Spotlight On Essential Oils: Lavender Oil

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Lavender oil is known as the Swiss army knife of essential oils. If you could only have one oil in your arsenal most herbalists would recommend it be lavender oil. It does everything from deodorize to help you relax to help with burns. I love the smell of lavender, so the deodorizing and the relaxing aspects of this oil were not that hard to believe and incorporate into my everyday life. Lavender is one of those herbs that I grow just for the fragrance, although it has a lot of other uses. I just love running my hands over the leaves and smelling the wonderful aroma. When my boys were little I would take my hands and rub some of the leaves on my hands to smell the lavender and they thought it was magic the way I could make the plant smell so good all of the sudden. I did the same thing with rosemary in the winter and now, for them, those fragrances mark the beginning of winter and the beginning of spring.

Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, as the story goes, burned his hands and threw them into a vat of lavender oil he happened to have in his lab. He noticed that the oil helped to heal the burns. I am one of the world’s biggest skeptics (my husband is the biggest) and I honestly thought that lavender oil for burns was an old wives tale, kind of like putting butter on a burn (which by the way you should never ever do–it holds the heat in and actually does more damage than good).

Sometimes life deals you a bowl of lemons. My family and I recently went on a cruise to the Caribbean, which meant a lot of our vacation days were spent at the beach. This was not the first time I had ever been to the beach and knew the drill well–pack sunscreen, hats, extra towels, etc. I was so confident in my ability to protect my family from sunburn that I did not pack any over the counter products for sunburn relief. I was able to protect my family, but as it turns out, not myself.

Normally, I wear sandals in the summer, and even though I do wear sunscreen I work outside so much that I usually wind up with a tan even on the top my feet. Well, this summer I’ve been wearing tennis shoes to help heal a running injury. The first thing I did when I arrived at the beach was to remove my shoes. I did put sunscreen everywhere except my feet because they were already covered with sand. Yeah, you can guess the rest. The top of my feet were badly sunburned. So putting on shoes was a bit painful.

I remembered I had packed all my oils in my EO travel bag. I quickly looked for the lavender oil and thought I’d give it a try. I was really surprised that it did provide a lot of relief. I could even wear shoes after rubbing the lavender oil on the tops of my feet. Of course this is not something I would use on third degree burns that would require hospitalization, but for minor burns and sunburns lavender oil is a great natural choice.

Blends Well With:

Bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile, clary sage, clove, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, grapefruit, juniper, lemon, lemongrass, marjoram, patchouli, peppermint, pine,rose, rosemary, melaleuca, thyme, vetiver

Plant Parts Used:

Flower

Extraction:

Lavender oil is extracted through steam distillation.

How To Use Lavender Oil

Health

Burns–Use lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil to relieve symptoms of minor burns, as in the case of a sunburn. If the burn only covers a small area you can place a few drops of lavender oil directly on the burn.
Soothes Damaged Skin–Use a few drops of lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil (I  like almond oil) to relieve the pain of dry skin. (See my recipes for soothing salve)
Seasonal Allergies–Diffusing a few drops of lavender oil can help provide some relief to seasonal allergies.
Insect Bites–Next time you get an insect bite reach for the lavender oil. Apply a few drops directly to the bite or mix a few drops in a carrier oil and apply to skin. (See my recipe for natural insect repellent)
Motion Sickness–Since common motion sickness is based on perception just opening a bottle of lavender oil and taking in the aroma can help you relax and help with nausea.
Minor Scrapes and Cuts Heal Faster–Lavender has antiseptic properties so applying a few drops to a cut helps it heal faster.
Acne–Lavender oil helps heal blemishes, and mixed with a little melaleuca oil helps clean skin and keeps acne under control. (See blend below)
Low Grade Fevers–Lavender oil can help with the symptoms of a low grade fever. Place a few drops in a lukewarm bath to help bring down a fever.
Headache–Place a few drops of lavender oil on a towel and drape it over your head when you feel a headache coming on. Lavender oil will help you feel better faster.
Bruising–Lavender oil helps relieve symptoms of bruising. Place a few drops on the the bruise or mix with a carrier oil and apply to bruise.
Deodorants–Lavender oil is used in many homemade and natural deodorants because of it’s deodorizing properties. It’s also good for your skin so it’s the perfect oil for an all natural deodorant.

