While most people think of this herb as merely a floral scent for bath salts or bed linens, this plant has powerful antiviral properties. The list of volatile oils within lavender’s flower buds includes linalool, which is particularly helpful in preventing the flu. Because flu viruses have viral envelopes, which help them enter host cells, they are sensitive to the monoterpene alcohols prevalent in lavender’s family.
Twenty-first-century use of this herb focuses on lavender’s sedative qualities. Lavender essential oil is popular as a calming agent for the entire nervous system. As the volatile oils are absorbed through the skin or sinuses, the nerves send messages throughout the body to relax the muscles, easing headaches, nervous stomachs and muscle cramps.
In an increasingly tense world, lavender is a welcome companion. It offers a much needed tonic for mind and body.
Author Sue Sierralupe is certified as a master gardener, sustainable landscape educator and medical herbalist in Eugene, Oregon.