The usage of the lavender plant is believed to have started more than 2,000 years ago in the Mediterranean and Middle East. Even in India, the plant has been used for centuries for its versatility. Today, one of the main reasons this plant is grown is its essential oil. Also known for its genus name Lavandula, lavender actually has 47 known species, and it is from one of these species, the Lavandula angustifolia, that we mostly get the lavender oil we buy in the market. This particular specie yields essential oil with sweet overtones, which is why you’ll find it mostly in cosmetics, salves, balms, and perfumes.
Top Uses of Lavender Essential Oil
Being one of the most versatile botanicals, lavender is used in many different ways. Its flowers, in particular, are used in home decors, in crafting, and even in potpourris. On the other hand, its essential oil is usually added to body care and cosmetic products such as soaps and perfumes. It’s even used as ingredient in many household cleaning and laundry detergent brands. Here are some of the top applications of this very useful essence.
Lavender Bath and Shower – Lavender oil is excellent for relaxation and can effectively relieve aching muscles. Some people add 6 to 8 drops to their bath water, mixing it with a capful of Epsom salt or milk. You can also use it for your hair. Simply add 3 drops to a capful of water and use it on your hair as you would use shampoo.
Lavender Massage – Using lavender oil for massage is a great way to treat tight and sore muscles. Never use this oil on its own, but always mix it with good quality carrier massage oil.
Lavender Vaporization – If you have a vaporizer at home, adding 6 to 8 drops of lavender essential oil to it is a good way to take advantage of its benefits. It’s especially useful whenever you’re feeling unwell.
Lavender Inhalation – Lavender essential oil can also be used for inhalation to treat colds and flu. Simply add 4 to 6 drops to a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam while covering the top of your head with a towel.
Lavender Hand and Foot Bath – This is one of the best applications of lavender essential oil. By adding 4 to 6 drops of the oil to a large bowl of warm water, you can already have an excellent way to treat sore hands and tired feet.
Top Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
If there is one reason that the growth and production of lavender is increasing, it’s the health benefits it can give. Lavender is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal, and antiseptic properties, which is why its use it not only limited to cosmetics. Today, lavender essential oil is widely used for these health reasons:
Wound closure can progress more rapidly when treated with lavender essential oil. It has powerful antiseptic properties, and when applied topically onto cuts or wounds, it helps heal the wounds quickly by increasing cell growth. It also protects the wound from infection by its antimicrobial properties. If you have a wound, you can dilute lavender essential oil with a carrier oil such as jojoba or olive oil and then applying it to the wound to promote faster healing.
A study done by the University of Coimbra found that lavender essential oil was lethal to a wide range of skin-pathogenic fungal strains. It has anti fungal properties and works by destroying the cell membrane of fungi that cause infection. It is especially portent against fungi that’s usually responsible for common nail and skin problems.
Just like most types of essential oil, lavender essential oil has soothing abilities and is excellent to use when you’re suffering from chronic fatigue and low energy. It can be applied on the forehead to treat mental fatigue. It can also be applied on the chest area to increase bodily energy.
Experts say that there is still much study to be done to prove the effectiveness of lavender in treating sleep problems like insomnia. However, one study done in Keukdong College in Korea suggests that the fragrance or aroma released by lavender has beneficial effects on women with insomnia and depression.
Lavender essential oil has been found to be effective in treating this embarrassing skin condition. The oil has properties that help relieve itching related to eczema. It also promotes skin moisturization, which decongests irritated areas of the skin and accelerates healing process.
Premenstrual Emotional Syndrome
PMS or Premenstrual Emotional Syndrome is something that 80% of women all over the world have to deal with every month. A study in Japan reports that lavender aromatherapy treatment could help alleviate premenstrual emotional symptoms. Perhaps this is due to the ability of lavender to improve blood circulation and help naturally balance hormone, thereby reducing the symptoms.
There have been a number of studies that show the effectiveness of lavender essential in treating anxiety. Lavender has soothing and calming effects and is often used for promoting relaxation. If you’re suffering from anxiety disorder, the anti-convulsive and sedative effects of lavender essential oil might be able to help you. You can either use lavender oil for hand massages or place a live lavender plant in one corner of your room to receive the benefits.
Other Uses Of Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is not only good in promoting health, but is also used for treating skin problems.
If you have dry and itchy scalp that results to dandruff, you can use lavender essential oil to treat the problem. Simply mix 15 drops of lavender oil with 2 tablespoons of almond oil or olive oil and then heat the mixture for not more than 10 seconds. You can then massage the mixture onto your scalp and wash it with mild shampoo an hour later.
Hair loss is also a problem that’s no match for lavender essential oil. Massaging your scalp regularly with lavender oil will help improve hair growth and control hair loss by increasing blood circulation. Since it also cures stress and insomnia, which are the common reasons for hair loss, you can rest assured that using it regularly with keep your crown healthy.
Lavender has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, making it an effective treatment for insect bites and stings. Adding a few drops of lavender oil on the area with the insect bite will greatly reduce the itching and swelling. Aside from being an excellent treatment for insect bites, it’s also a great way to keep insects away. The oil’s strong aroma is repulsive to insects such as mosquitoes and will definitely keep them at bay.
Again, thanks to the anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of lavender, it can play a huge role in healing minor burns. After keeping a burn under running water for several minutes, you can apply a few drops of lavender essential oil to the burnt area to soothe the pain and reduce swelling. Lavender oil is not only good for treating the burn, but for reducing the appearance of the scar caused by the burn or wound as well.
Precautions To Take When Using Lavender Essential Oil
There is no question that lavender is one of the most versatile botanicals today. The plant itself and its essence have been used for hundreds of years and have been found to be truly beneficial. However, this doesn’t mean that it can be used freely. When consumed, it may be toxic and may cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting. It is also not advisable to inhale lavender oil undiluted or use it directly on the skin, but should always be mixed with hot water or with another carrier oil. Finally, it has been found to cause breast growth in young boys, and shouldn’t be used on children.
Despite that, lavender oil is still no doubt a very useful substance, and its benefits clearly outweigh its possible side effects. To stay on the safe side, talk to your physician before using it and take time to understand it and how to use it properly.