Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis (Lavender Essential Oil)

Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis (Lavender Essential Oil)

Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis )

It not only smells wonderful with its flowery, woody, slightly spicy scent, but also has a multitude of uses for the mind, body, and home. It can ease a worried mind, help with sleeping problems, and keep the home fresh and deodorized. Its uses are endless. And it’s responsible for today’s practice of aromatherapy. In 1910 the French chemist, Rene Maurice Gattefosse, burned his hands in a laboratory explosion and, so folklore has it, in order to immediately relieve his wounds, used the nearest liquid he could find—a tub of lavender essential oil. While there might be some debate as to how Gattefosse’s hands came to be covered in the oil, they healed quickly, and without scarring. The remainder of Gattefosse’s life was devoted to researching the value of essential oils, and he is credited with coining the term “Aromatherapie,” which was the title of one of his books.

In aromatherapy

lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is used to restore unbalanced states of mind or body, as it is reported to have calming, relaxing, and balancing properties. Aromatherapists use it to deal with depression, stress, anxiety, and mood swings. A few drops on a handkerchief can be useful if you’re suffering from stress or anxiety: keep it with you and inhale deeply when you wish to create a feeling of calm.

As well as easing migraine and headaches, lavender can also help with insomnia: a few drops added to a warm bath before bedtime, or placed on a pillowcase, can help induce sleep.

There are endless possible uses for lavender where the body is concerned. It is anti-bacterial, antifungal, and antiseptic. It promotes growth of new cells, so is useful for a variety of skin irritations including dryness, acne, dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, dandruff, and athlete’s foot. It can be used as an insect repellent, or if it’s too late for this and you need some after-care, it can ease the pain of insect bites. It can also sooth burns.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is one essential oil that can be applied directly to the skin, although you should always carry out a sensitivity test first by applying a smear to the skin: if any irritation occurs, wash it off immediately, and use diluted, for example, mixed with a “carrier” oil (grape seed oil or apricot oil), or lotion. Always use essential oils with caution during pregnancy, particularly during the first few months.

To make an effective massage treatment to help ease rheumatism and muscle spasms, add a few drops of lavender oil to a “carrier” oil or basic massage lotion, and rub into tired muscles.

Around the home, a few drops of lavender diluted in water in an atomizer can be used to deodorize and freshen. It can also be used as a deodorizing linen spray before ironing: just add the oil to the water in the iron, or use diluted in water in a spray bottle. Lavender has antimicrobial and antiseptic qualities so is useful as a household disinfectant for cleaning sinks and toilets—sprinkle baking soda and a few drops of lavender onto a cloth or sponge to use.

Given its number of uses, lavender essential oil is a valuable addition to the medicine cabinet, as well as the household cleaning cupboard!