Lavender essential oil is one of the most recognizable essential oils around. With hundreds of varieties grown, these fragrances vary from strong camphoraceous (granny-like) to fine fruit notes that are used in top end perfumery.
Predating the Bible, washing of clothes and bedding was always done down by the river. After washing, the fabrics were thrown over lavender bushes to let the sun dry them quicker, but also keep the clean fabrics out of the mud. It was noticed that, not only did the fabrics smell nicer, but they were also more insect resistant when back in the house. It’s thought to be the origin of the words “lavande” meaning to wash and also “laundry”.
France was always the main producer of lavender due to the climate and demand from the perfume industry in Grasse. However, Bulgarian farmers are increasingly producing some good quality lavender as well.
Which is the best Lavender Essential Oil
The best lavender oil depends on what you want to use it for and also comes down to personal taste. When the lavender is grown at a high altitude of above 1500 meters, the plant develops more esters as it grows. Esters are what give a much more fruity element to the oil and am more complex and less camphoraceous fragrance. High altitude lavenders will be labelled as such or “fine”. For me, it is the type I prefer because it also works more in the esoteric realms of aromatherapy. I have found that high altitude Lavender Essential Oil benefits appear on a more mental level, which helps with so many more therapeutic issues. Essential Oils and emotions are an important part of good naturopathic practice.
However, using such a fine, elegant oil is a bit of a waste if you are making soap. The saponification process of cold process soap making means that some of these elements are lost. However, other Lavender varieties are very resilient and much more suited to soap making. Oils such as Spike Lavender and Lavender 40/42 give excellent fragrance retention and also add therapeutic value to the finished soap.
You will find that every aromatherapist has trained with Lavender Essential Oil and there is a powerful aspect of this oil that is hard to prove, but we all know that it happens. When you look at the chemical profile of the essential oil, Lavender can do so many things. With so many varieties of the plant, that is not surprising. However, many of the therapeutic actions of the oil can be done better by another essential oil. So why include Lavender? Because Lavender Essential Oil gives an excellent synergy to whatever it is blended with. The attributes of the other oils it is blended with are enhanced so that the sum of the blend is greater in effect than the individual oils used.
The first aromatherapy massage I ever received in my life was at an aromatherapy training school, and that massage blend included Lavender Oil. The particular blend has become one of my favorites and, when I have a massage, I will ask the masseur if they will use the blend I have brought with me. I tell them what is in it so that they can ensure it is OK for them as well. You can get that free recipe on another blog.
Lavender Essential Oil benefits for skin
It’s possibly best known for its reputation on burns on Gattefossé’s burn. The story is critiqued well by Robert Tisserand, but the fact remains that Lavender Essential Oil is very good for treating burns with research to back this up.
The oil is antibacterial and antifungals, which makes it an obvious choice to use in aromatherapy blends for acne, where it can also help improve acne pits and scarring.
For the same reasons, it is a great choice to put in foot creams and foot gels to stop athlete’s foot from taking hold.
It tones the skin and rejuvenates all skin types. This makes it a good base for so many products, but especially good in night creams, hand creams and massage products.
Lavender Essential Oil has a good deodorant effect so can be used in sports lotions and gels as well as foot powders. Blends it with some Spearmint Essential Oil to make it really refreshing and Cedarwood Essential Oil for an even stronger deodorant effect.
It helps with muscle aches and fatigue to some extent. Like I said earlier, it is a synergist, so blending it with an oil that is excellent for muscular aches and pains like Plai Essential Oil, the combination of the two oils makes a really powerful and effective sports rub.
Lavender Essential Oil benefits for hair
It’s got no specific action with the hair shaft itself, but it is immensely soothing to an itchy scalp. If you have eczema or psoriasis of the scalp or just have an itchy scalp for other reasons, think of adding some Lavender Oil to your shampoo and conditioner.
How to use essential oils to scent a room
An aromatherapy diffuser is the best way to fragrance your home. Oil burners can run dry or be knocked over by pets or children. An aromatherapy diffuser pulls the aromatherapy oils right out of the bottle by sonic vibration. This way, the Lavender Essential Oil is not damaged by heat. A good machine also has settings, so you can not only change the amount of oil being diffused, but also time it to come on and off over a period of time. That way, you get a gentle hint of fragrance all day long without being overpowered by it. They are usually USB charged and are safe as there are no naked flames. Even so, keep the unit out of reach of children, and please read safety warnings for the essential oil you are diffusing to make sure it is safe for anyone in the house as well as pets. This is a good one here;
If you want to do some meditation, blend it with Frankincense Essential Oil for a protective and grounding blend.
It is perhaps best known for its relaxing properties, as it is calming and helps to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t use too much though, as too much can actually be stimulating and keep you awake. Keep it subtle for best results.
Lavender Essential Oil chemical composition
As I have said, this will vary a lot, not only within different varieties of the plant but also with different harvest times from the same Lavender fields. The essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers of the fresh plant.
Typically, Lavandula Angustifolia contains a large amount of Linalool which is a monoterpenol and Linalyl Acetate which is an ester. Remember that I said it was the esters which gave the strong floral and fruity fragrance? Well, it is the esters which are antispasmodic, analgesic, sedative, balancing and anti-inflammatory.
The monoterpenols in the oil tend to be antispasmodic as well, and also antifungal. They have a very gentle effect on the skin and are suitable for long term use. They are known to strengthen the immune system and support the nervous system.
Esoteric Aspects and the 7 Chakras
Lavender Essential Oil resonates with;
2nd Chakra / Sacral Chakra – this is about expressing your emotions and sexuality
6th Chakra / Third Eye Chakra – this is about self learning apart from the physical world
7th Chakra / Crown Chakra, which gives clarity. It is meditative, purifying, expansive and grounding.
Generally speaking, essential oils should not be ingested, despite what this BBC article says. A reminder, as well, not to use aromatherapy oils undiluted. Always dilute them with a vegetable oil and use just a few drops to start with. Always read up first to check for contraindications and use safely.
Be careful using during pregnancy because, although it is generally regarded as safe, using too much could be over stimulating.
Essential oils should not be used internally except by a doctor qualified in such an area. A reminder, as well, not to use aromatherapy oils undiluted. Always dilute them with a vegetable oil and use just a few drops to start with. Always read up first to check for contraindications and use safely.
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