Lavender (Ilex paraguariensis) is a flowering plant native to tropical regions of South America. It grows up to 10 feet tall with slender stems and yellow flowers that are followed by white berries. Lavender’s aroma is described as being similar to geranium or chamomile but much stronger. Its flavor ranges from sweet to floral, spicy, herbal, earthy, and medicinal. It is used for its relaxing effects on the mind and body. Lavender oil is widely available in drug stores and health food stores. It contains many active ingredients including: linalool, eugenol, myrcene, nerolidol, pinocampol, lavandin and geraniol.
The leaves of the plant have been traditionally chewed or brewed into tea to relieve pain due to various conditions such as headaches, toothaches and muscle spasms. It is also known to help alleviate menstrual cramps.
Lavender tea is often used to treat coughs, colds and sore throats. Some claim it may even prevent cancer.
In addition to its use in traditional medicine, lavender oil has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, some studies suggest that it could reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancers when applied topically or taken internally.
How to Make Lavender Tea
Making lavender tea is a simple process that involves only a few basic ingredients.
You will need:
2 cups of boiling water
1 teabag or 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers
1 cup of cold water
Bring the 2 cups of water to a boil.
You may choose to use one teabag or 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers per each cup of water. One teabag or one teaspoon of dried lavender flowers per cup of water should produce a relatively mild tea.
For a stronger flavor, you may wish to use two bags or teaspoons of dried lavender flowers per each cup of water.
Add the boiling water and teabags or dried lavender flowers to a heat-proof container such as a teapot.
Allow the mixture to steep for 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture into a heat-proof container such as a teacup.
The tea may then be served hot or chilled. Add the cold water to the tea to lower the temperature.
Some people prefer to sweeten their lavender tea with honey or sugar. If you do so, add these ingredients before you add the cold water.
If desired, you may also choose to add milk when the tea has cooled to a temperature that is agreeable to you.
Add ice cubes before the cold water for a refreshing summertime treat.
The Beginner’s Guide to Using Lavender Tea
Lavender tea is well known for its ability to promote relaxation and relieve tension. It can be used on its own or in combination with other herbs for this purpose.
It can be taken any time of day but is especially beneficial before bedtime as it may help you to sleep.
Lavender tea may also be used to relieve headaches. The mechanism by which it relieves these conditions is not well understood but it is known to reduce inflammation and to possess anti-bacterial properties.
It may also help to relieve pain caused by osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
To relieve the symptoms of a headache, steep 1 teabag or 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in 1 cup of hot water. Allow the tea to cool before drinking.
To relieve menstrual cramps, steep 1 teabag or 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in 1 cup of hot water. Allow the tea to cool to a temperature that is comfortable for the taste buds.
Drink 3 times a day.
For relief of muscle pain, steep 1 teabag or 2 teaspoons of dried lavender flowers in 1 cup of hot water. Add the resulting tea to a bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Lavender oils are intended for external use only. When using lavender in combination with other herbs or supplements, be sure to follow all safety precautions provided by the manufacturer.
As with any supplement, if you intend to take lavender on a regular basis it is best to discuss your intentions with a medical professional. This is especially true if you are taking any other medications or if you have any ongoing medical condition.
A Word of Caution about Lavender
Lavender teas are generally considered to be safe for regular, long-term use. The only possible side effect is that they may sometimes cause vomiting if taken in excessive quantities.
Some people are allergic to lavender or experience an allergic reaction upon direct contact with the plant. Those with allergies are advised to avoid this herbal remedy as a precaution.
If you are pregnant or have a history of high blood pressure it is best to check with your physician before taking lavender.
If you are taking any other medications or have any ongoing medical condition it is important to consult with a medical professional before using any herbal remedy or supplement.
Sources & references used in this article:
Medicinal plants and dementia therapy: herbal hopes for brain aging? by E Perry, MJR Howes – CNS neuroscience & therapeutics, 2011 – Wiley Online Library
Biological activities of lavender essential oil by HMA Cavanagh, JM Wilkinson – Phytotherapy research, 2002 – Wiley Online Library
Plants used in cosmetics by T Aburjai, FM Natsheh – Phytotherapy Research: An …, 2003 – Wiley Online Library
Herbal teas and their health benefits: a scoping review by FS Poswal, G Russell, M Mackonochie… – Plant Foods for Human …, 2019 – Springer
The use of alternative medicine for the treatment of insomnia in the elderly by EP CHERNIACK – Psychogeriatrics, 2006 – Wiley Online Library