by Marina Hutchison
Today we’re talking about Lavandula Angustifolia, or lavender for us non-botanically trained folks . As one of the most recognised fragrances worldwide, lavender is also one of the most versatile and beneficial essential oils available. It’s chemical properties and soothing aroma make it one of the most popular and easiest to incorporate into any lifestyle. Beautiful and functional? Sounds good to me! Lavender is undoubtedly a magnificent plant and definitely one you’re going to want in your arsenal! With 40 currently known species and more than 400 varieties of this pretty purple powerhouse, it’s oils can often be more tailored to specific ailments because of the different chemical compounds each one possesses. Highly revered by the ancient Romans, it has a myriad of uses from medicinal remedies to personal care items, cooking, baking and even household cleaning products.
As mentioned in the previous blog, to get the essential oil. Lavender goes through a gentle process called “ steam stripping ” which passes steam around and through the dried tops of the plant in a still. So, basically, booze! Lavender vodka anyone?
As our sense of smell corresponds directly with our body’s nervous system, it’s no surprise inhalation is the most immediate way to experience the benefits of lavender oil. It has shown to have a calming effect which can aid in the treatment of anxiety, depression, insomnia and restlessness. Commonly used professionally and in the home to promote the feeling of relaxation, all on it’s own or blended with other essential oils to further improve mood and mental well-being.
Diffusing into the air, is always a treat and is still a popular and efficient way to soothe what ails you, however, lavender is one of the few oils that can be applied topically without dilution, so often applying directly to pressure points is recommended and allows the oil to absorb into your skin and work its magic that way too. Areas to consider applying include the temples, forehead, back of the neck and behind the ears. Massaging these points is especially effective if you suffer from headaches, migraines, nausea or motion sickness. The worst! It’s antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties make lavender an excellent aid for acne, eczema or reducing the appearance of sunspots. It promotes blood circulation which stimulates hair growth, so ladies put a couple of drops straight into your mascara and watch those lashes lengthen! Applying it directly to minor burns and bug bites is another great way to take advantage of its calming benefits.
How else could you use lavender oil? Diluting your lavender oil into a sugar scrub by mixing a few drops with a few tablespoons of sugar and a few tablespoons of coconut oil. (Play around with proportions until you get a consistency and scent strength you are happy with!) Lavender is antioxidant rich and anti-inflammatory making it perfect for any skin care regimen. You’ll be moisturized, gently exfoliated and come out of the shower or bath relaxed and ready for a yummy night’s sleep. You could also mix a few drops in with your favorite lotion if you have sore muscles as it aids in pain relief. Lavender oil stimulates cell regeneration as well and properly diluting it with water will allow it to help heal minor wounds.
This is really only the tip of the iceberg as far as the potential for lavender to improve your quality of life goes. Brighten up some summertime lemonade with a few drops of lavender oil and add in a few sprigs of the fresh stuff. Incorporate it into muffins, cakes or cookies for a slight floral note. Make a homemade pillow spray for a restful night’s sleep. Heck, simply growing the plant itself in your garden is beneficial. It looks pretty, smells pretty and has both pollen & nectar to feed those oh so important bees!
Is there anything in particular you’d like to see regarding this essential essential oil? Recipes for self-care products or food? How to blend it with other oils or how to make your own specific blends? Let us know and we’ll do our best to provide those resources for you!
*As with any new product, there may be potential for allergic reaction or skin irritation. It is a mild oil but not completely hypoallergenic, so test a small area of skin before using on a large scale.