When I first started my collection of essential oils, I was told there was no better oil to start with than lavender. Years later, I have to agree with the advice.
Its dreamy fragrance has made it a popular perfume for centuries, but this gentle herb also has some powerful harmonizing properties.
The valuable therapeutic oil produced by lavender flowers can be used to treat troubles of the heart and mind. Lavender is widely used by herbalists and aromatherapists to treat depression (1), but its healing properties also help with physical pain relief (2).
As a massage oil, lavender relaxes muscles and eases tension. Its strong antiseptic properties effectively heal conditions such as acne and sunburn.
The combination of compounds that make up lavender are:
Alcohol – lavender oil contains up to 50 percent of the alcohol Linalool. Linalool helps to kill bacteria and viruses . It also helps to heal burns, wounds and sores.
Ketones – are compounds that help relieve pain, build new skin tissues and reduce inflammation. They also have a sleep-inducing effect (3). Lavender that contains an amount of ketones above 35 percent should be avoided.
Esters – compounds that ease swelling and soreness, prevent muscle spasms, fight fungal infections and prevent scarring. They also help you regulate your moods, preventing you from experiencing depression and hysteria.
Lavender is the perfect remedy for calming your nerves; lavender can ease you into a sound sleep. Drop a few drops of lavender oil on your sheets or place a small bag of lavender flowers under your pillow.
To improve your skin
A great natural tonic, lavender helps to balance oil production.
* To prevent dandruff, add a few drops to the water of your final hair rinse or sprinkle a few drops on your hairbrush.
* Treat minor cuts, bites, strains and bruises by adding a few drops of lavender to a bowl of water, soaking a cloth and pressing it over the affected area.
* Add a few drops to a soft, warm cloth compress and place it on damaged or broken skin. This will ease swelling and pain as well as promoting skin regrowth.
To Relieve Menstrual Cramps
The relaxing, anti-inflammatory and pain relieving properties of lavender make it ideal for easing both physical and menstrual pains. To avoid the emotional symptoms of PMS, combine 3 drops lavender, 3 drops chamomile and 30ml of carrier oil (grape seed oil) and dab on your pulse points in the days leading up to your period. The esters in lavender oil reduce muscle spasm, thereby easing period cramps. The calming, soothing smell of this combination should help to regulate your hormonal system, as well.
(2) Habanananda T.,”Non-pharmacological pain relief in labour.” J Med Assoc Thai. 2004 Oct;87 Suppl 3:S194-202
Worwood, Valerie Ann. The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. Novato, CA: New World Library, 1991.