Lavender is often thought of as a caring and nurturing Grandmother. An able multi-tasker, she is wise, serene, compassionate and knows how to cure all of life’s little complications and ills.
1. Getting the right amount of sleep is vital for maintaining health. What happens when we just can’t seem to fall asleep? Thankfully, Lavender essential oil is here to help us drift off. Full of calming compounds, such as esters, Lavender slows the central nervous system and guides us towards peace and hopefully deep sleep. A few drops on a pillow or diffused in the bedroom can help you float off into a healing sleep. A few drops is all that is needed. Too much Lavender can actually have the opposite effect and become too stimulating. A warm bath or shower using Lavender body wash can be very relaxing before bed. There are reports that placing a cotton wool ball with a few drops of Lavender near the air intake vent of a CPAP machine can help the wearer have a more restful sleep. Contact your machine manufacturer to confirm that this is safe for your CPAP model if you would like to try this. Allow the magic of Lavender to make sleep less elusive tonight.
2. Long term stress can lower the immune system, cause muscle pain and fatigue, decrease memory, effect sleep, and weaken digestion. Over time these effects may begin to cause a deterioration of our overall health and eventually could lead to disease. It is vital for our health to monitor stress levels and act if needed. Lavender seems to have an almost adaptogenic action on the nervous system. During periods of extreme stress, this essential oil has a profoundly relaxing action. During normal levels of stress Lavender seems to provide some relaxation but not to the point of sedation, allowing us to get on with the day. In fact, Lavender is often recommended to assist in clear thinking as it can help manage stress levels that cloud our judgement. Lavender can be used in a massage blend, a perfume or in the diffuser to help balance the nervous system. Other essential oils that are useful for alleviating stress include Mandarin, Buddha Wood, Frankincense, Neroli, Copaiba and Sandalwood. Although, any essential oil that you enjoy provides tends to positively enhance your mood.
3. There are many causes of muscular pain including inflammation, overuse and prolonged stress. Lavender has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and sedative properties which combine to make a gentle yet effective muscle soother. Use either a hot or cold compress over the painful area or make a 2.5% dilution of Lavender massage oil to apply gently to tired and tender muscles. Lavender can be used to relieve aching muscles during pregnancy and help with pain caused by neuralgia, arthritis, or PMS. Other essential oils that are commonly used for muscle pain include Black Pepper, Chamomile, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Clary Sage, Kunzea and Wintergreen.
4. Modern aromatherapy began with a tub of Lavender. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse accidently burnt his arm and plunged the painful limb into the nearest tub of liquid. Luckily, the liquid was Lavender essential oil. Gattefosse, impressed with how quickly and well his burn healed, began studying the effects of essential oils on other health complaints. Lavender has many properties that combine to make a powerful skin tonic. Cooling and anti-inflammatory properties help treat burns and sunburn. Lavender also has a strong anti-bacterial and skin growth (cicatrisant) effect that is useful to treat open wounds and minor skin infections including acne. Itchy bug bites can also be treated with a drop of neat Lavender essential oil. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be applied neat to the skin to treat small areas such as wounds, scratches, boils and minor burns.
5. A versatile ingredient that can be used for all skin types. Oily skin can benefit from the cleansing, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial nature of Lavender in the management of acne, pimples and blemishes. Some skin conditions are exacerbated by stress and can usually be improved with the addition of relaxing Lavender to beauty products, face steam or in the diffuser. For normal to dry skin, Lavender is a calming addition to your skin care routine. Rosacea can also be improved with the anti-inflammatory property of Lavender. Try adding 2 drops of essential oil to your moisturiser, face oil or home-made treatment mask.
6. With calming, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and decongestant properties, Lavender is a medicine chest in a bottle when it comes to treating respiratory complaints. A steam inhalation will help combat some strains of bacterial or viral infection in the throat and lungs. The analgesic effect can assist with the management of a sore throat. For asthma brought about by stress or hay fever, try diffusing Lavender and other decongestant essential oils. During the day Rosemary, Peppermint, Eucalyptus and Ravensara are excellent decongestants that also give an energy boost. In the evening soothing Lavender will help alleviate respiratory symptoms and encourage sleep.
7. Lavender is comforting to overwrought spirits, anxious minds and for those lost in a cloud of stress and concern. Lavender is a cooling essential oil that helps temper the heat of anger and frustration. Diffusing a blend of Lavender, Mandarin and Chamomile at about 5 p.m., or whenever cranky o’clock is at in your home, calms tired and irritable children. Because Lavender slows and balances the central nervous system this essential oil is excellent for helping us deal with any level of stress. Lavender also makes a useful addition to a meditation or study blend as it can improve clarity of thought by removing obstacles caused by stress such as an overactive, noisy mind.