Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia
Lavender is an indispensable essential oil — it’s not only useful to have at home but many people won’t leave home without it. In a sense, it’s the mother of all essential oils: incredibly versatile, yet powerful. The aroma doesn’t suit all tastes, but when someone suffers a minor burn or scald, a cut or graze, an insect bite or a headache, a tooth abscess or sleeplessness, it’s lavender they call for.
Not only is a spectacular healer that also prevents scarring, it’s a mood tonic that brings calm, relaxation, and stress relief. The oil is a natural antiseptic, antibiotic, and slightly antifungal agent that’s also a sedative and antidepressant. Although not known specifically as a circulatory stimulant, the oil certainly seems to allay the effects of clinical shock. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that could be applied undiluted to the skin in certain acute conditions
Type of plant: A shrubby evergreen bush with silver, spike-shaped, grayishgreen leaves and flowers in various shades of lavender to purple on top of tall, stiff stems
Part used: Flowering tops
Method of extraction: Steam and CO2 distillation
Data: The plant is harvested in midsummer, left to dry for a couple of days to maximize the aroma, then distilled. Wild French lavender, grown at high altitude — over 2,800 feet — is categorized as “true” French lavender, particularly when grown in the Alpes de Haute region of Provence. Generally in France, lavender grows above 1,650 feet. Today lavender is grown in many countries, each version having somewhat different properties. The ancient Greeks, Persians, and Romans burned lavender in rooms where people were sick. The word lavender is derived from the Latin word lavera, “to wash,” because the Romans used the flowers in their baths.
Principal places of production: France, United Kingdom, Bulgaria, Hungary, Croatia, China, Russia, Tasmani
When buying look for: Colorless to yellow-tinged liquid with a fresh, soft, floral, herbaceous aroma
Therapeutic properties: Analgesic, anthelmintic, antibacterial, antidepressant, anti-infectious, anti inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antivenomous, calmative, cicatrizing, cytophylactic, sedative, soporific, spasmolytic, vulnerary
Therapeutic uses: Inflammatory conditions, skin infection, wounds, cuts, grazes, rashes, itching, stress related eczema, nervous psoriasis, sunburn, burns, muscular spasm, muscular contraction, abdominal cramp, headache, migraine, insomnia, nervousness and related conditions, acne, pimples, insect bites, stress, tension, anxiety, tension, panic; insect deterrent
Blends well with: Basil linalol, bergamot, black pepper, cedarwood, chamomile german, chamomile roman, clary sage, cypress, elemi, eucalyptus lemon, eucalyptus radiata, frankincense, geranium, ginger, ginger lily root, grapefruit, greenland moss, immortelle, juniper berry, lemon, lemongrass, mandarin, manuka, marjoram (sweet), melissa, myrtle, niaouli, orange (sweet), oregano, palmarosa, petitgrain, pine, plai, ravensara, ravintsara, rose maroc, rosemary, rose otto, spearmint, spikenard, spruce, tangerine, tea tree, thyme linalol, valerian, vetiver, yarrow
Precautionary advice: No contraindications known. GRAS status.