"If writers possess a common temperament, it's that they tend to be shy egomaniacs; publicity is the spotlight they suffer for the recognition they crave." Gail Caldwell, from her book "Let's Take The Long Way Around"

"To look life in the face, always to look life in the face and to know it for what it is. At last to know it, to love it for what it is, and then, to put it away. . .always the years. Always the love. Always the hours." From the movie "The Hours", based on the book of the same name by Michael Cunningham

"Do not read beauty magazines. They will only make you feel ugly." Baz Luhrman, "Everybody's Free (to wear sunscreen)"

"A writer can do nothing for men more necessary, satisfying, than just simply to reveal to them the infinite possibility of their own souls." Walt Whitman

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant or talented?’ Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williamson

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Lavandula For What Ails You

I was driving to work last week, a little absent-mindedly (my car knows the way) because I was thinking about my next homework assignment and how in the world was I going to bring science into my writing and craft it as expertly as Elizabeth, my writing teacher, does, when I found myself behind a car whose personalized license plate read JSTRLX – just relax.  Hm, that’s nice, I thought, and relevant to my life at this point.  Thanks, buddy, I silently replied, for the reminder.

I continued my drive and about 10 miles later as I was exiting the freeway, I came to a stop behind the same car!  JSTRLX.  Is someone sending me a message?  Is this divine intervention helping me with my writing assignment, because after seeing it the first time, I remembered the bit about the lavender fields in Victoria.

I have trouble sleeping.  I can’t seem to turn my brain off.  When I was at my doctor’s office last week, she suggested lavender oil to help calm down before bedtime.  I’m open to that, but at $50 a pop, it’s a little out of my price range (although if I added up my prescription co-pays, it would probably come out the same, now that I think about it.)

Aside from just smelling good, lavender, or lavandula if we’re going to use scientific names, has many uses.  It is an herb whose flowers and oils are used to calm restlessness, help with insomnia, nervousness and depression, and can generally improve mental well being.  Its other medicinal uses are for easing digestive complaints, migraine headaches, toothaches, sprains, nerve pain, sores, joint pain and can be used to ease agitation due to dementia.  It can also help with hair loss when applied to the skin and will repel mosquitos and other insects.  Of course, as an herbal remedy, it gets no support from the FDA.

Sign me up!  For the nervousness and depression alone, I’ll take it.  Perhaps that is why I felt so happy when I was riding in that upper deck of the bus through the lavender fields in Victoria.  Or maybe it was a sense of general peace and calm, like everything is going to be okay.  I should have fields of it in my yard, row upon row of lavender, so that when I eventually am able to open my bedroom window, the sleep-inducing aroma will lull me into pleasant dreams, like the characters in The Wizard of Oz who fall asleep in the poppy fields, but without the opiate affect and all the mess that comes with delving into the drug underworld.

I’m realizing that my doctor was really onto something with her $50 essential oil tincture (my mom, the herbalist will appreciate all this, especially when I use the word “tincture.”  She has a tincture for everything).  The next time I have a migraine, I will apply lavender oil to my upper lip – yes, upper, not lower, don’t know what happens if you put it on your lower lip – and voila!  I can save money by stopping my Imitrex prescription.  And my foot, where I think I may have tendinitis – certainly if lavender works for sprains, it must help tendinitis?  I can cancel my appointment to the podiatrist. 

I will rub my husband down with lavender oil to ease all his joint pain, his inflammation – how he will look forward to that, I think, knowing how much he despises lotions and anything greasy touching his skin.  And as for that bald spot on his head, surely he wouldn’t mind a scalp massage?

Ah, the time and money I can save just because there is lavandula.  However, it does also presumably cure loss of appetite, and that is one thing I prefer not to lose; or rather, I would like to gain a loss of appetite, as it would help with my current weight loss goals.  There’s always a trade-off, I suppose.

Oh, and if you are interested, lavender taken in pill form will also ease constipation.  Just sayin’.