Benefits and side effects of lavender tea

Benefits and side effects of lavender tea
June 10, 2015 12:30 AM

Did you know that lavender tea is quite beneficial for health and helps in convulsion and digestive issues? Do you want to know about more benefits of lavender tea? If so, then you need to read this article as it will tell you about health benefits (and side effects) of lavender tea

What is lavender?

Another name for lavender is Lavandula. It is a part of Lamiaceae mint family and is a species of flowering plants. It is normally found on Canary Islands and Cape Verde. It is also found in southeast India and Northern and Eastern Africa. Many species of lavender are grown in mild climate. It is generally used as a culinary herb or an ornamental plant for gardens. Lavender is also used in the preparation of essential oils. Lavandula Augustifolia is a popular known species of lavender and it has a specific color.

Description of lavender

Short lived perennial plants are included in the genus lavender. Small shrub and subshrubs are also included in it. The shape of the leaf is quite unique across all the genus. The leaf shapes are quite simple in some common species. The leaf shapes are of diverse color in some other species, like they are pinnate or pinnately toothed (leaflets on side of the stems). The leaves in most of the species are covered with indumentum. Essential oils are present in them. Most of the flowers which are present on the plant leaves are present on the spikes. The spikes are in branched form in most species. Colored bracts are produced on some of the species on the apices. The color of the flowers might vary depending upon the species and ranges from violet to blue. The color can also sometimes be purple or black. The sepals of the flower have long and round shape. Five lobes are present on the corolla and it is also long and round in appearance.

L. pedunculata, L. dentata and L. stoechas were known in the times of the Roman Empire. Later, in the Middle Ages these were divided in two species which are Lavandula (L. spica and L. latifolia) and Stoechas (L. dnetata and L. stoeches). Both of these species were combined by a popular scientist named Linnaeus. He came to know about five popular species in his book named Species Plantarum, which are L. spica, L. pedunculata, L. stoechas, L. multifidia and L. dentata. L. carnosa and L. pinnata were made known in 1790.The later was formed to Anisochilus. 12 species were known in 1826, and 18 species were known in 1848.

Dorothy Chaytor did the modern classification in the district of Kew in 1937. Many mediatories were left in the 28 species which were put forward. Dentatae, Chaetostachys, Spica, Stoeches, And Pterostoechas were the part of the section. The commercial and the cultivated forms were present in the Spica and Stoechas part. Three species were present within Spica named L. Latifolia, L. Lanata, and L. Augustifolia. On other hand, four species were present in Stoeches whose names are L. pendunculata, L. viridis, L. dentata, and Lavandula stoechas. Dorothy Chaytor claims that a mixture of spike lavender and L. augustifolia were present in garden varieties.

Many scientists have researched on lavender in the recent years. Andrews and Upson suggest that three further subgenuses are present in Lavandula. The first variety is subgenus Lavandula. Mostly the shrubs and leaves are a part of this genus. This species is mostly grown as oil and ornamental plants. This species is commonly present in the North and West Africa and in the Mediterranean region. Another subgenus is known as subgenus Sabaudia. These two species are present in the Eritrea and Arabian Peninsula. These are often placed in the genus Sabaudia because they are quite different in comparison to other species. Herbs and shrubs are a part of genus Fabricia. Ornamental plants are present in this species and they are spread throughout India and Atlantic. Many hybrids are also present in horticultural usage.

Study of the word lavender

Some people suggest that the source of the English word ‘Lavender’ is a French word ‘Lavendre’. Some other people think that the Latin word Lavare is the place of origin of this word, which means the mixing of plants. Some people also think that the common name in the European history is the place of origin of this name. This name “Lavandula” was first coined by Linnaeus. Some other people claim that this word is derived from the Latin word Livere which means blue in color. English Lavender is the commonly used name for some species. Spanish Lavender or French lavender is the term used for some other species. English Lavender or Old English Lavender is the term used for L. augustifolia. Spanish lavender is the term used for L. lanata and L. dentate, whereas the term used for L. stoechas is French Lavender.

The English Lavender, popularly known as Lavandula Augustifolia, is cultivated widely. Some species are also prepared artificially. L. dentata, L. multifida and L. stoeches are the most commonly grown species of lavender. These species of plants are grown in the natural environment. They are also grown in gardens all over the world. They are also grown in some places as a garden escapes. No harm is caused by these species most of the times. But these species have proven to be dangerous in some cases. It is considered harmful in Victoria and has been considered as a poisonous plant since the 1920s. A popular species of Lavender named Lavandula stoeches is considered harmful the Australian government is thinking of putting a ban on this species. In Spain, it is considered as a wild plant.

The lavender species bloom and come at their top where there is full sun. The different species of lavender are quite beneficial and don’t need any kind of fertilization. Only good and clean air is required for their proper growth. The growth of the plant in humid areas can be a cause of concern because fungal infections can be caused in the plant, which leads to the deterioration of the plant. One of the reasons for the deterioration of the root is that the mulches in the plant can trap the moisture. It is better to grave materials such as crushed rocks.

