The scent of lavender is one of the most well-known scents. There is evidence that it was used for religious and medicinal purposes at least 2,500 years ago, and for mummification in Egypt (1). Traditionally lavender has always been used in potpourri and perfumes. It’s a real classic! There are several types of the lavender plant. Spike lavender has broad leaves and contains high amounts of ceneol and camphor, and it produces three times the amount of oil as French lavender. French lavender has narrower leaves with small dark flowers and it is more fragrant and aromatic.
You find lavender oil in soaps, lotions, beauty products, massage oils, fabric softeners, household cleaners and even toilet cleaners. While household cleaners use the cheaper artificial scent, personal care products usually include natural lavender oil. In terms of its health benefits and uses, lavender oil is one of the most versatile oils. It can be used on its own or it can be blended very well with other oils. Here are some of its uses and benefits.
Because of its antiseptic and antifungal properties, lavender oil is used to treat skin disorders such as acne, psoriasis and other inflammatory conditions. It is useful to enhance the healing of sunburn, burns, cuts and wounds since it improves the formation of scar tissue. It is also useful as a moisturizer for aging skin and to treat sun spots and scars when used in a carrier oil like coconut or almond oil. It basically firms up the skin as it boosts circulation, giving the skin cells adequate oxygen and nutrition. This improves cell renewal process. Use lavender oil for uneven skin tone in a blend with other oils.
Lavender has been used for centuries to promote sound sleep. In the olden days people put lavender flowers in their pillows in order to sleep peacefully. Even now, a few drops of lavender in bath water in the evening or a spray on the pillow will help you to fall asleep. It is helpful for people suffering from restless leg syndrome, insomnia and exhaustion, because the scent induces alpha waves in the area of the brain responsible for relaxation, soothing the nervous system and inducing sleep.
Regular use of lavender oil improves immunity as has been proven by research done in the 20th century. Its antibacterial and antiviral properties defend against diseases like diphtheria, typhoid and tuberculosis.
You can apply lavender oil on your exposed skin to prevent bites from mosquitoes, moths and midges. If you have any insect bites lavender’s anti-inflammatory properties will reduce pain and irritation. Simply rub it on the affected area.
Lavender essential oil helps digestion by stimulating the production of gastric juices and bile and by increasing mobility of food in the gut. Therefore it is helpful for treating diarrhea, vomiting, flatulence, stomach pain, colic, and indigestion. Please note that you should never ingest it as it will make you very sick. Just apply it on the skin or inhale it and the absorbed oil will work in the body.
Lavender oil is very calming which is why it is used in the bath or massage oil when people want to relax. Aromatherapists use it to treat depression, migraines, nervous tension, headaches and emotional stress. It basically takes away nervous exhaustion and restlessness, increases mental activity and regulates a varying heart rate.
Aromatherapy using lavender oil has been found to improve blood circulation, particularly coronary circulation. Improved circulation increases oxygenation of the cells, promoting muscle strength and health. Lavender oil is often used to lower blood pressure for those suffering from high blood pressure.
Treatment for acne
Lavender oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that are useful for fighting bacteria that cause acne. It also regulates over-production of sebum through normalizing hormone secretions. It reduces scarring after the acne has healed. You can add a few drops of lavender oil to skin creams and ointments to heal the skin.
Lavender provides several benefits for the hair. It helps the hair grow, particularly in the case of alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack its own hair follicles. Because of this property, it is sometimes recommended for preventing male baldness. It is also very effective for the removal of nits, lice and lice eggs from the hair. To kill lice and nits, massage the scalp with the oil in a carrier oil; leave it for 20 minutes then shampoo.
Lavender oil is also a good hair conditioner. To make hair conditioner, boil ¼ cup of dried lavender in 2 cups of water. Add a few drops of lavender oil. After shampoo, apply the conditioner, leave it in the hair for 15 minutes then rinse it off. It makes the hair shiny and fragrant while treating dandruff.
The skin is exposed to a long list of environmental toxins and other pollutants. Lavender oil contains powerful antioxidants that fight against harmful effects of pollutants on the skin.
Lavender oil’s antibacterial properties are useful for relieving respiratory problems like tonsillitis, laryngitis, whooping cough, bronchitis, flu, sinus congestion, coughs, asthma, colds and throat infections. You can apply it to the skin on the back, the neck or the chest or use it as a vapor. It will loosen up phlegm and relieve congestion, speeding up recovery.
Lavender oil has been found to be very effective for treating tired muscles after a long day at work. It is particularly good for the feet. You can add 4 to 6 drops of lavender oil to a large bowl of warm water and soak your feet for about ten minutes. If you take a bath after work, add some oil to the bath and soak for a few minutes. Your muscles will relax and all the tension will just ease away. Alternatively, you can rub some oil on your feet before going to bed to soothe tired feet while softening any rough skin on the feet.
Regular massage with lavender oil will provide pain relief in cases of sore and tense muscles, lumbago, rheumatism, backache, sprains, and headaches. For headaches, massage your forehead, the temples, and the neck with lavender oil to relieve neck and head tension and to prevent the onset of further headaches. This relieves migraines, gastric headaches, nervous headaches, general headaches, sinus headaches and tension headaches.
Lavender oil stimulates urine production, helps to restore hormonal balance and reduces cystitis (inflammation of the bladder). It also reduces related cramps.
Word of Caution
Essential oils are generally very strong and they burn if applied to the skin directly. Always use lavender oil in its diluted form, either in water for spraying or in a carrier oil for massage. The general formula is 1 milliliter (or 20 drops) of lavender oil to 20 milliliters of carrier oil. As mentioned above, if you ingest lavender oil you may become sick with symptoms like diarrhea, blurred vision, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and burning eyes. Before putting lavender oil on your skin, do a sensitivity test on a hidden part of your skin in case you are sensitive to it. Avoid lavender oil if you are diabetic or if you are breastfeeding.
- Healing Benefits of Lavender Oil, http://drericz.com/5-healing-benefits-of-lavender-oil/