Lavender Oil: A Closer Look
There is no doubt why lavender oil is one of the most cherished essential oils. Besides being divinely aromatic and incredibly soothing and gentle, it is so versatile and has a nearly endless list of uses and benefits. No matter your aromatherapy experience level, lavender oil should definitely be a staple in your essential oil collection! Lavender is truly timeless. This gorgeous shrub, with long spikes of purple flowers, has been used since ancient times and its popularity is still going strong. Originally only found in the Mediterranean region, lavender is now grown all over the world. Lavender is a member of the mint family, and there are almost 40 different varieties that go by the lavender name. The most common form of lavender is Lavandula angustifolia. Spike lavender, or Lavandula latifolia, is another.
Distilling Lavender Oil
Lavender’s purple flowers are steam distilled to extract their naturally-occurring oils. This process involves passing steam through a chamber holding the raw plant material. The steam continues into a chilled condenser where it returns to liquid state. The resulting liquid consists of both oil and water. The oil is separated, becoming the beautiful lavender essential oil we know and love.
The water that remains after the oil is separated retains therapeutic and aromatic qualities of the distilled plant and is known as a hydrosol. Hydrosols are energetically vibrant water-based distillates that bring a gentle richness to the practice of aromatherapy. Hydrosols are often used as refreshing room sprays, revitalizing tonics, natural first aid remedies, as well as carriers in aromatically stunning aromatherapy blends. Hydrosols are becoming increasingly popular as they are often less potent than their oil counterparts and therefore gentler choices for those with more sensitive systems, such as children. Most Hydrosols can also be applied directly to the skin without diluting, unlike many oils!
Lavender Oil Uses and Benefits
Lavender oil is a jack-of-all-trades in the world of aromatherapy. It is useful on so many levels, working to soothe and calm all three terrains (mind, body, and spirit) and it makes a beautiful addition to blends for all occasions. Here are some of the most popular uses and benefits of lavender oil:
Promotes sleepLavender is often the first essential oil reached for when looking to help promote sleep. Lavender’s calming and soothing properties help relax both the body and mind and is a great support oil in a blend.
Relieves stress and anxietyLavender oil ushers in peace and promotes balance in every aspect of the physical, emotional, and spiritual/energetic terrains.
Reduces pain and inflammation
Lavender oil contains natural components that work to ease pain and reduce inflammation. It is often used in blends to help alleviate muscle aches and tension, ease cramps and spasms, relieve joint pain and rheumatism, soothe sprains, and much more.
Nourishes skin and hair
Lavender oil is a beautiful choice for helping to promote overall skin and hair health and radiance.
Soothes and heals damaged skin
Lavender’s purifying, analgesic, and skin cell regenerative properties make it wonderful for soothing cuts, scrapes, and minor wounds. Lavender can also help soothe skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Lavender oil inhibits bacteria and can help regulate over-production of sebum, the skin’s natural oily secretions.
Naturally Repels Insects
Studies have shown that lavender works naturally to repel insects including mosquitoes, ticks, fleas, lice, and chiggers. Looking for more information on Natural Bug Repellent with Essential Oils? Read more HERE.
Soothes bug bites and stings
Its soothing and pain-relieving properties make lavender oil so helpful for relieving insect bites and stings. Lavender’s purifying abilities also help defend against infection, too!
Lavender oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties, making it a perfect addition to blends intended to purify skin, surfaces, and air.
Lavender Oil Chemistry
Chemical Compound Group: esters and monoterpenols
Main Components: linalool and linalyl acetate
Essential oils in the esters group are known for their calming properties. Essential oils high in the chemical component linalool have been found to reduce feelings of sadness and anxiousness and can also help reduce tension.
Lavender Oil Safety
Lavender oil is accepted as a safe essential oil with very few concerns. However, there are a few cautions worth noting:
- Recommended for external use only.
- If pregnant or breastfeeding, consult with your physician before using any essential oil, including lavender oil.
- We always recommend doing a patch test for sensitivity. Although rare, lavender may cause redness or irritation in those with very sensitive skin.
What Oils Blend Well with Lavender Oil?
The lovely, floral, herbaceous aroma of lavender oil goes well with so many oils. Here are a few of our favorite oils to blend with lavender oil:
- Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia)
- Black Spruce Oil (Picea mariana)
- Cedarwood Oil (Juniperus virginiana)
- Chamomile Roman Oil (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Clary Sage Oil (Salvia sclarea)
- Frankincense Oil (Boswellia carterii)
- Geranium Oil (Pelargonium graveolens var roseum)
- Grapefruit (Rose) Oil (Citrus paradisi)
- Lemon Oil (Citrus limon)
- Lime Oil (Citrus aurantifolia)
- Marjoram (Sweet) Oil (Origanum majorana)
- Orange Sweet Oil (Citrus sinensis)
- Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin)
- Peppermint Oil (Mentha x piperita)
- Rosewood Oil (Aniba rosaeodoraducke)
- Tea Tree Oil (Melaleuca alternifolia)
- Ylang Ylang (Complete) Oil (Cananga odorata var. Genuina)
For the Love of Lavender Oil
Of course, the possibilities of lavender oil don’t stop there. We encourage you to get creative, explore the world of lavender further, and get to know this remarkable essential oil personally!
Looking for some recipe ideas including lavender oil? We’ve got over 70 recipes on our site with a wide variety of therapeutic intentions. Check them out HERE.