Mood

Induce Sleep–Lavender is widely known for it’s relaxing properties. Diffuse a few drops right before bed and you’ll have an easier time falling asleep. Works great with kids.
Eases Anger and Frustration–When you’re relaxed you don’t feel the physical effects of anger or frustration quite as much. Diffuse a few drops in a diffuser and watch your mood change.
Eases Fatigue–When you are tired you need to sleep. Since lavender is sleep inducing you’ll feel less fatigue because you’ll go to sleep and then wake up refreshed. Put a few drops in a diffuser or warm bath before bed.
Insomnia–Lavender oil is a calmative oil so it naturally helps you get to sleep. Keep your diffuser next to your bed and add a few drops of lavender oil at bed time to help you sleep.
Stress and Anxiety–Stress and anxiety can put your body in a fight or flight physical state. Diffusing a little after work or after a stressful day can help you maintain a healthy immune system.
Takes Away The Jitters–Ever get the jitters before you speak in public or meet an important person? Try applying a few drops of lavender oil mixed with a carrier oil to help you calm your nerves.
Depression/Hyperactivity–Lavender oil is known for it’s relaxing qualities but it’s also known as the balancing oil. After all, that’s kind of the effect going on when you use lavender oil to help you relax when you’re having a hard time relaxing. Lavender brings your mind back into balance through aromatherapy. Diffuse a few drops of lavender oil if you have the blues or are having one of those days where you just can’t seem to focus.

Cleaning/Other

Repels Insects–Lavender is the key ingredient in many homemade insect repellents, mine included. It also respells moths. Place a few drops on a cotton ball and place in a drawer to keep moths and other insects out.
Help Laundry–I use lavender oil in my laundry all the time. I have a puppy and we put towels in his crate because he can’t make it through the night yet without having to go. When I wash his towels I put a few drops of lavender oil in the washing machine just to make sure the towels come out smelling fresh and clean.
Air Freshener–Do you live with a smoker, have animals, or cook with potent herbs? Try diffusing a couple of drops of lavender oil to help with unwanted orders.

Blends

Acne Astringent Blend

1/2 c Witch Hazel
60 drops Lavender Essential Oil
30 drops Melaleuca Essential Oil
In 4 oz glass bottle combine ingredients. Apply to effected area with a cotton ball.

Allergy Blend

Diffuse:
2 drops Lemon Essential Oil
2 drops Peppermint Essential Oil
2 drops Lavender Oil
Or 6 drops LLP Blend (Spark Naturals has these three oils in a pre-mixed blend just for allergy suffers)

Sunburn Relief Blend

6 drops Lavender Oil
2 drops Roman Chamomile
2 drops Spearmint Oil
1/4 c carrier oil (I like almond oil)
Mix all oil together in a glass bottle and apply to effected area. You can use a spray bottle, a cotton ball or just your hand.

Cautions

Use caution with when applying lavender oil to skin. Although most people can apply it directly to the skin always be sure to test it on a small area first. Also, it’s possible that over-using lavender oil on young boys (pre-puberty) might cause hormone imbalances. Finally, since lavender does have a relaxing effect do not use it prior to surgery as it might interfere with anesthesia or other medications during a surgery.

Don’t forget that I highly recommend Spark Naturals for all your essential oil needs and when you use coupon code AWCOW you’ll get 10% off your purchase. Click here to order their lavender oil.

  • Kate says:

    One more thing 🙂 I fill a crock pot with water and leave it on warm through the winter to add some moisture to the air…can I put essential oil in the water for fragrance? I don’t use the crock pot for cooking. Thanks!

  • Kate says:

    Hi Jennifer…I’m familiar with the reed-type diffuser, when you mention diffusing, is that the method you recommend? Would a few drops in a small bowl work…or would evaporation keep it from lasting long? Thanks for all your help!

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