The Benefits Of Lavender Aromatherapy

By: Lorna Findlay

Lavender is considered the most useful of all essential oils. Lavender is known to help relieve headaches, insomnia, tension and stress. Its therapeutic properties have been well chronicled all over the world.

Originally an inhabitant of the Mediterranean countries, this perennial herb has long been recognized for its exotic perfume and medicinal properties. Used in past by the ancient Romans for its healing and antiseptic qualities, the name itself comes from the Latin “lavare” or “to wash”. Tibetans still make an edible lavender butter to use as part of a traditional treatment for nervous disorders. Today, the essential oil of lavender is widely used across Europe and North America for a number of illness and medical problems.

Lavender is just a beautiful herb in your garden. It has gray-green, pointing leaves that grow in a bushy, spreading manner. It is crowned with tall spikes of beautiful pale violet flowers during summer. As an ornamental flower, lavender is unique, sporting exotic fragrance, beauty and a rich harvest of sweet smelling blooms. Old English Lavender, a popular inhabitant of a cottage garden, can grow up to two to three feet high, producing fragrant grayish leaves and blue/purple flowers.

The more compact variety Hidcote, has darker blue flowers, grows to around a foot high and is very pretty in any flower or herb garden. The easiest way to propagate lavender is to cut softwood cuttings in the spring. However, as lavender benefits from a light pruning in early autumn, these clippings make excellent new plants too, as long as you protect them from frosts and winter bite.

With its flowery fragrance Lavender is the most versatile and useful oil. If you are a newbie to essential oils, you may need to start here by using lavender oil. Called the “Swiss army knife of essential oils”, because of its versatility, lavender is very soothing to sun burnt skin and is used to cleanse cuts and skin irritations.

Essential oil of lavender is used in aromatherapy practices to get rid of depression, fight tiredness and get relaxation. It has strong disinfectant properties and was even used on the wars to prevent infection and relieve pain. A drop of lavender oil mixed with a teaspoon of carrier oil, such as grape seed and massaged into the temples and back of the neck will drive away headaches. Mixed with any massage oil, it also helps relieve the pain of arthritis or aching muscles. Occasionally, just a small cotton ball with droplets of lavender near your pillow can help you drift off to a deep sleep.

Lavender essential oil can help reduce anger and frustration, while improving your self esteem. Lavender is found to elicit the emotion of happiness. Lavender has a property of calming and sedating effects. You can also use lavender, by scenting a relaxing and antiseptic bath by slowly adding lavender droplets and letting the bath water run over it as it fills the bath. Fresh lavender flowers are excellent for bath too.

Dried lavender is a tool to experience the sheer aromatic properties in a relaxed ambience. To dry your lavender, strip the leaves or the just opening flowers from the stalk and spread out in a warm place, before using in pot pourris to fragrance your rooms. Around your home, dried lavender stalks can be burned like incense sticks or burned on the fire for their wonderful fragrance.

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