Lavender is considered one of the most versatile and useful herbal plants. It’s been found in gardens across the world for centuries, and its fragrant scent brightens our cleaning, home, and body products in various soaps, shampoos, lotions, and cosmetics. Many of us also know lavender oil comes packed with health benefits, but did you know that drinking lavender tea provides many similar wellness advantages?
The health effects of lavandula angustifolia (the official plant name of lavender) are widely documented, and the range of potential mental and physical benefits just might surprise you. There are several ways to use lavender at home, like using the scent of lavender for aromatherapy or applying a lavender-infused topical to the skin. However, brewing lavender tea in a cup of hot water and drinking it may enhance certain effects of the plant.
You can use lavender tea to soothe upset stomachs or digestive issues. Lavender, when ingested orally or inhaled, can help reduce stomach acid, reduce bloating, and aid with digestive problems. It’s even been shown to reduce ulcers and prevent them from forming.
Lavender has long been considered a natural sedative that can not only improve sleep quality and duration, but also help us feel calmer and more relaxed before bed. As a natural anxiolytic, lavender is a good short-term alternative to sleeping pills when you’re having trouble falling asleep. Additionally, having a warm drink may help us reap these benefits even more, as tea in itself adjusts body temperature, improves mood, and calms our nerves.
Mood and Mental Health
Lavender lowers cortisol levels and reduces free radicals, which makes us feel more relaxed and less stressed while simultaneously alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression. It’s also been shown to help improve memory, cognitive performance, and overall brain function.
Lavender contains antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties, and can be helpful in treating sore muscles, aching joints, burns, and muscle spasms. It can also help relieve the pain of topical wounds and scrapes.
Lavender flowers are rich in antioxidants, nutrients, and antibacterial compounds that strengthen the immune system when incorporated into tea. These nutrients empower your body to readily defend itself against viruses or bacterial infections.
Lavender is known to have a distinct flavor that’s been described as “woody,” “earthy,” and “herbaceous.” As a member of the mint family, it can have a hint of similar sweet flavors to it, although some of the 47 lavender varieties are known to taste better than others. Cooks and mixologists frequently add lavender to cocktails and meals as a flavor enhancer, but as a standalone drink, is it tasty?
Ultimately, that will vary according to your personal tastes, but for those who enjoy floral, minty, and herbal teas, lavender will likely be a good fit.
Lavender Tea Recipes
It’s relatively easy to find lavender tea bags online or in grocery stores, as well as loose lavender tea sold dried and in bulk. You can also try harvesting fresh flower buds from your garden for instant use, or drying them for use outside of the growing season.
To make your own tea using lavender buds, add a small handful to a tea satchel and brew for 10 minutes (use about 2 teaspoons for every 8 ounces of water). Or, try mixing it with these flavors for more specific benefits:
There are few side effects of lavender tea, although drinking lavender essential oil directly may cause nausea and, if ingested in large amounts, can be poisonous. Use fresh or dried lavender buds in tea unless your oils are labeled as food grade, and check a product’s packaging for proper dosing. Additionally, pregnant women and young boys should avoid drinking lavender tea. Studies have shown that both lavender and tea tree oil contain endocrine-disrupting chemicals that, in rare cases, caused hormonal disruptions in both groups.
Before drinking a cup of lavender tea, it may be helpful to talk with your doctor about the potential of natural remedies like herbs or plant extracts. Finally, if you are sensitive to lavender scents, avoid drinking the tea or try it in very small amounts, or mix it with other tea flavors.