Lavender 101 – Everything you need to know

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender (lavandula) is one of the most popular and well-loved essential oils in the world. Derived from flowers in the mint family that range from blue to purple in colour, lavender has a clean and refreshing floral scent and has been used for centuries for its fragrant and healing properties.

Its most commonly known origin is France, so if you’re picturing sprawling fields in shades of amethyst, mauve, and periwinkle sweeping over the warm countryside of Provence, you’re not alone; however, lavender is actually native to multiple regions of Europe, north and eastern Africa, southwest Asia, and southeast India. Today it’s grown internationally, from personal gardens to commercial lavender farms.

Lavender’s soothing yet fresh fragrance makes it a favourite around the house, whether in dried bundles to scent closets, in diffusers or potpourri in common living spaces, and in household products like natural cleaners, soaps, and skincare. Its best known healing properties are its ability to induce a sense of calm and well being, and to act as a natural sleep aid.

A Brief History of Lavender

Lavender been used medicinally and in ritual for more than 2,500 years. In ancient Rome, it was savoured for its aromatic properties and was commonly used for bathing, scenting the home, and as an aromatic cooking ingredient, while in ancient Egypt it was used as both a perfume and as part of the sacred mummification process.

The Latin name Lavare means “to wash”, a fitting nod to its clean aroma, and antibacterial and disinfectant properties. It is prominent today in all sorts of cleaning products, from counter sprays to laundry detergents, organic hand soaps to gentle body washes, and perfumes to beauty products. You may have also come across it in gourmet ice creams, perfumey cocktails, infused into desserts, or as an ornamental garnish.

 

Lavender Properties

  • Antibacterial
  • Antiviral
  • Antiseptic
  • Antifungal
  • Disinfectant
  • Pain relief
  • Digestive aid
  • Reduces tension
  • Calms nerves and reduces anxiety
  • Helps alleviate depression
  • Promotes relaxation
  • Eases respiratory issues
  • Enhances circulation
  • Promotes healthy sleep
  • Migraine and headache relief
  • Helps with depression
  • Increases mental activity
  • Reduces signs of scarring
  • Helps prevent hair loss

 

Fun Uses for Lavender Essential Oil

Traveler’s Perfume: Not only does lavender smell incredible, but it’s also a natural bug repellent, making it the perfect summer or tropical travel fragrance. Add a few drops to your moisturizer or mix with a carrier oil and massage into any exposed skin. As a bonus, lavender oils doubles as a bug bite remedy, so it’s a handy items to pack any time mosquitos or other pesky bugs might be around.

Soothing Sleep Ritual: Whether you suffer from insomnia, want a deeper sleep, or just love the idea of a bedtime ritual, lavender is the ultimate aromatherapy choice for the bedroom. For maximum tranquility, add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a cotton pad and slip it inside your pillowcase, then fill your diffuser with a 50/50 mix of lavender and cedarwood essential oil. Right before you crawl under the blankets, rub 2 drops of lavender oil into the sole of each foot.

Glowing Skin Serum: Lavender is said to help with acne, wrinkles, and to speed up healing from burns, cuts, and other wounds, making it a healing addition to your existing beauty ritual. Try mixing a drop to your favourite serum or face moisturizer before bedtime, and enjoy the soothing fragrance while the lavender settles in to works its magic.

Powerhouse Blend: If you find yourself in a moment of high stress at work and want to relax without totally losing your edge, try rubbing 1-2 drops of lavender between your palms and inhaling deeply. While lavender has anti-anxiety effects and can help calm your nerves, it also heightens mental activity so you’ll still be able to focus and hustle.

 

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Bianca Bartz

I'm a communications consultant, brand storyteller, aspiring photographer, and happiest when I wander. I love to travel for balance, and feel a sense of home anywhere I can journal or unroll a yoga mat. My favourite essential oils are lavender, grapefruit, and eucalyptus.

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