Lavender is a perennial evergreen plant that has provided the most used essential oil in the world for the past 2500 years. Flourishing in oceanic climates with dry, rocky, sandy terrain, Lavender can be found in the Mediterranean region, Europe, Africa, the Canary Islands, the Middle East, and India.
The name Lavender is believed to be originated from the Latin word “lavare,” meaning “to wash,” as it was often used in baths and laundry for its fragrant attributes. With a calming, physically and emotionally balancing fragrance, it has regularly been used for its relaxing effects on the body. According to ancient texts, its purposes vary from medicinal to religious, having been used to disinfect cuts and to relieve bruises and skin sensitivities, as well as to scent the air for spiritual practices. Other historical uses for this oil included mummification and perfumery for the Egyptians, while for the Romans it was used in baths and cooking.
Lavender Officinalis is more usually known as Lavender 40/42. The 40/42 indicates the specific ratio of the main chemical constituents, Linalool and Linalyl acetate. This essential oil is comprised of 100% natural constituents and has the ideal percentages of Linalool and Linalyl acetate esters, blended to produce consistent floral notes. Lavender 40/42 boasts the most floral scent of all the Lavenders but unfortunately even as effective when it comes down to the therapeutic side. Due to its gorgeous scent, it is often the Lavender oil of choice for applications in soaps, candles, perfumes and cosmetics.
The other Lavenders available include, Bulgarian, English, French, French (High Altitude) and Spike.
The uses for Lavender essential oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal and odorous to cosmetic. It is packed full of antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-oxidant properties. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, sprays, and candle making.
When being used in aromatherapy, the fragrance is inhaled and scent receptors in the brain’s emotional powerhouse process the aroma as calming, allowing the mind and body to relax. Similarly, a few drops splashed onto a pillow may encourage a faster onset of deeper sleep with a reduced number of sleep disturbances. Its ability to decrease emotional stress such as anxiety and its influence in alleviating headaches also extends to its ability to reduce feelings of motion sickness and to lift your mood.
When diluted with a carrier oil and used topically, Lavender oil moisturises chapped and fading skin. Its antiseptic and anti-fungal properties may help to overcome itching and swelling caused by insect bites. Known to have anti-microbial properties, it provides soothing relief to minor burns and cuts, decreasing pain and inhibiting bleeding while eliminating bacteria from the wound. Its potential to revive skin complexion is also demonstrated with use on ageing and acne-prone skin on which it stalls the look of ageing with its powerful anti-oxidant action and improves the look and feel of skin that is subject to eczema and psoriasis. In haircare, Lavender is known to be an antiseptic that efficiently eliminates lice, nits, and dandruff when rubbed into the scalp.
As you can see, Lavender has so many uses, but this Lavender, in particular, is the lowest therapeutic grade. Therefore the wonderful benefits it contains may not be as prominent as Lavender French, Bulgarian and so on.
Please leave us a comment below on how you put Lavender essential oil to good use; we would love to hear from you!