With its roots in the ancient herbalists, lavender's properties as a disinfectant and antiseptic were founded. Its healing qualities grew through the centuries, even gaining the reputation of warding off the plague. Lavender's popularity with the English royalty gave it a berth in the ranks of a cosmetic herb, and it was with Queen Victoria that lavender was recognized as a tonic for nerves.
With its history of healing properties, glorious colors and enchanting perfume, lavender has remained the most versatile of all herbs. Lavender has stepped out of its attachment to old fashion and has found a modern status in aromatherapy. With scientific research verifying its ancient uses, lavender is an essential component of any household first aid box. The essential oil is used on insect bites, burns, and blemishes.
The name of Lavender is a derivative of the Latin word 'lavare', meaning 'to wash', and was a bathing ritual herb in Roman times. It was said to ward off evil and was a flower and essence dedicated to the Goddess of Witches and Sorcerers. It is reported to invoke ecstasy and constancy in love.
Lavender is cultivated all over the world: Bulgaria, England, United States, Australia and France are historically known for producing the essential oil. Essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the fresh flowering tops.
Lavender is considered the premier of all perfume. 'Perfume' derives its name from the Greek meaning 'through smoke,' and in ancient times the perfumes were used as a fumigator agent. Lavandula angustifolia/officinalis grows at altitudes reaching the height of 5,000 feet. The officinalis, known as 'vera' affords a much smaller plant and the harvesting is more laborious. In a field ripe for harvest the plants resemble fattened velveteen porcupines with hues ranging from brilliant whites to shadings of violet and purple.
Lavender's aroma imprint is camphoric sweet and rich ~ with an herbaceous, floral heart and a soft balsamic-wood undertone. Its odor at evaporation is generally a low, middle note. Its effect is calming, refreshing, uplifting, expansive, soothing, purifying.
It is antibacterial, anti-convulsive, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, anti-toxic, antiviral, anticoagulant, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, Anti-Fungal, deodorant, decongestant, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactagogue, hypotensive, insecticidal, nervine, parasiticidal, rubefacient, restorative, sedative, sudorfic, tonic, vermifugal, and vulnerary.
Lavender is ideal for physical and emotional support. Lavender as a whole is an adaptable essence with a relationship to all Body Systems. It is nicknamed the ultimate 'first aid in a bottle' oil. Lavender produces an Anti-Allergic Essential oil, with an inherent antibiotic action. It is also an astringent as well as moisturizing to skin. It relieves aches, pains, and swelling from arthritis to injury to headache. Lavender also alleviates motion sickness.
Emotionally, lavender helps support a calm composure and self-expression. It reduces irritability, insomnia, nightmares, apprehension, panic attacks combined with uncontrollable shaking, stress, nervous tension, hysteria and is generally balancing to the psyche, as well as the body.
Research is proving that lavender is beneficial with regard to support for hyperglycemia, hypertension, indigestion, arteriosclerosis, digestive complaints, kidney stones, fragile capillaries, anemia, and heartburn. It is non-toxic, non-irritant, non-sensitizing.
Contraindications and Safety
Some say due to an emmenagogue action, lavender should be avoided in the first trimester of pregnancy. It should not to be used with preparations containing iron and/or iodine.
Essential Oil Responsible Cautions
Essential oils are highly concentrated liquids that can be helpful if used carefully. The following are basic guidelines and it is best to consult a trained aromatherapy practitioner if you are in doubt regarding the proper use of essential oils.
* Read and follow label instructions and warnings.
* Do not ingest essential oils without consulting a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
* Avoid contact with eyes and mucus membranes. Flush with our Mixing Oil or olive oil in case of contact. DO NOT flush with water.
* Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. There are exceptions to this precaution, such as Tea Tree Oil or Lavender Oil, but the decision to apply undiluted oils should be made by experienced aromatherapy users and practitioners.
* Do not use essential oils straight in bath water. They just float on top and can irritate skin. Water forces oils deeper into the tissues. For best results, dilute the Essential Oil in unscented body gel or shampoo and then add to the bath water.
* If you have ANY medical condition or are pregnant or nursing, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner.
* People with high blood pressure should not use Fennel, hyssop, rosemary, and all types of sage oils.
* A skin patch test should be conducted on a small skin area to determine skin sensitivity prior to using an essential oil for the first time.
To do this, place a small amount of the diluted essential oil (never use essential oils undiluted on the skin) on the inside of your elbow and apply a Band-Aid. Wait 24 hours to see if there is any form of reaction. Even if a particular essential oil is not known to cause irritation, this step should be taken.
* Avoid strong sunlight or sun beds after topically applying essential oils, particularly citrus oils, which can be photosensitive.
* It is safest to consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils for children.
* If you experience redness, itching, swelling burning or irritation while using essential oils, discontinue use.
* Take a periodic break from using essential oils. Use oils for six days and then rest for a day, or use oils for three weeks and then rest a week.
* Avoid applying essential oils immediately after perspiring or using a sauna.
* Store essential oils away from extreme cold, heat, light, dampness and electromagnetic frequencies.
* Be sure your essential oils are tightly closed.
* Keep essential oils away from children.
* Essential oils are not meant to take the place of a qualified practitioner.
Essential Oils are flammable. Do not drop essential oils on top of burning candles or place them near open flames.