I am a big believer in natural remedies, and aromatherapy uses natural oils derived from plant extracts rather than synthetic chemicals used in many pharmaceutical products. Essential oils are affordable and accessible to everyone and are a great addition to your medicine cabinet as well as aiding your general health and well-being.
Lavender is the most versatile essential oil. It’s a calming fragrance known for its ability to relax and promote restful sleep. Its rejuvenating and soothing effects make it an effective skin treatment and a good skin healer.
The benefits of lavender were actually discovered over 2,500 years ago. The ancient Greeks, Persians and Romans burned Lavender in rooms where people were sick. The word Lavender is derived from the from the Latin word Lavera, “to wash” because the Romans used the flowers in their baths.
The Egyptians used lavender for mummification and as a perfume. In fact, when King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1923, there was said to be a faint scent of lavender that could still be detected after 3,000 years.
Today, lavender is grown in many countries. Although considered a modern therapy, the use of essential oils in healing began in the 1930s. Even then lavender was at the forefront of healing. When French chemist René Maurice Gattefosse coined the term aromatherapy, it was as a result of his fascination with the benefits of lavender oil in healing his burned hand without leaving any scars.
Carrying a bottle of Lavender essential oil with you is like having your own personal first-aid kit, perfume and pick me up. Here are just some of its uses:
Lavender oil has a softening and conditioning effect on the skin. Try adding it to creams, base oils and baths to soothe dry and irritated skin conditions. Its healing effects and anti-oxidant properties can ease acne, eczema, rosacea, psoriasis and reduce scarring.
Mix several drops of Lavender oil with a nut or vegetable mixing oil (coconut, sesame, etc.) and use topically on eczema and dermatitis.
For dry, flaky skin, blend with germanium and chamomile roman, mix with a carrier oil such as almond oil and massage into the affected area.
Nerves and anxiety
Anxiety is a normal part of being human and serves to protect us from potential danger, but sometimes, for whatever reason, anxiety fills us with unease. Lavender has a calming scent, and this makes it an excellent oil for someone who is nervous or suffers from anxiety issues.
It mixes well with Bergamot and Clary sage for physical tension, or with Bergamot and Geranium for apprehension and worry.
Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped palms, then use the inhalation method to draw the scent all the way into your amygdala gland (the emotional warehouse) in your brain to calm the mind. Then, rub on the feet, temples, wrists (or anywhere) for an immediate calming effect on the body. Great for use in crowded areas like planes or subways to carve out your own personal oasis.
The profoundly relaxing scent of Lavender can induce sleep. It is a great alternative for treatment of insomnia, is more powerful than over the counter medication, and is a popular remedy for promoting restful sleep.
In a 2015 study, the women using Lavender oil showed a significant improvement in sleep quality when compared to the control group.
A simple method for trying to alleviate sleeplessness is to put a drop of Lavender essential oil onto a tissue and place it under your pillow (ensure it is somewhere that avoids direct contact with the eyes). Inhaling Lavender has been shown to reduce sleep disturbance, improve quality and duration of sleep, fight insomnia and improve overall well-being, without any of the unwanted side effects that come with most sedative drugs.
Heals Minor Wounds
Lavender essential oils can be used to soothe cuts and minor burns and speeds up the healing process. A study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine evaluated how Lavender’s anti-microbial ability is enhanced when blended with other essential oils like clove, cinnamon and tea tree oil.
It also has anti-inflammatory and regenerative properties, making it useful for wounds and mouth ulcers. Applied neat, the oil makes an effective first-aid remedy for blisters, cuts, burns, bites and stings.
Drop Lavender oil on a cut to stop bleeding, clean the wound, and kill bacteria.
For minor burns, apply ice cold water for at least 10 minutes, then put 2 drops of undiluted lavender oil directly onto the affected area. Put 5 drops of lavender onto a dry, cool compress and cover the area. A word of warning: do not use carrier oils or butter on the skin, as this will keep the heat in and make the burn worse.
Lavender essential oil has a therapeutic effect on throat infections, cold and flu viruses, sinus congestion, and can even help alleviate asthma and bronchitis.
For coughs and colds, blend with eucalyptus oils and tea tree oil, and inhale using steam. Rub a drop of lavender oil between your palms and inhale deeply to help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.
As a Painkiller
Mild analgesic properties make lavender a useful treatment for headaches and migraine, as well as muscular and nerve pain. A study, published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine, found that a combination of lavender, marjoram, peppermint and black pepper essential oils improved neck pain when applied to the affected area daily.
As an anti-spasmodic, it eases menstrual cramps. Another recent study proved that lavender oil, when massaged into the skin, can help to relieve dysmenorrhea, which is associated with menstrual pain and cramping in the lower abdomen. The results of this study suggest that lavender oil can be used as a natural remedy for PMS and menstrual cramps.
In a European Neurology study, people struggling with migraine headaches saw a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled Lavender oil for 15 minutes.
For a general headache mix 3 drops of Lavender with 1 drop of peppermint and 1 drop of carrier oil and massage around the temples and base of the skull. For a tension headache, mix 3 drops of Lavender with 1 drop of Chamomile Roman and 1 drop of carrier oil and massage along the base of the skull.
“In all things in nature, there is something of the marvellous”
Purchase organic Lavender essential oil and related products here