Healing powers of Lavender
12th February, 2017
Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. Used for thousands of years both medicinally and in the home, lavender is most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the mind and body, the fragrance is pleasant, calming and soothinghelping to relax the nervous system.
The English word for Lavender is generally thought to have come from the old French word Lavandre and the Latin word Lavare meaning “to wash” giving us some idea of how it was used at the time. However, the authenticity of this is uncertain and it’s more likely that the word Lavender comes from the Latin word Livere describing the “blueish” colour of the flower. Not only is Lavender beautiful to look at it has so many uses as well. The use of lavender even goes as far back in history as the ancient Greeks, Romans and Arabic cultures and in modern times lavender has a long history of use medicinally and in the home.
Lavender is a shrubby plant, part of a larger group of flowering plants that include the mint family. Altogether, there are 39 different species of Lavender the most popular being the English Lavender or Old English Lavender. Did you know the colour “lavender” has been named after the English Lavender?
Under the right conditions Lavender is relatively easy to grow and grows around the world in the temperate climates of southern Europe across to England, northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. The various types of Lavender are used in many gardens and landscapes across the globe but it is the fragrant essential oil of the English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) that is cultivated for commercial purposes. The essential oil gives the Lavender flowers its characteristic colour and odour.
Lavender is the most versatile of all essential oils. It’s like carrying your very own bottle of personal perfume, first-aid kit and pick-me-up. Most commonly known for its relaxing effects on the mind and body, the fragrance is pleasant, calming and soothing helping to relax the nervous system.
Lavender has so many different uses and can be used fresh, dried or as an essential oil. Here’s some inspiration in making the most of your own remedies with lavender:
• Use lavender in aromatherapy. Burn a few drops of lavender essential oil in an oil burner in your room at night to help induce relaxation and sleep.
• Deodorise with lavender. Use a lavender room spray to refresh an area. Dried lavender simmered in a pot of water with citrus peels makes a great natural air freshener. Making sachets of dried lavender leaves and hung in wardrobes can help to deter moths and keep your wardrobe smelling fresh. It was common practice at one time to drape washing over lavender bushes to infuse their scent into clothes and bedding. Today we can simply add a sachet of dried lavender in a dryer for the same effect instead of dryer sheets. Don’t forget fresh lavender in a vase to brighten and fragrance any home.
• First Aid with Lavender. Lavender oil is believed to have antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties which can be used to help heal minor burns and bug bites. Lavender was used in hospitals during World War I as an antiseptic and disinfectant for sterilizing medical equipment and treating wounds. It can be added to vaporizers for coughs and colds as it is believed that lavender has anti-viral properties.
• Inhale lavender. Rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil in your palms and inhale for an instant calming effect. Even rubbing it on your wrists, feet and temples for the same effect.
• Massage with lavender. Use the essential oil mixed in a massage oil base to relieve tension headaches by rubbing the oil on your temples and neck or relieve tired aching muscles.
• Bathe with lavender. The soothing scent and refreshing nature of lavender makes it ideal for use in bathing and body products like soaps, body butters and lotions to keep clean and smell lovely. A hot footbath infused with lavender oil helps to relieve fatigue at the end of a day.
• Sleep with lavender. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil to your pillow at night as a sleep aid. Or make buckwheat sleep masks and pillows and add dried lavender to promote relaxation and sleep. Used in massage oil can help to relieve tired aching muscles releasing tension. Try massaging some lavender oil on your temples and under your nose at night to prepare the body for rest and induce sleep.
• Cook with lavender. As long as the lavender used has been organically grown and free of chemical pesticides why not use lavender as candied cake decorations.
• Make gifts with lavender. Lavender makes great gifts as potpourri bags, lavender wash balls, lavender soaps, bath sachets, the list is endless.
And let’s not forget, the beautiful fragrant violet flowers of lavender make a beautiful ornament to any garden.