This week my blog is about one of the most popular and versatile essential oils in the world, and one of my absolute favourites which I use myself on a daily basis – Lavender.
The name Lavender is derived from the Latin verb ‘lavare’ which means, ‘to wash’, and the use of Lavender has been documented for well over 2500 years.
Ancient Egyptians used lavender for many things, including mummification and perfume.
Romans used lavender oil in soaps, bathing and scenting the air and they carried it with them throughout the Roman Empire. They even used it for cooking, and it was recognized in Roman times for its antiseptic and healing qualities.
The Ancient Greeks used lavender to help with common ailments including insomnia and back aches.
As the most used essential oil in the world, its scent is purported to slow down the nervous system, which in turn relaxes the body and mind. It has powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, calming and anti-depressive properties. Lavender oil also works to kill bacteria, is detoxifying and is known to improve mood and sleep (just wow!!)
Lavender is well known for its calming fragrance, and is known to promote relaxation. It is believed to treat anxiety, fungal infections, allergies, depression, insomnia, eczema, nausea, and even menstrual cramps. Today I’m going to touch on two of its main uses – to quell anxiety and agitation, and to promote a restful sleep.
Modern life can be stressful and we all worry about things on a daily basis, so it’s normal to feel stressed from time to time. Sometimes this stress and anxiety can become so severe that completing simple, everyday tasks can become difficult. To cope with this people are often offered anti-depressant medication, however, many of these medications come with a multitude of negative side effects.
There are many natural options to help treat anxiety on a daily basis, and one of my favourite recommendations is using Lavender essential oil to help cope with this anxiety.
Breathing in the scent of lavender essential oil or applying lavender essential oil to the skin sends a message to the limbic system, a brain region which is known to influence the nervous system and helps to regulate emotions.
Many recorded studies have tested lavender oil’s anxiety-reducing effects in specific populations. For example, a study published in Physiology & Behaviour in 2005, focused on 200 people awaiting dental treatment and they found that breathing in the scent of lavender both lessened the anxiety and improved the mood of those waiting.
In 2015 a study published in the Journal of Complementary and Alternative Medicine found a combination of sleep hygiene techniques and lavender essential oil therapy helped college students get a better night’s sleep than sleep hygiene alone. The study of 79 students with self-reported sleep problems also found inhaling lavender at bedtime improved daytime energy and vibrancy.
HOW TO USE LAVENDER OIL
One of the best ways to use lavender oil to reduce anxiety is through inhalation. This can be via a diffuser, or by using wax melts fragranced with Lavender pure essential oil, this will help to apply the lavender oil to a specific room (please note, artificial fragrance oil may smell stronger but will not have the same therapeutic effect), you can even use a high quality oil and rub a few drops into your cupped palms or onto a tissue and simply breathe from your hands.
When diluted in a carrier oil, it can be applied topically to your temples, wrists, back of the neck, or even your feet for an immediate calming effect and for relief of symptoms.
For a peaceful & restful sleep, try using a lavender infused pillow spray before heading to bed or have a warm bath with either a few drops of added lavender oil (diluted in an appropriate carrier oil) or you can add some natural bath salts to your bath that are infused with lavender oil.
Did you know? Lavender is most known for its calming properties…… not just for humans, but for dogs as well, and many of my holistic pet remedies contain lavender as it is safe for dogs when used correctly.
Lavender essential oil may cause skin irritation or an allergic reaction in some individuals. If you experience nausea, vomiting, or a headache after using lavender, discontinue use immediately.
Never take any oils internally and do not apply undiluted essential oils onto the skin
Please consult a qualified aromatherapy practitioner before using oils with children, the elderly, if you are pregnant, have medical issues or are taking medications.
There is no recommended daily allowance for lavender essential oil, however if used topically lavender oil must be diluted with a carrier oil at an appropriate level, and it can then be massaged into your skin or added to your bath.
Please note: If you are suffering from anxiety in any stage, it’s important to speak with a medical professional before changing your diet or lifestyle. Sometimes medication is an important and necessary ingredient for overcoming symptoms.