Lavender has been in documented use for over 2,500 years, with its name coming from the Latin root “lavare”, meaning “to wash”. It most likely earned its name because it was frequently used in baths to purify the body and spirit.
Lavender was used by the Ancient Egyptians for embalming and cosmetics, jars have been recovered from tombs filled with unguents containing this herb. These were only used by royal families and priests in massage oils and medicines. When King Tut’s tomb was opened in 1923, there was said to be a faint scent of lavender that could still be detected an incredible 3,000 years later.
Queen Elizabeth I is reported to have drunk Lavender tea to treat her frequent migraines, with its history of traditional use ranging from the treatment of lice to use as a sleep aid and a calming restorative. Lavender has been used for millenia to relax and calm the mind - pillows were stuffed with dried lavender flowers, so important was this herb deemed to be for a good night's sleep.
Lavender oil is comprised mainly of linalyl acetate and linalool - phytochemicals that are absorbed rapidly into the bloodstream. Research shows that these compounds inhibit several neurotransmitters causing a sedative and anxiolytic effect.
If you suffer from restless nights then Lavender has been proven to increase the time to awaken after first falling asleep. One study showed that Lavender increased the percentage of deep or slow-wave sleep in all of the group tested, and all of the individuals reported feeling more refreshed and energetic the next morning.
Lavender has been used for centuries as a remedy for anxiety and depression. It has a complex mix of active components including "terpenes" - small molecules that are absorbed into the bloodstream via the nose or lungs. They are so small that they easily cross the blood/brain barrier and have an impact on neurological processes.
Lavender has been proven as effective at treating anxiety as its pharmaceutical counterparts. In a study published in the journal "Phytomedicine", it was shown that lavender helps with restless, nervousness, anxiety and insomnia.
Another study by the “International Journal Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that supplementing with 80mg capsules of Lavender Oil alleviated anxiety, restless sleep and depression without any unpleasant side effects.
Lavender Essential Oil has very powerful antiseptic properties. Applying it to wounds can not only increase cell growth causing the wound to heal faster, but it also decreases the appearance of scars. The anti-microbial action of Lavender Oil protects scrapes and wounds from infection, while allowing them heal.
Lavender Oil has a well documented history of effectively treating burns and scalds as well. Its pain relieving properties, combined with its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic properties make it an effective burn treatment that stimulates the cells to regenerate more quickly, and prevent scarring.
Lavender has long been used as a digestive aid. It improves the motility of intestinal tract, allowing food to pass through more readily. Gastric juice production, including bile, is increased which improves digestion and nutrient absorption. Colic, vomiting, and flatulence can all be helped through the use of this herb. An interesting benefit is that Lavender gently inhibits the growth of pathogens, but according to one study, it doesn't harm beneficial bacteria. How it distinguishes between harmful and beneficial bacteria is a still a mystery.
As a digestive aid, lavender oil can be taken as a tea.
Lavender Hydrolat has naturally soothing and calming properties. For the skin it can help to calm down irritation and itching, inflammation and redness. It makes an excellent facial cleanser and toner that is especially suited to sensitive skin. With natural sedative qualities, Lavender Hydrolat can be spritzed onto bed linen and used as a bedroom air freshener to create the perfect environment for a sound night's sleep.
Use 1 heaped tsp of dried Lavender flowers to 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 - 15 minutes.
Lavender Essential Oil:
Use 10 - 18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil. Use up to 10 drops per bath.
Can also be added to massage oils, creams and used in an oil diffuser to create an atmosphere of calm.
For burn relief and to heal cuts, scrapes or wounds, mix 3–5 drops of lavender oil with ½ teaspoon of coconut oil and apply the mixture to the area of concern.
Lavender Hydrolat can be used as a facial spritzer, cleanser and toner. With naturally soothing properties it is ideal for use on irritated skin, insect bites, sunburn and allergic reactions.
Can be added to water or fruit juice.
Traditionally Taken: 2 - 3ml up to 3 times per day, or as directed by a Herbal Practitioner.
Borneol, cineol (mainly in English Lavender, only a trace in French), geraniol, linalool, limonene, linalyl acetate, linalyl butrate, pinene, tannin.