Lavender essential oil
I must admit, I was never a huge fan of lavender. I associated it with overly perfumed soaps and a fragrance only an elderly woman could love.
But, I’m happy to report, I was wrong. Completely wrong in fact. Lavender is one of the most essential of essential oils. It’s highly versatile and can be used for everything from boosting your mental wellbeing to cleaning your home.
Lavender essential oil is a must have in your aromatherapy tool kit.
What is lavender?
Lavender comes from the lavender plant. It can be grown as a shrub in your home garden (even in the UK) and commercially is grown as a crop most famously in Provence, France.
It’s actually one of my dreams to cycle through the lavender fields in Provence on a vintage bike with a baguette in the basket. Yes, I really am that basic…
Lavender has tiny violet coloured flowers which can be dried and used in beauty products and around the home. The essential oils are created through steam distillation, which is quite a long, technical process. Apparently, you can do this at home – however, I’ve never tried it so can’t vouch for this DIY lavender extraction method.
Top 10 benefits of lavender essential oil
- Anxiety and stress – Feeling stressed and anxious? Lavender can help calm and relax the mind. Inhale lavender oil right out of the bottle or use in a diffuser.
- Sleep – Lavender oil is proven to help induce sleep. Try putting into a diffuser whilst you go to sleep or adding a few drops to your pillow.
- Pain relief – lavender is an anti-inflammatory. It can help reduce redness and pain from insect bites and try adding to a carrier oil such as wheatgerm for muscle pain.
- Cold relief – lavender can help with respiratory infections by loosening phlegm (apols if you’re reading this first thing in the morning…) and providing soothing relief. Add hot water to a large bowl and add 2-3 drops of lavender essential oil and 2-3 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and breathe deeply.
- Wounds – lavender has antimicrobial properties which have been shown to speed up the healing of cuts, burns, scrapes and wounds. Mix with a carrier oil like coconut oil and use a cotton ball to apply to the bruise.
- Cleaning the home – did you know lavender is antibacterial and a natural disinfectant? Mix with water into a spray bottle for laundry and with white vinegar for a natural chemical-free cleaner.
- Skin – there’s a reason why lavender can be found in so many beauty products. Try mixing with a carrier oil such as argan oil and massaging into your skin.
- Hair – lavender is a natural anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal so helps in reducing dandruff and supporting scalp health, which can stimulate hair growth. Add a few drops to your shampoo.
- Stimulating the brain – lavender can improve cognition because it helps remove stress. Try diffusing when studying or working.
- Detoxifying – lavender contains antioxidants and is a natural way of removing toxins from your body. Just add a few drops into a hot bath.
Subtle (spiritual) properties of lavender
Essential oils can also be used as part of a spiritual practice. Use lavender for balancing, calming and to clear a house of negative energies.
Easy ways to use lavender essential oils
The power of smell is linked to the brain’s limbic system. It triggers positive and negative reactions in us. Smell can help provoke memories and emotions, which is why it impacts on our wellbeing.
How to buy lavender essential oils
A good essential oil should have ‘100% pure essential oil’ and the proper name on the label. In lavender’s case this is lavendula. If you see the word ‘fragrance’ it almost always means there are chemicals added in.
The best essential oils are therapeutic grade, which means they are unfiltered and untreated and really good quality.
Essential oils are natural but powerful. Some people may develop an allergic reaction so it’s always best to do a patch test. If you’re pregnant, nursing or planning on using on a small child, then check beforehand. Lavender is safe in all of these instances though.
Where to buy lavender essential oils
You can buy a 10ml bottle for around £5-7. A small amount goes a long way.