Sunday, September 12, 2010

Essential Oil Spotlight: Lavandula

Close your eyes and immerse all of your senses in a field of rows upon rows of lavender. Feel the texture as each floret caresses your skin and the breeze rises up with the calming aroma of sweet woodsy floral notes. Relax your muscles, breathe in deeply, and allow your out breath to flow effortlessly, as you feel yourself becoming more relaxed with each breath.

Lavender has long been know to have many healing properties. It dates back thousands of years to the Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks. Lavender is one of the most popular of the essential oils due to its versatility and safety of use. One of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, lavender is soothing, calming, and relaxing.

Lavender’s complex chemical structure makes it a versatile plant. “Perhaps the most important property of Lavender oil is its ability to restore unbalanced states – whether of mind or body – to that state of balance in which healing can take place,” writes Patricia Davis, author of Aromatherapy: A-Z.

It is the French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé that we can thank for realizing the healing properties of lavender and other essential oils. “After burning his hand in a laboratory accident, he plunged his arm into some lavender essential oil. The miraculous effectiveness of lavender in healing his burn led him to further research essential oils, and to use the term aromathérapie for the first time in a scientific paper in 1928, ” writes Gill Farrer-Halls author of The Aromatherapy Bible.

Aromatherapy is the
application of essential oils
for therapeutic purposes


Although lavender is one of the safest of the essential oils, and it is one of the few essential oils that can be applied directly to the skin, it is best for pregnant or nursing women to avoid it altogether. There are no other known cautions.

Before using lavender oil, you may want to make sure you like the scent. For some, essential oil of lavender may be overwhelming.

Having trouble falling asleep? Try placing a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. Or place a few drops on a small washcloth and keep that under or near your pillow.

If you have a headache or feel one coming on, try rubbing a couple of drops on your temples, or apply a cold compress of lavender to your forehead or back of your neck.

To relieve the tensions of the day, try rubbing a couple of drops on your temples, lie down in a comfortable position, and breath in the aroma.

Prefer a bath? Try adding a few drops of lavender oil to your bath water as a soothing alternative to relieve tension and induce relaxation.

If it’s in your budget, try a massage for total relaxation. The use of lavender oil in massage therapy is common and very beneficial for sore muscles and creating deep states of relaxation. “One of the most important uses of lavender is for the relief of muscular pain, whatever the cause,” Davis writes.

There are many ways to purchase essential oils: Whole Foods Market, health food stores, online. It is best if the essential oils is “pure” and not synthetic. Essential oil has a light consistency and is not oily. Essential oil feels light when rubbed on the skin. Oils are best kept in a dark, cool spot. Some lavender oils smell slightly different than others, depending on the type.

Purchase essential oils from a retailer that is knowledgeable about essential oils, so that they can answer your questions. You may have a small soap and bath shop in your area that sells essential oils and other lavender products.

Whether you enjoy the sweet smell of lavender or its calming properties, this complex flower offers itself as a natural remedy for relaxation and self-healing.


From Essential Aromatherapy: A Pocket Guide to Essential Oils & Aromatherapy:

The name is derived from the Roman word lavera, ‘to wash’ as the Romans used the flowers in their baths.


Most valuable uses:
-Insect bites


Interesting note from The Art of Aromatherapy: A Guide to Using Essential Oils for Health and Relaxation:

During Elizabethan times the aromatic oil of lavender was rubbed into oak furniture to give a high gloss. Apart from the enjoyable scent, lavender provided a powerful weapon against moths, fleas, silverfish, and flies. Commercial perfume houses still use essential oil of lavender as the basic ingredient of many fragrances.


I originally wrote this a few years ago as part of a feature writing class in the journalism department. When I was done with this, my final draft, the instructor said I might try to sell it to a local magazine (minus the first paragraph) that often does this type of feature. I never did try. I’m sure every year, an article comes out on lavender. Now after a few years, I decided to type it up, since somehow this one got deleted, but I saved a hard copy. I’ve wanted to post it for a while now—to share.

Hope you have a relaxing Sunday!


Vincent said...

Well, it's definitely the sort of thing that would sell. But I think these things are done to order. You remind me of a couple of articles I wrote about an artist, for an online gallery. I got paid quite well for them! Somehow the words flowed out, as kitschy as the art itself. I'll post them somewhere and give you the link.

Vincent said...

Here is the first.

And here is the second, written after meeting the artist and seeing actual examples of his work.

Rebb said...

That’s where I wouldn’t do so well, or so I think—-to the order. You are right, these things are often done to order and when that is the case, I can become stumped. That is why I just write and don’t worry about attempting to make a living at it. I realize down the road, I may just write a piece of fiction or a play or something, but for now, I’m in a state of bliss when I write, even if everything doesn’t all make it to my blog.

It’s clear that you were able to maintain artistic license and your own voice in both pieces that you shared; and at the same time, you roped yourself in on the second one just enough to appeal to the audience, instead of putting too much of yourself in it. Both were enjoyable, informative, inspiring. Thank you for sharing.