Benefits of lavender tea

Now let us look at some of the benefits of lavender tea. Lavender is widely used in soaps, shampoos and clothes. It is also used for making tea due to its medicinal value. Some benefits of lavender tea have been mentioned below:

Helps in digestion

The basic symptoms of indigestion are vomiting, pain in the abdomen, neck pain, and a burnt feeling in the stomach. Peptic ulcers (damage caused in the digestive tract) can be caused due to indigestion. Indigestion and other stomach pains and disorders can be treated easily with the help of lavender tea. The main reason is the presence of essential oils in lavender tea; these essential oil provide comfort to the stomach. A study related to lavender was conducted in the University of Parma in 2004 (1). The results of the study showed that lavender tea is quite beneficial against ulcers and indigestion. But the study was done on rats and not on human subjects.

Relieving insomnia

You should know what insomnia is before finding out how lavender tea helps against insomnia. Insomnia is actually a health condition which is marked by the inability of a person to sleep comfortably. The exact cause of insomnia isn’t yet known but experts believe that stress, anxiety and depression are the underlying causes of insomnia. A study was conducted in 2006 in Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi (2). The study was conducted on college women students. It was seen that how depression and insomnia is affected by the use of lavender tea in these women. Forty two women were studied for this study for a period of four weeks who complained of insomnia and depression. The researchers conducted different studies and found out the hours of sleep, the disturbances in sleep caused, and how much depressed the women were. The results of the study showed that the use of lavender had beneficial effects in college women students. The study is conclusive but still the researchers suggested that more studies are still needed to give a final word.

Treating migraine

Essential oils are released from lavender tea. These essential oils are quite helpful against Migraine. Migraine is actually a headache, which is caused on one side of the head and may cause nausea too. The vision of a person can sometimes become blurred due to migraine. A study was recently done relating to see the effect of lavender tea on migraine (3). The crux of the study was that lavender essential oils are quite beneficial against migraines. The study was published in 2012 in European Neurology. The study included two groups of forty seven; one was the experimental group whereas the other was the controlled group. Liquid paraffin was given to the patients to inhale in the controlled group. On the other hand, lavender essential oil was given to the patients in the experimental group. The experts said in the conclusion of the study that lavender oil is quite beneficial against mild cases of migraine headaches.

Beneficial against convulsions

The shaking of the body due to muscle relaxation and contraction is known as convulsion. A study was done on the effect of lavender on convulsions in 2000 (4). The study was published in the “Journal of Ethnopharmacology”. The study found that lavender has anticonvulsive properties. This study was done on mice. The researchers gave their view in the conclusion that lavender has the ability to block the passage of calcium into the nervous system. This calcium is responsible for convulsions.

Relaxing the body

One of the main benefits of lavender tea is that it comforts the body. The reason for this is that lavender has a comforting fragrance. Some scientific studies were recently conducted in the University of Maryland. These studies showed that lavender has a kind of fragrance which calms the body by slowing down the functioning of nervous system. It has been seen that as lavender tea promotes relaxation. It is also quite beneficial for stress and anxiety. A research study was published in the 2011 edition of the magazine of “Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine”. It was found in the study that stress and anxiety of the patients was significantly reduced who were given the hypodermic needles filled with lavender. The reason that lavender tea is so beneficial is that it releases the essential oils which are quite helpful for the body.

Helpful against dandruff

Lavender tea is also quite helpful against dandruff. You can either drink it in the form of tea or use lavender oil. Different experts have the view that lavender is quite beneficial for treating different conditions of the scalp. Lavender is quite beneficial against hair losses and skin conditions like alopecia areata (sudden hair loss that results in baldness) (5). Now let us see how to apply lavender to hair. You need to first wet your hair. Now put lavender oil in a mug. Add about 15 to 20 drops of lavender oil. Now add two table spoon of olive oil in it. Now warm this mixture to some degree. Now put the mixture on your hair. Let it remain there for fifteen minutes and after that wash it just like you wash shampoo. A thing is very important to mention here and it is that most people think that only applying lavender oil one or two times can produce the desired results. But this isn’t true. Famous experts like Fusco, who is a New York Dermatologist, suggest that the benefits of lavender for scalp will be seen after you apply it four to five times.

Calming the skin

You should try out lavender oil if you have itchy or dry skin. Lavender tea has anti-inflammatory properties and therefore, it is quite beneficial against itching and redness produced on the skin. You can either take lavender in the form of tea or an oil. Put two to three drops of lavender oil on the skin and let it remain there for about 20 minutes if you want to use lavender oil for your skin. You should however, stop if you feel any kind of irritation. Apply the oil on the skin after every eight hours for two days to see the desired effect.

