Lavender Essential Oil <br/><em>Lavandula angustifolia</em>
Sweeping fields of vivid purple flowers cover the high plateaus and rolling hills of Provence, nature’s pretty picture that awaits every dawn with a sight and scent more beautiful than the last. This precious lavender flower is considered the “soul of Provence”, flavoring its cuisine, scenting its perfumes and providing the locals and tourists spectacular views.
Lavender actually is grown around the globe, in Africa and the Middle East, on California’s Central Coast, in Tasmania and in South Korea. Its presence permeates nearly every aspect of life, we even have a color named for the flower. We use culinary lavender to add a floral flavor to special dishes. We burn lavender candles to set a romantic or relaxed mood. We use it to calm ourselves, heal ourselves and love ourselves.
The History of Lavender
As widely used and adored as lavender is, it still retains a little mystery. The mystery begins with the origin of lavender. It either began in Persia or the Canary Islands, historians aren’t quite sure. There’s a little uncertainty with the origin of the name as well. Most people believe the name comes from the Latin “lavare” which means “to wash”. There’s a possibility, though, that it could have originated from the Latin word “livere”, which means “bluish”. Whether its root was “lavare” or “livere”, the name became “lavandre” in Old French, which eventually evolved to lavender in English. To twist a line from a famous play, a lavender by any other name would smell as sweet.
The Beauty and Strength of Lavender
- Pain Relief. Lavender aromatherapy can help reduce headache and migraine pain. In one recent study, migraine sufferers reported a notable reduction in pain after inhaling lavender oil for 15 minutes. It has also shown to be effective for pain relief for women after C-section surgery, patients in intensive care units, following breast biospy surgery and for a number of other painful situations and conditions.
- Reduced Skin Irritation. Lavender oil calms skin irritation caused by acne, cuts and scrapes, sores, cysts and insect bites. It also accelerates canker sore healing, prevents topical skin allergic reactions, reduces age spots and aids burns.
- Improved Circulation. Blood circulation is increased and blood pressure reduced with lavender oil massage and aromatherapy.
- Respiratory. Lavender oil helps respiratory conditions such as whooping cough, bronchitis, laryngitis, asthma and tonsillitis.
- Detoxifies. Lavender oil works as a diuretic, triggering urine production to eliminate toxins and fluid waste, ease swelling and bloating, balance hormones, avoid cystitis, and prevent other painful urinary conditions and infections.
- Anxiety and Depression. Lavender oil has shown promising results preventing neurological damage and supporting healthy brain function. Several studies demonstrate a wide variety of potential uses in easing mental health and neurological conditions, including anxiety, depression, Alzheimer’s Disease, migraines, insomnia, stress and postpartum depression.
- Skin Care. Lavender oil is an excellent home remedy for acne and other skin conditions such as psoriasis, eczema, fine lines and wrinkles.
- Moisturiser. Lavender helps hydrate dry skin and also benefits cuticles, rough feet and heels and elbows.
- Hair. Hair loss treatments often contain lavender oil, which is used for is lovely aroma as well as its hair re-growth benefits.
- Spiritual Peace. Adding lavender oil to diffuser during meditation can help promote a calmer, more enlightening meditation session, It is through this calmness that you can see your path to healing more clearly.
- Heart Chakra. Lavender oils helps you to peacefully balance your heart chakra, giving you the tranquility you need to find acceptance, forgiveness and love. It also helps you to acknowledge the transformations you need to make.
Pregnant and nursing women should avoid lavender oil, as should those who take any kind of sedative or medication for sleep disorders. Stop using lavender two weeks before surgery and don’t begin using it again until it is cleared by your physician; the oil may affect the central nervous system. Lavender is considered safe for children, but remember that the oil has a hormonal effect and should probably not be used with children approaching puberty.
- Botanical Name: Lavandula angustifolia
- Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled
- Plant Part Typically Used: Leaves and Flowers/Buds
- Color: Clear with a tinge of yellow
- Consistency: Thin
- Perfumery Note: Top/Middle
- Strength of Initial Aroma: Medium
- Aromatic Description: Floral, fresh, sweet, herbaceous and sometimes slightly fruity