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Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender Essential Oil

IMG_4802My favorite lavender memory is from last summer in the Provence region of France. We were staying in a  country home that had hundreds of lavender bushes. The groundskeepers harvested the lavender by cutting the spikes and they threw them in the playhouse in the back yard to dry. I went outside to see how much had been harvested and when I opened the door to the playhouse, I was met with an overwhelming aroma of lavender – it was amazing!

Though the photo cannot possibly do that moment justice (the lavender in the picture was thigh deep), it evokes a strong memory and I can still smell that room… ahhh!

Lavender dryingLavender has historically been used for perfumes, but its strong healing properties for burns is unsurpassed by any other oil. It was discovered to be a powerful treatment for burns when a french scientist, Rene Gattefosse, had an explosion in his lab and sustained a burn on his hand. He dunked his hand in the closest thing he found, a vat of lavender oil. He came away with not so much as a blister from the experience. This led, of course, to much more experimenting and many more discoveries were made about other healing qualities of lavender. Among the therapeutic qualities of lavender are:

  • antiseptic (kills germs)
  • anti-viral
  • anti-inflammatory
  • anti-fungal
  • relaxant
  • ant-spasmodic
  • carminative (relieves gas)
  • anti-depressant
  • mildly sedative
  • speeds healing
  • relaxes nervous system

One of my earliest classes in aromatherapy taught us to not worry as much about which oil, but use any oil! All oils have many varied uses. I recommend finding several oils you enjoy the smell of and getting familiar with their uses. You don’t need a lot of oils, just pick several and start using them.

Enjoy!

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