HEALTH BENEFITS OF THE LAVENDER AND HIBISCUS FLOWERS
Flowers are the main beauty of nature, their radiance and beauty alone can light up a gloomy face. Lavender is a purple-petaled flower known for its herbal nature. It blossoms in northern parts of Africa, Arabian Peninsula, Russia and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean.
This flower is sometimes grown for the production of its essential oils, which comes from processing the flower spikes of certain lavender species.
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The lavender oil has cosmetic uses and is also medicinal. Asides its beauty, the lavender essential oil is toxic when swallowed. Lavender flower is used in aromatherapy, production of baked goods, detergents, massage oils, jellies, tea etc.
The most common specie used is the English lavender (l.augustifolia.) many find lavender aromatherapy to be of relaxing effect and has been reported to have anxiolytic effects in several small methodologically flawed trials. Lavender aromatherapy is sometimes used for hypnosis, although there is insufficient evidence to back up this usage.
Lavender flower is rich in volatile oils and has been known for centuries for its use in producing medicinal herbs. Its flowers were commonly placed underneath pillows for its alleged opiate effect.
Lavender oil as earlier said could be poisonous to the human nervous system, except when consumed in foods and beverages. Lavender species have unique chemical constituents, and its flowers are mostly the parts used medicinally. However, precautions should be exercised in patients With known allergies or high sensitivity to the flower.
Persons with allergies\reactions to the flower may experience mild local skin reactions after topical use of lavender essential oil. Despite the use of this flower to induce sleep, precautions should be taken while using it, because the result is not always positive; for most individuals, certain skin reactions are usually noticed after its use to induce sleep. Its sedative effect is also known to be effective in animals e.g. rat.
Lavender is also known for its use in treating health issues. Some of the health benefits of the lavender flower include:
- Treatment of premenstrual emotional symptoms: Research reports have recorded that lavender can help to alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms. Many women in their reproductive stage experience a range of symptoms in the premenstrual phase is commonly known as ‘’ premenstrual syndrome ‘’ (PMS). Universally no effective treatment has been recognized, as a result, most women turn to the use of lavender which is known to be effective in treating PMS.
- Anxiety: silexan is a lavender oil preparation available in 80mg gelatin capsules which is known to be effective in the treatment of anxiety disorders. A study conducted by kritsidima noted that dental anxiety levels of 340 adult Patients during their wait in the dentist waiting room, half of them were exposed to lavender scent and investigators noticed a drop in those dental anxiety levels.
- Hair loss: Lavender is effectively used in the treatment of alopecia areata, a condition whereby the hair of a person is lost at some or all areas of the body. Studies have shown that its use can promote hair growth after 7-month treatment.
- Wound-healing: Studies show that lavender has an acceleratory effect on wound healing.
- Fungal infections: lavender oil could be effective in the treatment of antifungal-resistant infections. The oil was found to have lethal effects on strains that can cause disease in the skin. In these studies, the essential oils distilled from the Lavandula genus of the lavender plant seemed to be effective in destroying the membranes of fungal cells.
Lavender oil is also believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Studies also suggest that lavender tea helps in the treatment of digestive issues, such as intestinal gas, stomach upset, vomiting, etc.
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Hibiscus is a genus flowering plant belonging to the mallow family- Malvaceae. This genus is quite large, constituting of several hundred species that are native to warm-temperate, tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world. Although it originated from North America and Southeast Asia.
The hibiscus blossom is known for its large colourful flowers. These blossoms can be used in the decoration of homes and gardens. Hibiscus flowers come in different colours; red, yellow, white or even peach colour and can be as big as 6 inches wide. The popular species of the hibiscus flower is the “Hibiscus sabdariffa “.
The red coloured flowers of this species are mostly cultivated for its medicinal value and are available as dietary supplements. The hibiscus blossom is equally known for its medicinal value. The hibiscus flower can be made into a tea and other liquid extracts that are used in different conditions.
The hibiscus tea also called sour tea as a result of its tart taste is produced from a mixture of dried hibiscus flower leaves and dark red calyces. After the flower has blossomed, the petals fall off and the calyces turn into pods. These pods hold plant seeds. The calyces are often the main ingredients in hibiscus herbal drinks.
Egyptians use the tea to lower body temperature, treat heart diseases nerve diseases and act as a diuretic to increase urine production. Below are some of the other health benefits of hibiscus flower:
- Treatment of cancer: hibiscus can be used for the treatment of cancerous growth. Studies in this area is not substantial but some other research suggests that anthocyanin may hold the key to hibiscus’ anticancer properties.
- It has an effect on metabolism, treatment of fat buildup in the liver, prevents obesity, and aids weight loss.
- Reducing High BP (blood pressure): the hibiscus tea and flower can be used in the treatment of high blood pressure and cholesterol level. However, more research still needs to be carried out and if developed into a theory could be good news for future treatment of heart diseases.
- Nutrition: The hibiscus tea is a natural calorie and caffeine-free and could use a bit of honey or sweetener and these substances contain calories and carbohydrates good for body nutrition.
The above listed are some of the health benefits of the hibiscus flower. However some other its health benefits are not yet fully confirmed and require more extensive research to back them up to authorize their full usage worldwide.