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Monday, 4 August 2008

Essential Oil Of The Week: Lavender

Lavender Essential Oil
Photo by M@rg.
Choosing the right essential oils to use at home can be difficult - particularly with the wide range of essential oils available today. Each week, I will choose an essential oil that I find particularly useful outlining what it’s good for, how you can use it, what oils it blends well with, any safety precautions and any interesting facts about how the oil has been used historically. For the first Essential Oil of the week, I have chosen Lavender – my favourite of all the essential oils.

Botanical Name: Lavendula officinalis

Aroma Type: Floral

Note: Middle

Safety first! It should be used with caution if you suffer with low blood pressure as it can cause drowsiness so take it easy when you get off the massage couch. Those who suffer with hay fever or asthma may find that they may be sensitive to Lavender. Unlike the other essential oils, Lavender can be used neat directly on to the skin.

Lavender was used by the ancient Romans and Greeks to perfume bath water and was also burned as an incense to honour their deities. It has long been used to speed up the healing process. Since the 18th century it has been widely used in perfumes, soap, talc and pot-pourri.

Lavender is a very versatile oil with a wide range of therapeutic properties and can help with many physical and emotional conditions. Its main properties are calming, soothing, balancing, antiseptic, analgesic, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, decongestant, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue (induces menstruation), hypotensive, nervine, and sedative.

Lavender can be used for the following conditions: burns, muscular aches and pains, headaches, fatigue, tension, irritability, depression, insect bites, anxiety, arthritis, athlete’s foot, bruises, chicken pox, poor circulation, colds, cramps, cuts, dandruff, hangover, cold sores, indigestion, insomnia, jetlag, measles, menopause, perspiration, PMT, rheumatism, stress, sunburn, thrush, fungal infections, migraine, cystitis, sprains, strains, rheumatism, bronchitis, earache, ringworm, high blood pressure, lack of / irregular periods, period pain, colic, asthma, diarrhoea, and flatulence. It also boosts the immune system. What a list!

It is an excellent first aid oil and I take mine everywhere with me. I use it on my temples and forehead when I’m feeling stressed, anxious or have a headache, I dab it on spots, insect bites, burns and cuts as soon as they occur, and it is excellent for helping you get to sleep. Just add a couple drops to a tissue and place on your pillow before going to sleep.

Lavender blends well with many other essential oils but my personal favourites to mix it with are patchouli, rosemary, ylang ylang, chamomile, clary sage, geranium, lemon, peppermint, and tea tree.

Lavender can pretty much be bought anywhere as is probably the most popular and well known essential oil. Most chemists, health food shops, and supermarkets sell it and it is one of the cheaper oils. If you had to buy just one oil, make it Lavender!

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