While the world is still obsessing over the magical capabilities of coconut oil, there remains a forgotten hero: lavender. What should you use to help when you’ve been attacked by mosquitoes, or you’re feeling bloated from all the chips you’ve been eating, or when you can’t sleep? Lavender.

On my last trip to Maui, my family and I stopped at a lavender farm on our way down from visiting Haleakala mountain. The light purple flowers extended as far as the eye could see, blowing in the soft island breeze, and the air was filled with the beautiful scent of the flowers.

I was introduced to lavender tea, lavender scones, and a wide array of other lavender products. To be completely honest, before my lavender farm adventure, I had no idea lavender was edible, let alone contained so many health benefits.


Photo by Salva Barbera

Little did I know, lavender is high in polyphenols (a type of antioxidant) that works wonders in helping to reduce bloating, and phyonutrients (a plant-based compound) that promotes overall wellness.

When you’re feeling under the weather, lavender can help expand the airways and soothe your sore throat. It can also be used to relieve muscle soreness — try adding a few drops to a hot bath for a luxurious and relaxing retreat.

Perhaps the most surprising benefit of lavender is its anti-inflammatory properties. If you’re like me and mosquitoes attack you once the sun starts setting, lavender oils are here to rescue you.

Instead of putting more chemicals on your bites — in addition to the copious amounts of repellant you’ve already sprayed — try lavender extract to soothe the bites (and smell good while doing so).


Photo courtesy of wikimedia.org

One of the most popular aspects of the lavender plant is its smell, which has been proven to do more than please your senses. The scent of lavender has been shown to reduce heart rate and stress, thus making it easier to fall asleep.

I dry my sheets with lavender dryer bags from Trader Joe’s and have a lavender candle in my room to help me fall asleep on those nights when I’m stressing about an exam the next morning.

While it may not be a newly discovered and trendy superfood, lavender oil can be used in a wide variety of instances to naturally soothe many different ailments. Try using it in your baking endeavors, a cup of tea, or aromatherapy candles to lead a more stress-free, healthy life.