I wanted to be sure I made my first entry here about my favorite oil for healing: lavender. Lavender (botanical name: lavendula angustifolia or lavendula officinalis), with its characteristic purple blossoms, is one the more commonly-found and easily-recognized plants out there. It has a long and respected use history (think: ancient Romans or even earlier), and not just for perfumery, but as a reliable and effective therapy to treat a huge range of conditions. In this post I’ll discuss how it works, what some of its best-known uses are, and how I have personally used lavender.
Therapeutically, lavender essential oil is best known for its relaxing, sedating, and healing properties. These properties come about due to the types of molecules that lavender essential is comprised of. There are three main groups of molecules:
—>“alcohols” like linalool and terpinene-4-ol,
—>”esters” like linalyl acetate,
—>”oxides” like 1-8 cineole.
TRUE lavender (not to be confused with spike lavender [lavendula latifolia], lavandin, or any synthetic form) also contains many more molecules and chemical constituents than just those I listed above. Together, they synergistically create lavender’s diverse ranges of powerful effects, including wound-healing, pain-relieving (muscle aches, rheumatism, nerve pain, etc), anti-bacterial, anti-depressant and anti-inflammatory properties, as well as its blood pressure-lowering properties. The nature of the effect always depends on the dose, the area, the length of time, the mode of application, and generally how you use the oil.
Specific Lavender Remedies
1. healing mosquito bites: apply one drop of pure lavender oil to the bite mark area only, gently rub it in for a few seconds then leave it to air dry. Apply again in the same way every few hours. Within two days or less, lavender will stop the swelling of the bite mark and begin to dry it up. You can stop applying it at this point.
2. healing cuts, scrapes, and burns: as soon as possible after the wound occurs, apply as much pure lavender oil as necessary to just barely cover it. If it is still bleeding, you will find the lavender oil will help stop the bleeding almost immediately, and will cut down the pain drastically. Leave the cut with lavender on it to air dry, and re-apply the lavender every 30-minutes to an hour at first (as needed for pain relief and to stop bleeding), then every few hours after that. After the first few days, once a scab has begun to form, you can reduce or stop applying the lavender. By this point, your body’s healing process has already been safely heightened, and you will find the area will heal faster than it typically does, and with little or no scarring.
**Note: This suggestion is for superficial cuts, scrapes and burns. if you have a large or deep cut that goes into the dermis, or a 2nd or 3rd degree burn, or burns covering an area larger than a few square inches on your body, then it is very important you also seek emergency medical care right away to help prevent damage from occurring deep in the body.
3. sleep: In times of stress or insomnia, lavender has a pronounced calming effect on the mind and body, and can help put a stop to racing or looping thoughts that plague so many of us, especially at the end of a long workday. Just place a drop of lavender oil onto your sheet or under your pillowcase before you go to bed, and take a few slow deep breaths once you put your head on the pillow. In this case, lavender works with your sense of smell (called the "olfactory system”) rather than via direct contact with your skin, as there are direct nervous system connections between the human brain and our sense of smell. You’ll find you fall asleep easier, and wake feeling more rested. One of the best parts is that it will NOT make you groggy in the morning and negatively , unlike virtually every prescription or over-the-counter sleep aid you can find.
Selecting a Lavender Essential Oil
You can find lavender essential oil from your local health foods store. Choose bottles that state they are "100% pure” lavender. In general, the only ones with therapeutic properties are 100% pure oils that state the botanical name (in this case, either lavendula angustifolia or lavendula officinalis) on the label. If the bottle says it is or contains a “fragrance” oil, then that product has none of the therapeutic properties I listed above.
If there are multiple brands available, open one of the sampler bottles and take a gentle whiff. Not all lavender brands are alike, and if you are using lavender for sleep or stress, its therapeutic benefits will be affected by your personal liking of the scent.
You can see some examples on my Essential Oil Treatments page of brands of lavender that I have used and found great success with both here in Australia and in the United States.
p.s. - Comments are welcome, as are more lavender recommendations, especially from different parts of the world!
James L Poole
I am a holistic health therapist: Emmett Technique practitioner, aromatherapist, nutritional therapist, and Reiki healer. This is my blog about natural healing.