Lavender Essential Oil

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It is no surprise that lavender essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils out there. It is very versatile and has a gentle and soothing fragrance. The word lavender comes from the Latin root lavare, which means “to wash”. Using lavender in bathing and a variety of other uses dates all the way back to the ancient Egyptians.

Lavender consists mostly of Linalyl acetate and Linalool. This combination seems to make lavender essential oil a solution to whatever ails you. Linalol is great for nurturing the skin. Linalyl acetate helps to calm and soothe the central nervous system. Lavender essential oil is the one essential oil you should never be without. Lavender essential oil is effective in cases of stress, insomnia, acne, infection, anxiety, depression, headaches, skin irritations (burns, eczema), and fatigue.

There are a variety of lavender essential oils available. You should make sure you are getting the one you are looking for. The best way to identify the exact species you want is to look at the botanical name. If you aren’t exactly sure what an essential oil is, we wrote a page about that here.

Types of Lavender Essential Oil

  • True Lavender or English Lavender: Lavandula angustifolia
    • L. angustifolia has a sweeter, softer aroma than the other lavender varieties. It is superior for therapeutic use. The essential oil from this plant is high in linalol and linalyl acetate.
  • Lavandin: Lavandula x intermedia, Lavandula hybrida, or Lavandula x burnati
    • As the x in the botanical name indicates, this is a hybrid plant made by crossing Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. The resulting plant is a much larger variety, which yields a great deal more essential oil. Lavandins make beautiful garden hedges because of their impressive size and color. Soaps, detergents, cleaning, and skincare products commonly use Lavandin for scent. The aroma is slightly sharper due to its higher camphor and 1,8-Cineole content.
  • Lavandula stoechas
    • This essential oil is not easily found. It is rich in camphor, 1,8-Cineole, and Fenchone, and has an affinity for the respiratory system. Since it is rich in ketones and oxides, use with caution.
  • Spike Lavender: Lavandula latifolia, Lavandula spica, or Lavandula spicata
    • This essential oil has a sharper, more camphoraceous scent than the Lavandula angustifolia. The camphor content can vary based on where the plant was grown, sometimes reaching up to 35%. Its aroma hints at its antiseptic qualities and smells quite medicinal. It is often used in respiratory support blends and is useful if you are feeling stuffy.

To Use Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender has profound relaxing, calming, and uplifting effects. It is a mild antidepressant, helpful in easing depression and melancholy.
Many clinical studies have confirmed lavender’s effectiveness as a traditional antiseptic agent.

It is useful in treating a host of infections, including staph, strep, colds, and flu. Alone or combined with tea tree oil, apply it directly to the skin to treat fungal infections such as ringworm and nail fungus. It is legendary as an herbal antiseptic and has been successfully used to disinfect and heal scrapes, wounds, and burns.

First Aid

People have used lavender for reducing pain, especially headaches for centuries. Combined with feverfew, it can help ease migraines and headaches. Modern research has shown that inhaling it is an effective way to address migraines. In one study of people diagnosed with migraines, a little over 71% of participants responded when they smelled lavender essential oil while experiencing an episode

Applied topically, the oil can decrease the pain and itch associated with bug bites and bee stings. Apply lavender essential oil directly to the bite to quickly reduce the pain and prevent excessive swelling of bee stings.

Lavender is also known to be cicatrisant, which means it helps to stimulate cell regeneration. These properties help to speed up the wound healing process and generate new cells and tissue. These same cicatrisant properties play a role in gradually fading out old scars, in addition to minimizing the scars an open wound might make in time.

Emotional Support

People have used lavender to decrease anxiety, induce relaxation, and promote sleep. Studies show that lavender can bring relief even in a place where most people are anxious: the dentist’s office!

Anxiety/Stress

One study divided 200 people into three groups while waiting for their dentist appointment. They reported levels of anxiety, mood, alertness, and calmness while waiting.

One group smelled lavender essential oil, one group listened to music, and one was a control group. The group that smelled the lavender had a reduced anxiety level and a better mood while waiting.

Insomnia

Lavender is also well known for promoting sleep. During a study in a hospital, researchers found that patients who had the scent of lavender in their rooms all night showed modest sleep improvement and lowered blood pressure compared to a control group. This is not surprising since linalool and linalyl acetate are both effective sedatives.

Massage

Lavender is a wonderful addition to your massage oil. Just add a few drops of the essential oil to your carrier oil of choice for a relaxing massage. Massage also helps to improve lymph flow and immunity, making it a great practice to use during cold and flu season.

Bathing

Lavender is one of the best herbs to use in the bath to relieve tension, stress, and insomnia. After a long, stressful day, try a bath with a few drops of lavender essential oil, or a handful of lavender blossoms added to your water ( or tied in a muslin bag). If you don’t have time for a bath, you can also rub 2-3 drops of the oil on your hands and massage the nape of your neck, your head, and your feet for calming relief.

Safety Summary

Has GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) status.

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