Lavender should be a tried and true friend if yours. If not, meet your new BFF. This plant is an extremely versatile healer. It's distinct chemical components make it an ideal solution for conditions ranging from anxiety to skin problems, to nausea, to mood disorders. Lavender is virtually a panacea.
What is lavender
The lavender most often used therapeutically is Lavandula angustifoli, formerly called Lavender officinalis. More commonly this plant is called lavender, true lavender or English lavender. It is a member of the mint, or Lamiaceae family. Lavender is an evergreen herbaceous perennial shrub. It grows in temperate climates. Lavender is not a fan of being too wet. It is used to dry summers. When growing it, I find that adding a bit of sand to the soil helps. The flowers, stems, and leaves are all used therapeutically and in culinary dishes.
Lavendin is another oil on the market. It is not the same plant as Lavandula angustifoli. It does not have the same benefits, and can even be an irritant. Look at the scientific name of the oil you are buying. ALWAYS BUY ESSENTIAL OILS FROM REPUTABLE SUPPLIERS.
When you want the therapeutic effects of lavender make sure lavender is an ingredient. Not only do synthetics not contain the components that create the effect you need, they can cause rashes and irritation of the skin.
Lavender is one of the most recognized scents in the world. It is also one of the most adulterated. It seems everything comes in a lavender scent these days. Lavender candles, car and room fresheners, laundry detergent, eye pillows, soaps, and shampoos are all available. Most of these items, however, lack one vital ingredient. Lavender. Most of these items use Synthetic fragrances to recreate the scent of lavender. While many of these items are marketed as relaxing, if lavender is not an ingredient they are missing the vital chemical components that cause relaxation.
The Benefits of Lavender
As a budding aromatherapist I always avoided using lavender. I think as a young person with something to prove I just wanted to use more “exotic”, lesser known oils. After much research I’ve come to the same conclusion we all do after a while. Lavender is an amazing plant, with little or no contraindications, and has a beneficial effect for almost everything. So, I use it in a lot of stuff.
This complex bouquet of chemicals are what make lavender effective on so many different systems. It is a wonderful sedative, it is also a powerful analgesic, and recent studies are showing neuroprotective properties.
The nerdy stuff. Lavender has over one hundred different chemical constituents. It is primarily made of monoterpenes. Mainly it is composed of linalyl acetate and different esters. Linalol, lavendulol, lavandulyl acetate, terpineol, cineol, and limonene are other notable components.
Most people know lavender as a sedative. Lavender is an overall tonic for your mood. Mentally and emotionally it is wonderful to use to combat anxiety, anger, stress, fatigue,and insomnia. For your body Lavender combats nausea, and is an antibacterial, and antiviral. Lavender is an analgesic and a powerful anti-inflammatory. It is useful to treat headaches. For this you can dilute some in a carrier oil and massage on your temples, or at the base of your neck. Lavender is an essential addition to a natural first aid kit. The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties make it ideal to put on cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and minor burns. Lavender is a good addition to muscle rubs, and ointments for joint pain.
Forms of Lavender
As an Essential Oil
The essential oil of Lavender is steam distilled from the flowers, and stems. It is a true above ground therapeutic. The oil can be diluted in carrier oils, added to diffusers, or bath salts. Lavender essential oil is generally one of the safest oils out there. You should not use it in the first trimester of pregnancy, or if you have extremely low blood pressure. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that is safe to use on children.
As a Dried Herb
The dried flowers of lavender are also very useful. They are a wonderful addition to saches, eye pillows, or potpourri. They can also make a wonderful tea and will provide a whimsical pop in culinary dishes. One of my favorite uses in the kitchen is as lavender infused honey.
To make lavender honey get about a cup of honey and heat it over very low heat. Add a tbsp of dried lavender flowers and remove from the heat, and let it set for about 24 hours. Heat the honey again to make it easier to pour, and strain it all in a jar. This will keep for about 6 months. Add it to tea, on ice-cream, and on cookies for a sweet and floral punch.
My ALL TIME favorite essential oil blend is lavender and grapefruit. It is relaxing, uplifting, and grounding all at the same time. This is one of the reasons Lip Revival Lip Balm is lavender, grapefruit, and frankincense. This is a happy, grounding, and calming scent.
I mix some lavender and grapefruit together and use it in a diffuser, or as just an inhalant. I also use this mix with some vinegar to clean my windows. I will also take about a cup of epsom salt and put no more than twelve drops of this blend in it for use as a bath salt.
V is For Voodoo and Lavender, Friends Forever
As far as essential oils go Lavender is such a badass, it appears in most of our formulas. It’s balancing, calming, and anti-exhaustive nature can be used in our Erzulie Freda Lather and Armatic. It’s antidepressant, balancing, and sedative qualities are what make the Marie Laveau Lather and Aromatic so effective. Both of these products utilize Lavenders mental and emotional healing qualities.
To put it in higher gear the analgesic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties are highlighted with our new Tattoo Juju, tattoo aftercare salve. Lavender's calming effect on the skin to treat eczema, psoriasis, burns, and wounds are why it is in both of our Voodoo Goos; Miracle Salve and Blessed Balm.
With such a wide array of benefits, it’s no wonder we include this oil in a wide variety of products.