatory
  • May help healing and reduce pain of  first and second-degree burns, cuts, muscle pain and athlete’s foot and traditionally for Bell’s Palsy
  • Beneficial in helping reduce depression when used with St John’s Wort and an anti-depressant called Imipramine
  • Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant (rosmarinic acid and coumarins)
  • Diuretic that may help reduce swelling
  • Anti-cancer properties (coumarins are anti-tumour, enhance immune function and stimulates built-in antioxidant functions…they can also be found in carrots, celery, fennel and beetroot)

Start Now!

You don’t need to go crazy and include lavender on a daily basis, but maybe these suggestions will help you decide on one way to try lavender. You can buy the dried flowers and oils in natural shops or ask a neighbour who has it growing ornamentally in their yard.

  1. Add lavender heads flowers or oil to your bath for a calming, relaxing and beautifully scented effect
  2. Sprinkle lavender flowers on your cakes
  3. Burn lavender oil in an oil burner before bed to fill the room with the calming scent to help you sleep
  4. Add lavender oil to your massage cream to help ease the pain of sore, tired muscles
  5. Add 1 teaspoon of lavender flowers to a 350ml, steep for 20-30 minutes and drink approximately 100ml, 3 times per day to reduce excess swelling
  6. A typical dose of lavender oil is 1-2 drops, 2-3 times per day

Lavender sprinkled on oatmealRecipe Challenge

Join our Recipe Challenge and make a recipe from this and the other three Veggies of the Week in this month. We’ll be choosing a recipe randomly and turning it into a video. Find out more here!

Have a look at last week’s Veggie of the Week.