5 Unexpected Benefits of Lavender Oil
Ask somebody what they think lavender oil can be used for and aiding restful sleep is likely to be at the top of the list, but it has some surprising other benefits too. I’m excited to reveal another 5 unexpected benefits of lavender oil in this blog…
The name lavender comes from the Latin word ‘lavare’, meaning ‘to wash’. The Romans used this fragrant flowering plant extensively: as a scent to freshen their clothes, beds and baths and also for its medicinal benefits.
France is the most recognised grower of lavender for use as an essential oil but the original English lavender was cultivated in Mitcham, Surrey, an area once known as ‘the lavender capital of the world’. Carshalton Lavender, a not-for-profit community project protects this important local heritage and opens their lavender field to the public for a harvest weekend every July. In 2009 they distilled lavender oil in Carshalton for the first time in over a century.
Keeping lavender oil in your first aid kit can prove invaluable for a number of minor conditions. Diluted in a carrier oil, it can be applied to the skin to treat cuts and grazes; its natural antiseptic properties inhibit bacteria growth and help to prevent infection. If you weren’t quick enough to use it to keep the insects away in the first place then you’ll need it if you get mauled by midges or mosquitos: apply it to the bites and it will alleviate the redness and itching.
It can also be used to soothe colds, flu and headaches associated with nasal congestion: try either gently massaging your sinuses with diluted lavender oil or putting a few drops into hot water and inhaling the steam.
Lavender oil is cytophylactic which means it promotes rapid cell healing and therefore is an extremely useful for many different injuries. Its ability to repair skin was first discovered by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé in 1910, after he burnt his hands during an experiment. He used lavender essence to rinse the affected area and was impressed by how quickly the oil was able to not only stop but also reverse the effects of the developing gas gangrene. Gattefossé then worked with doctors to use lavender and other essential oils to treat wounded soldiers during the war.
Mixed with peppermint oil, lavender oil provides cooling relief from sunburn and sunstroke and its assistance with cell renewal means that it’s also an excellent anti-ageing ingredient. You can also just use lavender oil on it’s own.
Lavender oil contains a mild analgesic, so it’s a good one to have to hand if you’ve been playing sports or over-doing it in the garden. Blend it into massage oil or add it to a warm bath to soothe muscle aches and pains.
Studies have found that using lavender oil can significantly help to lower post-operative pain after surgical procedures and, obviously, it doesn’t carry the same risk of side effects that medicinal painkillers do. In one particular analysis, a group of patients recovering from breast biopsy surgery were given aromatherapy treatments with lavender oil and reported higher satisfaction with their pain management than the control group, who didn’t use the oil.
You may already have citronella candles in your garden to keep the bugs and moths away but did you know that lavender oil can also be highly effective at repelling them? The insecticidal properties of lavender have actually been used for many centuries to keep flying nasties at a distance.
It’s versatile too: you can either combine it with a carrier oil or moisturising cream and apply it directly to your skin or mix 30 drops into 50ml of distilled water. Using this in a spray bottle you can cover the area around you with the lavender liquid and stay bug-free.
It can also be used as a natural way to control tick and flea infestations – always an irritating issue in the summertime – no need to drench your beloved pets in harmful chemicals!
It helps you stay calm
If you suffer from anxiety, lavender oil could be a valuable addition to your self-care toolkit. Lavender is well-known for its relaxing and sedative properties. It has a balancing effect on mood and can be used alongside other treatments to help people with bi-polar or hysteria disorders. Breathing in the scent of lavender oil or massaging it into the skin sends a calming message to the central nervous system, via the limbic area of the brain.
As you may already know I’m a huge supporter of Carshalton Lavender and I’ve created a unique range of natural skincare, bodycare and room & linen mists that use this local essential oil.
Carshalton Lavender invites you to South London’s only Pick Your Own Lavender Harvest on Saturday 30th & Sunday 31st July! At this event you can get the opportunity to
- walk among lavender
- enjoy the natural scent in the open air
- pick the lavender and just pay for what you pick
- learn how the oil is distilled from the flowers
- purchase some pure essential oil, floral water and lavender skin & body care
- enjoy hot and cold food and refreshments and stalls selling lots of lavender related products!
I will have a stall there too so you can sample the whole range of products using this beautiful oil.
On behalf of Carshalton Lavender and I – we hope to see you there! Click on flyer images below to read more and visit www.carshaltonlavender.org for more details.