Ingredient Spotlight – Lavender Essential Oil

September 4, 2013

LavendarWhen you think of essential oils, Lavender probably comes to mind immediately. It is one of the most well known and most used essential oils today! And with good reason. It is incredibly versatile, effective, and it smells wonderful!

Lavender has been documented as a frequently used oil throughout history. Lavender was used by ancient Egyptians as well as Greeks and Romans. Egyptians employed the vapor from steamed lavender plants as incense and perfume. Lavender flower heads were used in the communal baths of Rome both as an antiseptic and as a soothing fragrance. Medieval European herbalists exploited lavender water to treat head lice. Many of our ancestors in the Middle Ages placed small bundles of dried lavender in laundry for a fresh smell and moth deterrent, and in their beds, the aroma treated insomnia while warding off bed bugs. Queen Elizabeth I reportedly drank lavender tea to treat her frequent migraine headaches.

What makes Lavender so special? Quite frankly, it is all of its therapeutic benefits. Ready for some “big words?” Here you go! The therapeutic properties of lavender oil are antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, nervine, rubefacient, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary.

Even if you don’t know what ¾ of those benefits are, trust me when I say that Lavender essential oil is a huge powerhouse and something that should be in every home!

So let’s get down to the business of how useful Lavender essential oil really is! Below you will find information on 23 ways in which using Lavender essential oil can benefit you! Ready? Let’s do this!

Immunity – Routine use of lavender oil is thought by some to boost your resistance to diseases.

Headaches and migraines – Lavender essential oil has a calming aroma which makes it an excellent nerve tonic thus aiding in the treatment of headaches and migraines.

Insomnia – Lavender essential oil is ideal for those who have trouble falling or staying asleep as it improves the length and quality of sleep.

Anxiety and depression – It is an excellent tonic for the nervous system. It’s known to remove nervous exhaustion and restlessness while increasing mental activity and relaxation. Lavender works so well for this that you should take care not to drive or do other jobs which require heavy concentration for a while after using it. You may become too relaxed to react quickly to problems.

Calming aid – Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your cupped palms, then use the inhalation method (see below) 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.

Digestive issues – Lavender soothes the lining of the digestive tract and increases the mobility of the intestine. In addition to this, lavender stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile and thus aids in treating indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhea.

Urinary Problems – Lavender oil stimulates urine production, helping restore hormonal balance and reducing cystitis or inflammation of the bladder and it’s associated cramping.

Respiratory Disorders – The ancient Greeks first used lavender for respiratory and throat problems. To help sooth colds, coughs, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and even tonsillitis, diffuse lavender oil or add it to a vaporizer while applying it to your neck, chest, and back.

Blood Circulation – A regular lavender oil body massage has worked wonders in some individuals to lower high blood pressure. And lavender oil massages on the abdomen may also sooth menstrual cramping.

Nausea or motion sickness – To alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, place a drop of Lavender oil on the end of tongue, behind the ears, or around the navel.

Pain relief – Congestion in bodily tissues due to injury, overuse, or joint problems causes pain and sometimes swelling, but lavender oil’s anti-inflammatory qualities might help to relax and relieve sore, tense muscles, sprains, backache, and general joint pain. A regular massage with Lavender essential oil provides relief from pain in the joints as well as pains caused by sore muscles, tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago.

Skin Care – Antiseptic, antifungal ,properties make lavender oil a fragrant way to treat acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other skin disorders. You can rub it on straight, without diluting or add it to a healthful carrier like coconut, grape seed, or olive oil to spread it more easily.

Bee sting / Insect bite – Stops the itch and reduces swelling.

Minor burn – Put 2-3 drops of Lavender oil on a minor burn to decrease pain. It also helps prevent swelling and redness at the site.

Cuts/Wounds – Due to its powerful antiseptic properties, Lavender essential oil can increase cell growth and aid in the formation of scar tissue. Drop Lavender oil on cuts to stop bleeding, clean the wound, and kill bacteria.

Dry, chapped, or sunburned skin and lips – All heal more rapidly when treated with lavender oil because it promotes quick regeneration of skin cells and scar tissue. A famous story about lavender oil’s use on burns tells of French scientist Rene Gattefosse, whose lab experiment exploded, severely burning his arm. He had a vat of lavender oil at hand and plunged his charred limb into the solution. Doctors were astounded at how quickly the injury healed and without the usual complicating infections!

