Saturday, November 6, 2010

Lavender Essential Oil - Where It All Begins

Should you ever have a desire to get aquainted with essential oils, may I suggest starting with lavender (INCI: Lavendula Angustfolia). It has a multitude of uses, offers several uncontested beneficial properties, and is gentle enough to be tolerated by the most sensitive of skins.

Among lavender's active ingredients is linalool, documented for having a calming effect. Aromatherapists will tell you that lavender helps promote sleep, making it ideal for the bedroom.

In the early 1900's, lavender was frequently used in French Hospitals to 'cleanse the air'. This is not without merit, as lavender is, among other things, a disinfectant. Although lavender essential oil is (thankfully) not among the priciest, there are several varieties to choose from. My favorite lavender (Lavender Fine Population) originates in France, but lavender essential oil is also available from Australia, Bulgaria, South Africa, and Croatia (among others).

Uses
Lavender can successfully be mixed with numerous other essential oils for a synergistic effect, but also has an incredible amount of power on its own. It is without a doubt the most effective skin calming ingredient for sunburn (mix it with aloe vera and you've got a sure-fire winner). I have used it succesfully in foot creams (it is anti-fungal), in shampoo and body wash (it has a natural scent of freshness and cleanses gently but efficiently), in skin mists (it's anti-inflammatory properties makes it ideal for an after-sun spray), in deodorant, face masks, and aftershave.

Additional Properties of Lavender
- promotes healing (great as a soothing skin mist for scrapes, burns, small cuts)
- antibacterial
- analgesic
- disinfectant 
- antisceptic

Natural Air Freshener Tip: before vacuuming the house, drip some tissue paper with about 5-6 drops of lavender essential oil, then cut up the tissue and vacuum up the pieces. Your house will have a gorgeous fresh smell by the time you have finished vacuuming. (This also works well with lemon essential oil)

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