Lavender is the first essential oil that most of us will think of when asked for names of essential oils that we use. It is the most common essential oil to be found in households – and for good reason! Lavender is a useful and versatile essential oil for home use. The botanical name for the lavender used for essential oil production is Lavandula angustifolia. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the buds, flowers and stems. The plant material is commonly sourced southern France, Italy, India and Bulgaria.
It is important to note that true lavender essential oil will be labelled as Lavandula angustifolia. Spike lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and lavandin (Lavandula abrialis, a hybrid of spike lavender and lavender) are not the same as true lavender, although their scent is similar. Less reputable essential oil suppliers may add a blend of lavandin and lavender to their bottles labelled as 'lavender' or 'lavender fragrance oil'; since lavandin is a cheaper oil, it can mean that they can sell their 'lavender' oil for a cheaper price. Therefore, it is important to find a reputable company to purchase your lavender oil from.
Lavender essential oil has a fresh, light and powdery scent that most people find calming and pleasant. Its two main chemical components are linalyl acetate and linalool - these components provide for the floral and herbaceous tones of the oil's aroma. Lavender's scent blends nicely with most of the other herbaceous oils, as well as with many floral, citrus, and spicy oils.
The chemical components also contribute to the soothing nature of lavender essential oil. The oil will relax the mind and the emotions, as well as calm physical ailments. Lavender oil is useful for pain, burns, insect bites and skin blemishes when used in topical applications. The essential oil has analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immune-stimulating and anti-microbial properties, adding to its usefulness for treating these ailments.
Relaxing with Lavender Essential
Lavender is famously known for inducing relaxation, making it a perfect choice when needing to unwind and destress. Diffuse lavender during your 'down time' - you could add it to your diffuser on its own or with some bergamot, chamomile, cedarwood or sweet orange essential oils for a relaxation blend. You could also use lavender on diffusing jewellery when you are about to enter a stressful meeting, or simply put a drop on a tissue whenever you are 'having a moment', to sniff and bring yourself back to calm.
Lavender has sedative properties, making it an excellent choice for sleep blends. A simple way to aid sleep is to add a drop of lavender essential oil to your pillow before bed.
Lavender offers anti-spasmodic effects, helping to relieve muscle tension. This adds to its calming powers to release stress from the body. It is very useful for tension headaches and digestive issues. Another cramping problem lavender can be used for is menstruation. A suggestion is to add 3 drops of lavender, 2 drops of clary sage and 1 drop of marjoram essential oils to 5 mL of carrier oil in a rollerball and apply to the lower abdomen to relieve such a cramp. Lavender and clary sage both have mild oestrogen-like effect, helping to balance female hormonal issues. This also means that these oils may need to be avoided during pregnancy and not used too heavily on males.
I think of lavender as the 'Mother oil'. It promotes feelings of security, compassion and comfort. Lavender is also awesome around the house! Keep a bottle in your first aid kit for bites, stings and burns or even as an insect repellent. Add a couple of drops of lavender to a felt dryer ball to fluff up the washing with a beautiful aroma. Lavender is deodorising and its anti-microbial properties make it excellent on laundry or when adding to room sprays. If there is only one essential oil in your home, choose lavender!