Wrinkle treatment

Lavender is quite beneficial against stress, tension and inflammation. The ageing of a person stops if these factors are taken out. The circulatory system of the body is improved as a result of lavender tea. The oxygen flow and the nutrients which are provided to the cells of the skin increase in number through the use of lavender oil. Wrinkles and lines which are formed on the skin and are a sign of ageing are significantly reduced by the use of lavender oil. You can either use lavender oil in tea form or you can use lavender oil for reducing the wrinkles on the skin. Take egg white and in it, put 3 drops of lavender oil if you want to use lavender oil for skin treatment. Thoroughly mix the two. Now apply this mixture on your face and wash it after about 15 to 20 minutes. You should apply it at least two to three times daily for a week to see some good results.

Beneficial against burns and scars

There are antiseptic and ant-inflammatory properties present in lavender. Lavender is quite beneficial against the different scars produced on the skin due to this reason. New cells are formed on the skin due to lavender oil which results in the reduction of burns and scars on the skin. Pain is also reduced due to the use of lavender oil because of its antiseptic actions. You have the choice to either drink lavender tea or use lavender oil to get the benefits. Add a few drops of lavender oil in a bowl of water if you want to use lavender oil. Now put the affected area in the water for some time. You can also put lavender oil directly on the bruised area and then put the bruised area in water for about 15 minutes. Serious burns can be treated by lavender oil if such treatment is previously approved by your physician. In case of severe burns you should always see your doctr.

Sore feet and hands

Lavender can also be used for the treatment of tired and sore hands. Drinking lavender tea is a good option but you can also use lavender oil. Add a few drops of lavender oil in a bowl of water to use lavender oil for the treatment of sore feet and hands. Now put your hands inside water for the next ten minutes. Lavender lotion can also be used for this purpose.

Stopping the bleeding

You might be surprised to know that lavender tea is quite beneficial for stopping the bleeding in the body. Lavender oil can also be used to kill pathogens and bacteria and to end the bleeding. You can use lavender oil particularly when your nose is bleeding. Take a tissue if your nose is bleeding badly and add a few drops of lavender oil on to it. Now put the tissue near your nose until the time when bleeding stops altogether.

Side effects of lavender tea

The previous section has mentioned the major benefits of lavender tea. But the question that arises now is that does lavender tea have any side effects. The side effects of lavender tea are very important to know because they will give you a better understanding of lavender tea. Some possible side effects of lavender tea have been mentioned below:

Breast growth in males

One of the major side effect of lavender is that its excessive use can lead to breast growth in young boys. A study was recently published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The study was basically done to find the effects of lavender on a rare condition which results in the growth of breast of young boys known as prepubertal gynecomastia (6). The research was conducted in National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. The researchers in the study found out that one of the main causes of prepubertal gynecomastia is the excessive of lavender tea and the lavender containing products. But the researchers didn’t give a find word and said that more research is still needed to confirm it. But still the doctors said in the conclusion of the research that boys who actively use the lavender oil containing products are more prone to prepubertal gynecomastia.

Allergic reactions

Lavender oil can sometimes cause allergies and cross-sensitivity just like the use of other essential oils. You might be new to the term ‘cross sensitivity’. Cross sensitivity means that if you are allergic to some herb, you might also be allergic to other herbs of similar characteristics. One of the allergic reactions which can be caused by lavender tea is contact sensitivity. Cross sensitivity can happen after a person is exposed to the chemical for the first time. Contact sensitivity is caused when the chemicals in the essential oil enter the immune system of the body. The seriousness of the effect of lavender on immune system can change according to the exposure. Generally, more skin reactions are caused if the essential oil is old.

Interaction with other drugs

Lavender tea can some serious problems due to its interaction with other drugs. Lavender oil can interact with a number of medicines. Some medications with which lavender can interact and have some serious side effects are Cloral hydrate, anti-depressants and barbituates. As you read in the benefits of lavender tea that it can cause relaxation. This relaxation is good to an extent. Taking too much lavender tea can make you sleepy and drowsy most of the time. Sleepiness is also caused when lavender tea is taken along with sedation medications.

Other side effects

Now let us look at some other side effects of lavender tea. Some of the other major side effects caused lavender tea include headache, vomiting, chills, and irritation in the skin. You need to stop taking these medications if you observe any of these symptoms and consult a doctor right away.

Conclusion

As you can see lavender tea has lots of benefits. The most important positive effects are improvement of symptoms of indigestion, insomnia, convulsions and migraine. Essential oils contained in lavender tea also help to reduce wrinkles and have body relaxing effects. On the other hand one should be very careful when drinking lavender tea or using lavender oils as there is a risk of allergic reaction and/or interactions with your medication. You should always consult your physician and ask him or her for permission to drink or use any lavender based products. If you drink lavender tea with moderation you it may have a positive effect on your overall health.

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Written by: Michal Vilímovský (EN)
Education: Medical student, 3rd Faculty of Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic
Article resources: See numbered references within the article.
Image resources: Dollarphotoclub.com
Published: June 10, 2015 12:30 AM
Next scheduled update: June 10, 2017 12:30 AM
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