Lavender is an incredibly versatile oil that soothes both physically and mentally.
Lavender is the most widely used essential oil in the world. Its calming aroma is easily recognizable, and it is used in many cultures to improve personal health and foster a peaceful state of mind. Lavender is made from the purple flowers of the lavender plant, grown in Mediterranean climates. It takes over 60 pounds of flowers to create just 16 ounces of therapeutic grade lavender oil.
Here are some ways in which to use this incredibly versatile oil. You can do so aromatically (using an essential oil diffuser, available at health food stores or holistic medicine providers) or topically (applying the essential to your body by means of a carrier oil).
Promote better sleep:
Lavender has a deeply calming effect and will relieve insomnia. Apply it to the bottoms of your feet (which have the largest pores on your body), or diffuse in the bedroom. Do so prior to naps and bedtime, both for kids and adults.
Help yourself relax:
Lavender can reduce stress and anxiety and soothe intense emotions. Apply a drop of pure oil to your neck, wrists, and chest, in place of perfume or cologne. Diffuse throughout a room, or put a drop on a clay pendant that hangs around your neck.
Soothe irritated skin:
In the same way that lavender calms emotions, it can also soothe physical irritations, inflammation and redness. Apply via carrier oil to diaper rash, chapped lips, itchy rashes, dandruff, and infant cradle cap. You can use a couple drops when mixing a solution for homemade baby wipes.
Use it to heal:
Lavender oil can be used on burns, scratches, insect bites, bruises, sunburns, and cuts. Use it after a workout to minimize muscle soreness. It is also effective at reducing motion sickness when rubbed into bottom of feet. If you have a newborn, use it to heal the umbilical cord stump (always with a carrier oil).
Reduce allergic reactions:
Lavender has a powerful antihistamine effect, especially when used together with lemon and peppermint. Inhaling lavender oil can relieve symptoms of hay fever and allergies to cats, dogs, dust, etc. Clinical aromatherapist Catherine Garro recommends the following routine:
“Drop a drop in my hand and dab a bit under my nose, with my index finger. Then I rub some in a very large circle around my eyes, keeping the oil above my eyebrow and under my cheekbone to stop it getting into my eye. I find this really effective for when eyes are swollen and itchy. Then I rub my hands together and cup them over my face and take a deep inhalation several times. Repeat as soon as the sneezing starts again. This could be in 20 minutes to several hours.”
You can read more about the surprising scoop on essential oils on MNN.
These recommendations do not replace a physician's care. Please see your doctor if you have any health concerns.