Healing with Lavender
"As Rosemary is to the spirit, so Lavender is to the soul."
As you begin to collect essential oils for your herbal medicine cabinet or aromatherapy kit, lavender oil is one essential oil that no budding herbalist should be without. Lavender is not only highly fragrant, but also has clinically proven therapeutic properties.
Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the flowers of Lavandula angustifolia, most of which is cultivated in Bulgaria, France, and Ukraine.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used lavender as a strewing herb to mask the consequences of poor sanitation. They also tossed handfuls of the flowers into bath water to promote relaxation, as well as to detoxify the body. In fact, the name lavender comes from the Latin word "lavare," which means "to wash."
Today, lavender is used extensively in aromatherapy to ease depression and anxiety. Applied topically, the essential oil counters acne, burns and inflammatory conditions of the skin and joints. It is one of the few essential oils that can be applied "neat," or undiluted, to the skin.
"How miraculous that growing on my own little plot of land are plants that can turn the dead soil into a hundred flavours as different as horseradish and thyme, smells ranging from stinkhorn to lavender." ~John Seymour, English naturalist
Properties: Analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, cholagogue, deodorant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, insecticide, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary
Lavender essential oil blends well with: Bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, marjoram, oakmoss, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, pine, ravensara, rose, rosemary, tea tree, thyme and vetiver.
The strong fragrance of lavender is due to the presence of organic compounds called aldehydes and ketones. Ketones are a class of organic compounds that are involved in the production of energy, including photosynthesis in plants and the Krebs cycle in humans. These compounds also promote new tissue growth, decrease inflammation and produce a mild sedative effect.
These compounds inhibit muscle spasms, inflammation and scarring. Esters also fight fungal infections and produce mood-enhancing effects.
Linalool is an alcohol found in lavender essential oil in a concentration of up to 50%. This substance is anti-viral, antibacterial and helps to speed the healing of burns and wounds.