Lavender plant and essential oil
Firstly, I’d say if you need just one essential oil at home, it should be Lavender.
Lavender is associated with beautiful purple aromatic flowers, growing in almost every garden lover’s garden. Often when people smell Lavender they say it reminds them of their Grand Mother!
However, there is so much more to Lavender!!
The Latin root word for Lavender is Lavare which means to wash or clean.
Lavender is the go to oil when you open your first aid box/cabinet. It is the first aid essential oil and the essential oil that should be at hand, in all homes.
Lavender is grown around the world now, and loves the sunshine but can thrive in most climates. It is an evergreen shrub, with narrow greying leaves, with small white/purple/blue flowers and belongs to the plant family of Lamiaceae. The flowering tops are used in distillation to obtain the essential oil. There are over 50 species and hybrids of Lavender. The most common used flower for essential oil is, Lavandula angustifolia. It is important to know the latin name of the oil being used, so you are able to identify the plant.
In history, Lavender is well documented and researched. From the Romans all the way into the second world war, where it was used on the battle field. In the culinary world, Lavender is used in cooking and baking. The flowers are hung in houses as the perfume becomes more potent when dried. There are multiple products to purchase with lavender flowers in them and multiple uses of the flowers.
The chemical properties for Lavender are: Esters – linalyl acetate, Alcohols – linanlol, Oxides – cineole. These properties inform us that the oil is readily attacked by oxygen and have far more odourous properties. Esters calm things down and are quite gentle in action. The effects are: fungicidal, (prevents and combats fungal infection) sedative (calming, reduces functional activity), calmative (sedative) and balancing. Alcohols are an extremely useful group of properties. They are very uplifting. Oxides have respiratory clearing effects, and are also very good as an expectorant (promotes the removal of mucus from the respiratory system).
It is an amazing analgesic (remedy or agent that deadens pain). It is great for antirheumatic pain and inflammation (helps prevent and relieve rheumatism). For me, in my practice the main property is that it is a cicatrisant (an agent that promotes the healing by the formation of scar tissue). It is a tonic for the body, helping to strengthen and enliven the whole or a specific part of the body. Another important property to Lavender is that it is an adaptogen, so it helps with what is needed for the body!
Please be cautious when using Lavender as it should not be used if a lady is trying to conceive (during or post ovulation), or is pregnant. It is advised only to be used in Labour.
Using pure essential oil of Lavender over the years, has made me realize the importance of it. I have used it on myself and family, everyday since learning about the plant and have been witness to some amazing miracles with healing when using and administering the oil.
Caron Ladkin is a qualified Aromatherapist based in London.
Please get in touch if you would like to learn more about Lavender or study Aromatherapy.