Cold sores – Put a drop of lavender oil on a cold sore and let its antiviral and antiseptic properties stop the herpes virus in its tracks.

Head Lice – Lavender oil is a fragrantly effective way to get rid of head lice. To overcome a serious infestation, coat hair and scalp with full-fat mayonnaise to smother as many lice as possible. Then add a few drops of lavender oil to your shampoo and wash well. It may take a couple of washings to get rid of the mayonnaise greasiness. After washing, massage lavender oil into the scalp and hair shafts. Once your hair is dry, have someone check it under a bright light or in sunlight to remove any nits still stuck onto the shafts of hair. You can repeat the treatment as often as necessary since lavender oil is non-toxic.

Nosebleed – To stop a nosebleed, put a drop of lavender oil on a tissue and wrap it around a small chip of ice. Push the tissue covered ice chip up under the middle of the top lip to the base of the nose and hold as long as comfortable or until the bleeding stops (do not freeze the lip or gum).

Seasonal allergies – Rub a drop of lavender oil between your palms and inhale deeply to help alleviate the symptoms of hay fever.

Feminine Disorders – For those who suffer from leucorrhea (a recurring, whitish discharge from the vagina) lavender oil is a gentle way to address this problem. Add lavender oil to your bath or use a drop or two in a squirt bottle of warm water consistently sprayed on the genital area after using the toilet.

Stressed out, overstimulated and overtired babies benefit amazingly from a lavender oil massage (a drop of lavender oil on their blankie or teddy bear isn’t a bad idea, either).

Insect Control – Mosquitoes, moths, bedbugs, and such do not like the smell of lavender. Diffuse lavender oil near the pantry or place cotton balls soaked with a few drops of lavender oil in there instead.

Aside from methods included above, here are the various ways you can use and benefit from lavender essential oil:

Bath – add 6-8 drops Lavender essential oil into your warm bath water and vigorously agitate water.

Diffusing – there are three ways in which to diffuse lavender essential oil.

• Tissue diffusion is as simple as placing 3-4 drops of essential oil on a tissue. Place the tissue near you. As movement occurs in the room the aroma will waft through the air.
• Steam Diffusion – Boil 2 cups of water. Pour the water into a bowl and add up to 10 drops of the essential oil to the water. The steam will heat the oils and cause them to evaporate quickly into the room.
• Candle Diffusion – Light a pure soy candle and allow it to burn for about 5 minutes. Extinguish the candle, place 1 drop of essential oil in the melted wax (not on the wick!) and then relight the candle. Essential oils are highly flammable, so great care must be used.
• There are also many commercial diffusers on the market all of which have distinct advantages and disadvantages. If you prefer to use a facny diffuser be sure to do your research to make sure it will work best for your situation.

Inhalation Method – place a few drops of Lavender oil in the palm of one hand. Rub your hands together. Cup your hands over your face, making sure to not get any of the oil in your eyes. Inhale deeply three to five times. You can also just take the cap off a bottle of the oil and take a few quick whiffs from the bottle. You can also take a drop of the oil and place it under your nose. That way, you get some of the benefits of direct inhalation for possibly an hour or more — but in a less-concentrated way.

Room Spray – add a few drops of Lavender oil to distilled water and swirl it around. Pour into a spray bottle and squirt it in the room you will be in. Works great as a bed linen spray as well.

Massage – add 10 drops of Lavender essential oil to ¼ cup of carrier oil (I like coconut oil) and use it on a targeted area or for a whole body massage.

Compress – in a bowl of cool water (about 8oz), add 6-8 drops Lavender essential oil and gently swirl to mix. Soak a cloth then squeeze out the excess water and apply. Great for headaches, tired eyes (too much screen time) or to rejuvenate the skin on your face!

In cooking
– add one or two drops of lavender essential oil to any recipe you want to enhance. It works great in water or tea, brownies, bars, cookies, dessert recipes, raw chocolate, or salad dressings.

Now it is your turn to share! What do YOU use Lavender essential oil for?

 

Photo Credit: www.freedigitalphotos.net

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