Lavender oil properties and a little aromatherapy story
Before I knew what job I wanted to have I tried few different routes, one of these led me to doing aromatherapy qualifications. This was probably around 10 years ago and I used aromatherapy as a parallel treatment ever since (for digestion, colds, inflammation, beauty, sleep and relaxation). Aromatherapy uses power of plants – if you doubt it think how smoking or eating certain plants/food can affect you, mushrooms, drugs, alcohol, coffee, liquorice for some – which are extracted into essential oils. There are so many different oils I didn’t know exist until I started studying aromatherapy!
This post is about lavender oil, and in particular its benefits. At the end I will also highlight general rules of aromatherapy that I follow such as not oils are for everyone, listen to your body and other… The book that I love referring to from my college days is ‘Aromatherapy an A-Z’ by Patricia Davis.
The quality and mix of the lavender oil depends on things such as place the plant grew in, soil, weather condition. Lavender comes from Mediterranean, although we can find it all over Europe, it has been introduced here by Romans, however best lavender is still that grown in its original home, around the Mediterranean. The finest quality grows at altitudes between 700 and 1,400 metres.
Lavender oil in general is calming and soothing but it’s most important properties are:
- Ability to restore unbalanced states, whether of mind or body, to that state of balance in which healing can take place
- It is also analgesic
- Insect repellent
Some more details and examples, this is straight from the book although I used my words to shorten it a bit, so you get most of the valuable info:
- The lavender oil can help with healing burns, colds, coughs, flu – steam, inhale, massage into the throat, massage near eyebrows and nostrils
- Various headaches (massage into the temples), relieve of muscular pain (massage, also blend with Marjoram or Rosemary for enhanced result, bath), pain relief from rheumatism, sciatica, arthritis (works locally, reduces inflammation, tones the system generally)
- Menstrual pain (massage in lower abdomen or use as hot compress), labour (massage in lower back, lowers pain, strengthens contractions, i.e. speeds up the labour)
- Children’s colic and infections
- Tones and sedates heart muscle (palpitations, high blood pressure – also look at the diet), can help with various skin conditions such as acne and eczema (eczema try Camomile and Melisa first)
- One of 3 most powerful oils to stimulate growth of healthy new cells (think for example about the burns example, other 2 are Neroli and Ti-tree
- Also works as insect repellent – moths, other small pests (spray clothes and bed linen), apply to the skin to avoid bites (best mixed with Grapefruit or Eucalyptus) from mosquitos, midgets and other insects, if bitten apply to the bite as soon as possible to take the pain and irritation away as well as avoid the infection, can also help with animal fleas and to treat head lice, scabies, athlete foot and ringworm
- Unbalanced state of mind, hysteria, manic depression, widely fluctuating moods (massage to both sides of the spine by therapist, add to the bath between treatments), insomnia (again use in bath, on the pillowcase, pyjamas, for both adults and babies)
Things to note:
Too much of a good thing is bad (irritation to the skin), some oils need to be diluted in water or carrier oil (such as pure almond oil), especially for the babies (pure oil can cause permanent damage to the baby’s cornea if rubbed into the eyes), although lavender oil is generally ok neat for adults. Don’t smell the oil straight from the bottle (some may have really strong concentration), oils have an expiry date and should be kept at least in the dark and away from sun so you get most benefits of them, I actually keep mine in the fridge, pregnant women need to be more careful, some oils are not safe for the baby.
How I use lavender oil (and many other oils)
In the evening undiluted few drops in the bath, my pillow and pj, few drops mixed with face cream (I also use that mix on skin infections but not on the broken skin), massage into the temples for the headache relief.
Disliking the smell is a hint this choice may not be beneficial for you (on this occasion, or in general), it works also other way round, your nose can help you decide which oil is most desirable (sometimes unpleasant ones may be weirdly tempting so go for it) quality of oil counts (buy oils that are from company that specialises in pure essential oils, oils should have a batch number and 100% of lavender oil no other additions).
You could also use some in the oil /candle burner, inhale it (put hot water in a bowl, add few drops of oil, breathe in under the towel), or create your own room spray when mixed with water. Creams in the shops – I don’t know how much of essential lavender oil is actually in the product, what’s the quality, how much it’s been processed, so I prefer to have my own creations! (i.e. mix few drops with cream on my hand then apply to the face or body).
Essential oils are not magical, they have its limits (although they could cure certain things on their own), I strongly suggest to use holistic approach – oil together with rest, sleep, healthy eating and body movement, and time spent with others.
Also to summarise the pictures, there is a lavender field not far from where I live and that’s where I’ve been getting my oil from now. Here I visited the farm with my sister and princess Amelia. Thanks for stopping by, if you have any lavender oil stories please let me know!
On the way to the field!