Medicine. Ritual. Beauty. For thousands of years, essential oils have been extolled for their efficacy, subtlety, strength and potency. References appear in Egyptian hieroglyphics, Chinese manuscripts and the Holy Bible. There hasn’t been a time or culture without benefit or healing from fragrant essences.
Of all the essential oils, lavender is probably the most adaptable and most often used. While native to rocky slopes surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, the lavender plant was known throughout the ancient world and cultivated for centuries in France. Its scent is fresh, floral, sweet, light, fruity, then becoming a bit herbaceous and woody but always sweet and clean. The most cultivated variety is Lavandula augustifolia or English Lavender. French Lavender, Lavandula dentata, has leaves that are more gray and is a little less sweetly fragrant. Both are used medicinally and cosmetically.
Functional Healing Properties of Lavender Oil:
How do we benefit from lavender oil’s healing properties?
Lavender essential oil will:
- Heal burns and wounds
- Alleviate headache
- Calm emotions and reduce anxiety
- Improve sleep
- Restore luster to the skin and complexion
- Clear acne
- Soothe dryness and pain of eczema and psoriasis
- Stimulate antioxidant production
- Calm the stomach. Relieve epigastric pain, abdominal gas & bloating.
- Alleviate motion sickness and morning sickness
Studies have shown that lavender oil can:
- Treat alopecia areata (hair loss). Massaging into scalp promotes hair regrowth.
- Reduce agitation related to dementia
- Benefit patients post-surgically for pain control. Aromatherapy changed patients’ perception of pain and need for analgesics.
You’ve heard the term ‘free radical’. Right? It means toxins and chemicals and pollutants that shut down the immune system, wreaking havoc with the delicate balance our bodies must maintain in order to be disease-free. The antidote to free radicals is the production of antioxidant enzymes. Our bodies will do that naturally in a state of health. In a state of overload (of free radicals) however, our bodies will be burdened and deficient. Lavender essential oil stimulates and assists the production of three powerful antioxidants: glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase - all of which work hard to prevent free radical damage.
Recent research in psychiatry and in phytomedicine has shown lavender oil’s ability to reduce and protect against neurological damage. Studies have been done testing insomnia and sleep disturbances, depression and anxiety, PTSD, postnatal depression, dementia, stress relief and mood disorders. Lavender oil aromatherapy, topical applications and encapsulated internal dosings, prove effective in symptom reduction and relief. Sleeping soundly. Calmness of moods. Cognitive improvements. Lavender oil works significantly and without side effects.
Burns, sunburns, scrapes, cuts, wounds, eczema, fungal infections – lavender essential oil can benefit and heal. For the more serious of these (burns, wounds, eczema) mix lavender oil with coconut, avocado or almond oil in a 1:5 ratio and apply topically. Sunburn? Small cut or scrape? Mix 10 drops into an ounce of aloe vera gel or coconut/avocado/almond oil and apply. For beautiful skin, for wrinkle or age spot reduction, combine with frankincense or helicrysum essential oils. The possible uses and combinations are extensive.
Although lavender essential oil is essentially completely safe for everyone, there are precautions. First of all, as with any pure and high quality essential oil, it is best to dilute before applying directly to skin. Skin sensitivity cannot be pre-determined and can be great if oils are applied full strength. Lavender oil is calming and sedating. It might not be advisable to combine with sleeping medications. It is possible that it should be avoided pre-surgery if you are undergoing anesthesia. Children should not be applying any essential oils by themselves and without supervision or taking them internally. Essential oils are flammable. Essential oils should be stored only in dark glass; never in plastic. They should be kept away from heat sources, sunlight and eyes.
The sweet fragrance, the calmness, the healing resource that is lavender essential oil. Offering us cosmetic and medicinal blessings and benefits. Lavender oil is not strictly an ‘emergency first aid’ remedy or necessity but it is just the thing to add ‘a little extra’ to the first aid kit for soothing ruffled feathers and emotions while taking care of some of the lesser and minor emergencies that come our way.