Lavender is part of the Lamiaceae (Mint) family, indigenous to Europe, Asia, and Africa, and is a much-loved shrub for its fragrance and importance in pollination and the making of honey.
The most widely cultivated type is Lavandula angustifolia (formerly officinalis), grown mostly for its essential oil, a mixture of naturally occurring substances like linalool and its ester, linalyl acetate. The oil is renowned for the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of its therapeutic-grade extracts. No lady should go without this all-in-one first-aid kit.
- Heals skin conditions and eases discomfort. It is traditionally used in the treatment of skin irritation, acne, blemishes, burns, dryness, cuts, bruising, insect bites, chapped skin, eczema, dermatitis, sunburns, scarring, candidiasis and other fungal skin conditions, shingles irritations, scabies infections, and more.
- Soothes respiratory tract conditions, coughs and sore throats, it relieves bronchitis and asthmatic allergies1, and it can alleviate some of the back and chest pain when rubbed on the skin.
- Relieves pain caused by surgery or invasive medical procedures 2,3,4.
- Reduces stress and anxiety5, and improves self-esteem. It also reduces agitation and irritability when used alongside conventional treatments in the case of some elderly patients with dementia in a 2002 study and Alzheimer’s disease7.
- It has positive effects on insomnia and depression.
- Reduces hair loss and promotes hair growth in patients with alopecia (baldness)8.
- Can be used to relieve headaches. See our post for recipes.
How to Use:
- To apply externally, massage it gently into your skin in a circular motion.
- For small, localized wounds, outbreaks and scars, apply the oil to the skin using a cotton ball or q-tip. For dry areas (chaps, cold sores), soak the cotton ball in water, first.
- If you have insomnia, sprinkle a few drops of lavender essential oil in bathwater or spray on the linens and pillow.
- Inhaling lavender essential oil is used against dizziness, morning sickness and vertigo by sprinkling some drops on a cotton ball.
- Use a diffuser to release lavender essential oil for you even while you sleep.
- All good food is made with love, but brilliant dishes are made with lavender.
- It keeps pesky pests at bay, so keep some in your wardrobes and cabinets.
- Adding a drop to a mild shampoo will make tangle-prone hair more manageable.
- A quick gargle with lavender essential oil solution will heal a sore throat.
- Soaking your feet in a solution of lavender essential oil will keep them fresh and perky.
- Lavender essential oil is brilliant on its own, but it’s even better if blended with other oils.
- It’s great for household cleaning, too!
How to Identify Good Lavender Essential Oil:
Most essential oils oil producers are not regulated like drug manufacturers. Therefore, it is very important to find reputable sources for your essential oils. Here are a few things you should know:
- Look for Lavandula angustifolia,the Latin botanic name, on the label. The label should state ‘100% essential oil’ or ‘neat’, not ‘fragrance oil’, ‘perfume oil’, or ‘nature identical’.
- Look for the country of origin, and try to buy organically grown lavender oil.
- Check if the smell is what you expect it to be.
- When it comes to price, less is not more. The finer the oil and the harder to extract it, the more expensive it is.
If stored in a dark-colored glass bottle, away from sunlight and temperature variations to prevent oxidation, it may be used safely for up to 5 years or more.
Should be administered prudently, and should never be applied externally or ingested if it is not diluted.
Pregnant and nursing women should use caution and consult a healthcare professional. It is flammable and should be kept away from sources of fire.