Lavender Essential Oil

by Socha on January 26, 2012

lavender

Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) is a perennial bushy shrub with silvery grey or green spiky leaves and blue or purple flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean and flourishes all over Europe.

It is without doubt, the most versatile of all the essential oils and has been in continuous use for thousands of years.

The name is derived from the Latin word ‘lavera’ meaning ‘to wash.’ This is probably because it was used to cleanse wounds. Although, it was also used for personal bathing by the Romans, who introduced it to Britain and other northern European countries.

Lavender is one of the safest oils there is and can be used with great success to soothe and calm babies and children. One or two drops, mixed with carrier oil in a bath can soothe a fractious baby. Alternatively, a couple of drops on pyjamas will help with sleep resistant children!

It is extracted by steam distillation of the flowering tops of the plant. It has clean, fresh floral top notes with herbaceous undertones. Its scent is instantly recognisable. It is classified as a middle note, but is a good anchor for other, lighter top note oils.

lavender

Lavender has such a wide range of therapeutic properties, these include;  antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary.

This is a long list, so I have broken these down into what I think are the best uses for Lavender:

For the Mind:

  • It has a calming and balancing effect on the mind and emotions
  • It has great anti depressant and anti anxiety properties

For the Body:

  • Lavender is a calming soothing and above all balancing oil
  • Commonly used for insomnia
  • Gives relief from headaches
  • Good for treating colds, coughs and sinus problems
  • Valuable skin care properties and can be used neat on minor burns to assist quick healing and offer some pain relief
  • Good for easing muscular or joint pain
  • Is a heart tonic and sedative, so can be valuable for treating palpitations and high blood pressure
  • Safe to use on children in low dilutions with advice from practitioner

Here are some ways you can use Lavender essential oil at home:

Massage oil – Blend it with a carrier oil for massage or use a few drops in the bath for:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headache and migraine
  • Skin conditions
  • Cold and flu
  • Respiratory discomfort
  • Muscle aches
  • Soothing babies and children

You can also use a few drops in warm water to wash over wounds and help healing without scarring.

Oil Burner – Add a few drops to some water and burn around the house to help with:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Headaches and migraine
  • Respiratory discomfort
  • Soothing babies and children

Cream or alcohol base – add a few drops to a cream base or alcohol base to use for skin conditions, where oil is not appropriate for:

  • Skin toner
  • Eczema
  • Can be used neat on burns

 

Some cautions to keep in mind:

As with all essential oils, I recommend that you don’t use them when pregnant without consulting a qualified practitioner – although very good for use during labour.

Lavender is one of the few oils which can be applied directly to the skin in small amounts e.g. directly onto a small burn

 

 

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