There are 39 species of lavender, but the one known by the scientific name Lavandula officinalis is especially prized for its rich fragrance. It is commonly used to produce lavender essential oil, as well as other plant extracts and herbal remedies. The essential oil derived from Lavandula officinalis is a common herb remedy used for various purposes like treating burns, soothing skin irritations and facilitating sleep. In homeopathic medicine and other forms of alternative medicine, lavender is ascribed a wide variety of beneficial therapeutic properties. It is advisable to be cautious when using lavender, because it can cause allergic reactions in some people, although this is uncommon.
Infusions, oil, and dried flowers and leaves from Lavandula officinalis have been used as herbal remedies for centuries. Today, the plant is most commonly used in the form of lavender essential oil to treat a wide variety of conditions such as muscle aches, respiratory ailments, anxiety and insomnia. Current scientific research does not support all these medicinal uses, but lavender essential oil does have antiseptic properties, and some scientific evidence also suggests that it can help reduce anxiety and improve sleep.
As a home herbal remedy, lavender essential oil is recommended as a treatment for various skin problems because of its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, and can be used to treat eczema, psoriasis, ulcers, cuts and various kinds of burns. It is also used to treat respiratory conditions like bronchitis, flu and colds. Essential oil derived from Lavandula officinalis is also thought to have pain-relieving properties, and it can be massaged into the skin to relieve muscle and joint pain or applied to the temples to treat headaches.
The leaves, stems, flowers and seeds of Lavandula officinalis can also be steeped in boiling water to make an infusion of lavender. This infusion can be used to treat the pain and itching of insect bites or as an insect repellent. Infusion of lavender can also be used as a hair rinse to add shine or to get rid of lice. Another home herb remedy is to make an infusion from lavender flowers and drink it before bedtime to facilitate sleep.
Homeopathy is a specific form of alternative medicine. It uses special techniques to produce remedies of various kinds, including herbal remedies. Lavandula officinalis is sometimes used in homeopathic medicine, for example, to treat anxiety, sore throat, coughs and conditions related to the kidneys and urinary tract.