Amid the rising popularity of essential oils, Lavender continues to be a widespread essential oil favourite. Along with its floral, sweet, and sometimes slightly fruity or woody scent, Lavender essential oils are full of health benefits. From pain relief and migraine relief to beautiful locks, they boast many uses and are a great addition to your home’s medicine cabinet.
Essential oils have been a part of many cultures for centuries. In the past, people have used a variety of essential oils for cosmetic, spiritual, and emotional purposes. This carries through to the 21st-century where essential oils are often used for alternative treatments to assist with different types of health conditions, promote wellness, create fragrances, assist with spiritual and mental health, and in some cases add flavour to meals.
What is Lavender Essential Oil
Lavandula, popularly called Lavender, is a genus of 30 species of flowering plants from the Lamiaceae family. It is native to countries bordering the Mediterranean and is commonly grown all around the world. In ancient times, Lavender was utilised by the Egyptians and Romans for its calming and relaxing qualities. They used it for cooking, cosmetic purposes, and as a perfume. The Romans named it ‘Lavender’ after its use in bathing rituals (lava is for wash). They discovered that the plant was not only relaxing but also antibacterial.
How is Lavender oil extracted?
There are many forms of lavender essential oil extraction, however the main two methods include Steam Distillation and Cold Pressing.
This is a commonly used process to extract essential oils that begins with a large vessel made of stainless steel, referred to as a still. Plant material containing the desired essential oil is placed into the still, with steam then injected through the plant. This causes vapourised essential oils to be released into a condensation flask. From here the water and vaporized essential oils are separated, and the oils can be collected and stored.
Cold pressing is another form of essential oil extraction, which is commonly used for citrus oils. Firstly the fruit skin is pierced to rupture the sacs carrying essential oils. Then the whole fruit is pressed to squeeze out all juices and oils. The fluids are then filtered to remove all of the solids, including the fruit peel. The oil then separates from the juices, and is able to be collected.
Lavender Essential Oils' healing properties include antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antifungal. In addition, it has analgesic, antispasmodic, detoxifying, sedative, and hypotensive effects.
Lavender essential oil uses and benefits include:
1. It can help to treat Anxiety
In traditional medicine, it has been mentioned that the smell of some plants calms the nerves and promotes feelings of relaxation. But how? Well research suggests that Lavender has a fragrant compound, called Linalool that reduces anxiety. A study by researchers at Japan’s Kagoshima University analysed the effects of Linalool in mice. The results showed that the compound affected the subjects’ brain through smell, and that Linalool found in Lavender reduces anxiety and promotes a sense of calm. Lavender Essential Oil is a great oil to have readily available in the 21st Century, as a report by Beyond Blue states that on average 25% of women and 20% of men will experience anxiety at some stage in their life, and in a twelve month period over two million Australians experience Anxiety.
2. It Induces Sleep
An extremely popular remedy for better sleep, high-quality Lavender essential oil is an effective aromatherapy choice that can help people with insomnia by increasing the time spent in a deep sleep. From a stressful lifestyle to a demanding job, there are several reasons behind sleeplessness which all result in disturbed sleep patterns. Lavender essential oil can be the best way to treat sleep disorders without side effects like grogginess and headache, leaving you feeling rested and revived. Lavender can be inhaled, diffused, applied topically, or sprayed in a mist onto your pillow or around your bedroom to promote feelings of relaxation and better sleep.
3. It Repels Bugs
When summer comes around and the weather warms up, various types of bugs and insects make their way into our homes. Thankfully, essential oils like Lavender have the benefit in keeping them away.
The same constituent (Linalool) that makes us humans sleepy, produces an odour much too strong for bugs, in particular mosquitos to handle making it a great natural remedy to repel bugs. Paired with Peppermint and Eucalyptus it can be a great mist to keep in your car or hand bag.
4. It Improves Skin Health and Appearance
Lavender oil benefits the skin in many ways. It can be best used to treat acne, reduce wrinkles, and lighten the skin. It can also soothe eczema, dry skin, and psoriasis.
How to use Lavender oil for skin health? There are multiple ways to use it for its skin-related benefits of lavender oil.
To Treat Breakouts
The antibacterial properties of the oil can help to prevent and heal breakouts. The best way to use Lavender oil for breakouts is to put it onto the skin either diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil, or directly onto trouble spots. Although, it is always recommended to see a skin therapist to ensure that this is the right treatment for you.
To Lighten the Skin
The aromatic oil is an excellent product for skin lightening. It helps reduce inflammation and also discolouration. Apart from that, lavender essential oil often helps to decrease redness and blotchiness on the skin. Those who suffer from hyperpigmentation on the skin may benefit from using Lavender essential oil on trouble areas.
To Heal scars and burns
Lavender essential oil can aid in healing scars and burns. The magical properties of Lavender essential oil promote healing of the skin tissue. In case of small burns, a few drops of Lavender oil can be blended with a carrier oil and then dabbed onto the burn with a cotton ball. The oil will then assist with reducing scarring on the skin.
To Soothe Eczema
Eczema is a very common itchy inflammation of the skin which can occur on any part of the body, but typically starts on the arms and behind the knees. It makes the skin dry, scaly, and itchy, and although there are various kinds of skin care products on the market for dry and itchy skin, many of them come with side effects, or are simply not effective.
On the other hand, the antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties of Lavender essential oil make it a safe and effective product to treat eczema. A few drops of Lavender in a carrier oil like coconut oil can be rubbed onto the eczema, or even added to your daily moisturiser.
5. It Improves Hair Health
Lavender oil has lots of beneficial properties to support hair health and can be used to treat various kinds of hair problems.
It Curbs Scalp Inflammation
Used topically, Lavender oil can help curb scalp inflammation and dryness. Benefits of using the lavender essential oil are that it can help to reduce inflammation and increase the speed of the healing process. Add a few drops into your shampoo, or create a hair mask out of Coconut oil and Lavender oil.
It Promotes Hair Growth
In addition to treating various kinds of hair problems, the benefits of Lavender oil also include use in stimulating hair growth. Some past studies have also concluded that the oil could be useful in the case of pattern baldness and alopecia.
Lavender Essential Oil - Important things to know
Lavender essential oil or any other essential oil is not recommended for ingestion, unless otherwise stated by your GP or health practitioner.
There are generally varied dosage recommendations depending on your reason for using the oil, and any sensitivities you may have to the oil. It’s recommended that you first test the oil on a patch of skin on the underside of your forearm to prevent side effects of lavender oil. Simply apply a drop to check whether your skin becomes irritated. Feel free to use trial and error to get to your desired dosage, however due to its potency, you generally only need a small amount.
The quality of Essential Oil that you use can go a long way in the quality of results you may see. It is recommended that you use 100% Pure essential oils that have had no other chemicals or compounds added. The oils should also come from organic sources where possible.
To ensure that your essential oils are not altered by the external environment, the bottle seal should be completely intact, and preferably the oils will be stored in a dark coloured bottle to prevent light from heating the oil and altering its magical properties.
The supplier should be straight forward in their method of extraction of the essential oils, as this will go a long way in ensuring the method of extraction is appropriate to the type of oil, and the quality of essential oil is premium.
If you’re interested in high quality Lavender Essential oil or would like to know more about The Better Me Essential Oils, head to our product page.