5 healing properties of lavender oil
Close your eyes and picture yourself standing in a field bursting with purple blooms and the sweet aroma of lavender, the most used essential oil in the world. No wonder why — it has powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, calming and antidepressive properties. When you read about the 5 healing properties of lavender oil, it won’t surprise you that lavender oil has been around for much of human history.
Ancient Romans, Greeks, Egyptians and Indians used the herb for medicinal, therapeutic and culinary purposes. There was even a slight scent of lavender in King Tut’s tomb when it was opened in 1923. It was there for 3000 years. There’s even references about the healing properties of lavender oil in biblical texts and medical journals.
At a glance
Botanical Name: Lavandula Angustifolia
Places of Origin: Bulgaria, Greece
Extraction Method: Steam distilled
Plant Part: Flower
Aroma: Floral, sweet, herbal
Origins of Lavender
The two types of lavender used in essential oils are Lavender Bulgaria and Lavender Greece. Both are also known as English Lavender, Garden Lavender, True Lavender, Common Lavender and Narrow-Leaved Lavender.
Lavender Greece is the sweeter of the 2, while the Bulgaria variety has a sharper, heavier scent. If you like a more herbal type of scent, this one is for you. It is personal preference, as they both offer the same calming and healing properties.
Science has recently started evaluating the health benefits that lavender oil contains, which are pretty amazing, and since lavender oil is gentle enough to apply to the skin, it is a must-have for your box of oils. Lavender is one of the most popular oils in the world, and here’s why:
- Lavender improves sleep;
- Restores skin complexion and reduces skin blemishes;
- Heals burns and wounds to the skin;
- Relieves pain;
- Reduces anxiety and stress
Lavender for sleep
That’s why so many bedtime products are lavender-scented – from bubble baths and lotions, to eye pillows and candles.
Inhaling lavender reduces sleep disturbances, and improves the duration and quality of sleep. Diffuse the oil in your bedroom, blend it into a carrier oil or lotion, or mix a few drops of lavender oil, magnesium oil and chamomile oil, rub into the back of your neck and wrists, and go to sleep!
My own favorite for a bath: 15 drops of lavender oil and 1 cup of Epsom salts. Incredibly relaxing!
Skin-care and anti-aging
Lavender is great for your skin-care routine. This oil is gentle enough to soothe the skin, and combined with a carrier oil, is great to nourish and hydrate your skin and hair. Lavender oil has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties, so the benefits to your skin are profound, especially when mixed with a nourishing carrier oil such as almond.
Combine 3 to 4 drops of lavender oil with about a half-teaspoon of carrier oil and massage into whatever part of your body needs relief.
My favorite: Mix lavender oil with frankincense oil and apply it to your skin and face in the morning and before bed. Due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties, it reduces inflammation and signs of aging. Plus it smells amazing, and the frankincense is a throw-back to the ’60s.
Lavender oil and skin burns go back a long way. The Greeks and Romans used it to treat burns in ancient times. First and some second degree burns can be helped quickly and safely.
Since lavender oil is an anti-microbial, it will help fight infections, lessen blistering and scarring, and promote healing. Most importantly it will help relax and keep you calm under stressful conditions.
When lavender oil is mixed with other oils, it’s antimicrobial ability is enhanced. Clove, cinnamon and tea tree oil, when mixed with lavender oil in a 1:1 ratio, was found to be quite effective in fighting many fungal and bacterial infections that could lead to skin funguses.
Reduces pain and inflammation
Lavender oil either by itself or in combination with another oil like peppermint, may help with migraine support and relief. That’s because it is a natural painkiller!
Rubbing the lavender oil into painful areas can reduce inflammation and pain intensity. A great combo for neck pain is lavender, marjoram, peppermint and black pepper oils, applied daily. Plus, for you ladies with monthly cramps — massage the oil into your lower abdomen for some relief.
Try this as a muscle rub for post-workout pain relief or for headaches:
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup grated beeswax
2 teaspoons cayenne pepper
2 teaspoons ginger or turmeric powder
15 drops lavender essential oil
15 drops peppermint essential oil
Pour the coconut oil into a jar. Place a saucepan wtih 2 inches of water over medium heat. Place the jar into the saucepan and allow contents to melt. Add cayenne, ginger or turmeric. Combine, and allow to cool slightly. Add the essential oils and mix well. Store in glass container or jar.
Relief from anxiety
You know that feeling of worry and a vague sense of foreboding — that anxious voice inside your head that just won’t go away.
Well, I am here to tell you that lavender oil has been shown to reduce those anxiety symptoms. Using lavender oil on your skin or inhaling lavender can help you feel calm, and relieve anxiety symptoms. Try this with 3 drops of lavender oil in the palm of your hand, and rub into your neck, wrist and temples.
You can also diffuse the oil, inhale it from the bottle or add about 10 drops to your bath to fight anxiety symptoms.
Other uses for lavender oil
- Add lavender to your massage oil,
- Add to a carrier oil and use it in the bath,
- Directly inhale it from the bottle,
- Give yourself a mini-facial with a few drops of lavender oil in a bowl of hot water,
- Apply to wrists and behind ears as a perfume,
- Use as a linen spray by filling a spray bottle with water and adding a few drops of oil,
- Dilute with a carrier oil to use as part of your daily beauty regimen,
- Apply to insect bites and skin irritations
- Add to a shampoo or conditioner to help soothe the scalp,
- Diffuse in your house during the day for a calming effect.
Side effects and precautions
Most of the time, using lavender oil is completely safe – but not a lot of scientific research has been done on the oil’s interactions with other medications, pregnant women and other situations where caution is warranted.
- Since lavender can make you sleepy or very relaxed, keep in mind that it can increase the effectiveness of any meds you are using for sleep issues. That would also include those cough and cold medications that have a sedative effect. Also, got any operations coming up? Stay away from lavender oil for a few days prior.
- Lavender is generally safe for children, but use with caution. I say this because there is some concern that lavender’s effect on hormone levels could be harmful for boys prior to puberty. There’s not strong evidence to support this, but I have read enough about it to mention it here. Just use caution.
- Any reason why you would want to ingest lavender oil? Studies have shown that there are no negative symptoms when ingesting small amounts, but why would you want to? Let’s leave it there. I’m not a scientist and couldn’t find much info on this. No reason to ingest it. Keep it on your skin, on your pillow, in the air. Be safe.
Blending with other oils
The healing properties of lavender oil complement many other oils, including:
- Pink Grapefruit
- Ylang Ylang
I will leave you with my favorite recipe of all time:
Ice Cold Lavender Towels
- 5 to 10 drops of lavender oil
- 3 cups water
In a large bowl, add the water and the oil. Cover towel with the mixture, then wring out the excess. Pop into the freezer and use when you need relief from a workout, gardening or a long day in the sun. Enjoy!