Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. The English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French lavandre, ultimately from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of infusions of the plants.
Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourri for centuries. Traditionally, lavender essential oil has also been used in making perfumes and in aromatherapy.
As an herb, lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years. In ancient times lavender was used for mummification and as a perfume by the Egyptians, Phoenicians, and peoples of Arabia. Romans used lavender oils for bathing, cooking, and scenting the air. Perhaps first domesticated by the Arabians, lavender spread across Europe (first to France) from Greece around 600 BC. The ‘English’ lavender varieties were introduced in the 1600s, right around the time the first lavender plants were making their way to the Americas.
18 Amazing Healing Powers of Fragrant Lavender Oil:
- Soothes Aches and Pains: A warm soak bath with few drops of lavender essential oil and some epsom salts thrown in can relax strained and overworked muscles and tissues, providing instant relief.
- Cures Acne: Lavender’s anti bacterial properties help prevent the secretion of sebum, the primary food source for the bacteria that causes acne.
- Anti Bacterial: Lavender is a powerful antibacterial agent that fights typhoid, TB & diphtheria causing bacteria and also has anti-viral properties when combined with Lemon Balm.
- Soothes Minor Burns: When lavender oil is gently applied to the affected area, it leads to immediate pain relief, triggers the healing process, and prevents scarring.
- Heals Bruises and Cuts: When applied to a bruised or cut area of the body, Lavender oil prevents bacterial infection and burning sensation, and alleviates the healing process.
- Relieves Earache: Since ancient times, Lavender oil has been recommended for soothing earache due to colds or infections in infants and adults. Gently massaging a few drops of Lavender Oil into the skin around the ears and throat relieves the aching sensation and aids the healing process.
- Fights Eczema: Lavender oil mixed with any carrier oil or lotion (like calamine) can be applied directly on eczema afflicted dry and itchy skin, providing moisturization, cooling and healing effects, especially beneficial for small children.
- Instant Fatigue Buster: Soaking your feet in hot foot bath infused with a few lavender oil drops, helps relax your stressed system instantly. Lavender’s soothing elements enter your bloodstream through your foot pores, exerting its stimulating and soothing effects on various systems of your body.
- Lowers Fever: Lavender Oil drops in tepid water can be used as an effective sponging bath for kids with fever. It not only gets the temperatures down but also calms the senses allowing for good nights sleep.
- Beats Anxiety and Stress: Placinga compress, of a piece of cloth or muslin soaked in icy cold water sprinkled with a few drops of lavender oil, on your forehead, or directly massaging a few drops on your forehead, temples and nape of the neck, helps restore calmness and relieves from throbbing headaches and helps to dispel stress, sadness and anxiety.
- Sleep inducer: A few drops of lavender oil on your pillow, or in your diffuser can instill deep restful sleep. Use as a massage oil (with carrier oil) or in bath water to calm down hyperactive kids especially close to bed time.
- Helps control Motion Sickness: Lavender, rosemary, & sage oils can be either dabbed into your pulse points or carried in hand baggage to cope with motion sickness on long travels.
- Calms Menstrual Cramps: If you are troubled by cramps during their menstrual periods, can get instant relief by either massaging lavender oil on their lower abdomen or applying a lavender oil infused hot compress onto the area.
- Keeps Insect and pests at bay: Splashing yourself with lavender oil (in water) before stepping out or keeping a soaked cotton ball on the window will keep irritating moths, midges & mosquitoes out. Lavender oil is also a terrific remedy for insect bites, soothing itching & to stop inflammation.
- Cures Scabies: Caused by a tiny mite burrowing into your skin, scabies can be very annoying and cause more problems if untreated. Use neat lavender oil along with alcohol to dab yourself against scabies and sprinkle on beddings to drive mites away.
- Treats Shingles: Also called Herpes Zoster, Shingles are a painful, contagious rash caused by the chickenpox virus. Lavender oil’s analgesic, antiviral & scar preventing properties helps soothe the pain and heals the wound faster.
- Effective in treating Sinusitis: Inhaling vapors from alavender and thyme oil concoction in near-steaming water and has long been suggested as a potent cure for people suffering from chronic Sinusitis.
- Heals Sunburns: A soothing bath ofpure Lavender Mist – Hydrosol or a combination of lavender oil, peppermint oil and jojoba oil can help recover from sun burns effectively and immediately.
Side Effects and Precautions:
- Gynecomastia: Lavender oil seems to have hormone effects that could disrupt the normal hormones in a young boy’s (not yet reached puberty) body resulted in some boys developing abnormal breast growth called gynecomastia.
- Surgery: Lavender might slow down the central nervous system. If used in combination with anesthesia and other medications given during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system too much. Stop using lavender at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
- Skin Irritant: Lavender is traditionally regarded as a ‘safe’ oil and, but people with hyper sensitive skin have reported allergic reactions on applying lavender oil on skin.
- Ingestion: Lavender oil should never be ingested, only topically applied or inhaled through means of aromatherapy or similar activities. Ingestion can cause serious health complications, characterized by blurred vision, difficult breathing, burning eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea.