Lavender oil is an aromatherapy essential oil that first came to international attention, when a French perfumier accidentally burned his arm. He plunged it into the nearest liquid he could find (a vat of lavender oil) and when it healed, it spurned the modern ‘medicine’ of aromatherapy, although lavender and other oils have been used for thousands of years, even before Biblical times. This post is one of a series looking at the beauty and medicinal benefits of the most popular aromatherapy oils, with tips on how where to find sustainably-sourced oils, how to mix them and how to use them. Bristol Made Organic Lavender Micellar Water is a no-rinse cleaner made with almond and rosehip oil, organic witch hazel and lavender to calm. Packed in glass with an aluminium lid.
Avoid essential oils for pregnancy/nursing & affected medical conditions (epilepsy, asthma, heart – no rosemary, citrus or sage oil for high blood pressure). Avoid shea butter for latex allergies. Keep essential oils & cocoa butter (toxic if licked) away from pets.
Do not use essential oils near pets (air rooms before allowing them back). Cats in particular (along with reptiles, ferrets and birds) are negatively affected by them (cats cannot break the oils down in their livers). Don’t use essential oils if you sleep with pets on your bed
Lavender oil obviously comes from the lavender plant, loved by bees and humans alike. The name is from the Latin verb ‘lavare’, which means ‘to wash’, and has been used since Egyptian times (when it was used to embalm bodies) and was also used to help ward off disease during the Bubonic Plague of the 17th century. Related to mint, Queen Victoria used to drink lavender tea for her stomach, and even had her furniture cleaned with a homemade polish made with lavender. It was even once used as a local currency in France.
The popular aroma and affordable price, means that lavender oil is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils to buy in shops. Due to its versatility (it can used for beauty and medicinal use, plus in drinks and cooking), it is only surpassed by basil as the world’s most popular herb. Native to the Mediterranean, not all lavender flowers are purple (some are white, pink, red and yellow, but most are. The many benefits of lavender oil include:
- It’s good to heal burns, woulds and scrapes.
- It’s good for skin and hair, especially acne and eczema (in mild doses).
- It’s good for pain. For a cold compress, fill a bowl with cold water and add 6 drops of lavender oil (or 3 drops with 3 drops of another oil). Dip a cloth in the water then wring it out, and apply it to the affected area. Leave for around 5 minutes, until it returns to body temperature. Repeat as needed.
How to Use Lavender Oil
Essential oils are made by distilling the properties into a small bottle. For a bath to help you relax or sleep, run your warm bath first (no other oils or foams), then add a few drops to the bath water, and swish with your hands. Soak for 20 minutes, then towel yourself dry and straight to bed!
The other main use for lavender is for a body massage, which can help anxiety and physical pain. You need to therefore mix the organic essential oil with a base oil. To do this, add 1 drop to each teaspoon of carrier oil (or add 12 drops to each 30ml of carrier oil if preferred), then store the bottle in a cool dark place. Once mixed, use the oil up within a few weeks, although essential oils should last much longer.
Looking Good with Lavender!
Look in health shops for Alter/ative lavender soap. Also look for Friendly Lavender Soap (Yorkshire) that’s sold in cardboard packaging. Free from palm oil, this soap uses olive and coconut oil with rich shea butter (not for latex allergies) for a rich lather to soak in the tub. Keep on a slatted soap dish to dry out between uses (lasts longer!) The same company’s lavender geranium shampoo bar is ideal for frizzy hair (just rub into a creamy paste and apply to your hair). For a liquid conditioner, mix the bar in a jug of 600g of boiling water, then cool the dissolved mix, and pour into a bottle.