Just hearing the word evokes the sense of smell. Herbaceous and crisp, yet fresh and floral. At least that’s how it’s supposed to be
For many years companies have been using the lavender “smell” in products from soaps and shampoos to cleaning products and candles. I think we have become accustomed to an overly flowery, sweet smell that isn’t anything like true lavender. Yes, it smells good but the real stuff smells even better.
There is much more to lavender than smell, however. It has been used for thousands of years for things such as aches, insomnia, disinfecting, embalming, washing and cosmetics in areas such as Egypt, Greece, Rome, and Arabia. It gained popularity in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Victorian eras and was commonly found in herb gardens and used as a medicinal in addition to it’s beauty usages. It really was, and still is, an all purpose herb and oil.
Maybe you are wondering what exactly an essential oil is? An essential oil is extracted usually by steam distillation or cold pressing. It is the pure essence of the plant that contains health-promoting benefits that can be diffused, inhaled, applied topically, used in massage, or, in some cases, taken internally.
My first experience with lavender essential oil was when my son was an infant. He was by no means a difficult baby but he never wanted to go to bed at night. I started using a popular lavender bath wash and lotion because it smelled so nice. After a few days it occurred to me that he was less fussy and calmer after his bath and lotion. The gears began to turn in my mind. I researched about lavender and learned about it’s benefits.
At that time it was not easy to find pure essential oils or products that were natural “enough” to contain them. I was able to find a local seller at a craft fair and began to use purer lavender on my son. The results were astounding. He looked forward to his bath and lotion (with lavender oil) massage. He slept better and longer with less waking during the night.
And the best part? So did I. I have been hooked on lavender ever since. My son’s baths lasted several years. Then he as he got older we started using it neat (or, directly from the bottle, undiluted) on his wrists and feet in times of anxiety of restlessness. Many nights we would end the day with a book, prayers, and a dab of lavender on our wrists. Even now he will come to me at times – and he’s a big boy now, at 11! – to ask for some lavender to calm down in times of stress or to help him sleep. Great memories for me 🙂
In the years since, I have increased my knowledge of lavender and the importance of a good quality essential oil. There are a lot of trade words that can be confusing so it is important to do your research on each brand before using. I had been looking for about 3 years to find a company that I could use exclusively. The one that kept popping up for me as reliable and trustworthy was Young Living. I had a couple of Facebook friends who had become distributors and I enjoyed reading their testimonials and seeing the info graphics they posted. When I had a chance to go to an introductory class on essential oils, more specifically, Young Living Essential Oils, I was excited to go and learn more.
I found out there is a whole big world of essential oils other than lavender! I will share them with you in the future but for now I want to focus on my beloved lavender.
Lavender is great for relaxation. You can inhale it. You can put it on your wrists and temples. You can add a few drops to your bath water. You can add a few drops to your favorite lotion. Place a drop on your pillow – I never sleep without a drop on my pillowcase. It smells great and just catching the scent of it is calming to me.
This summer has been lovely…for the bugs. Gnats that get in your eyes and mouth, those tiny little ants that you can’t ever figure out where they are coming from, daddy long legs everywhere, mosquitoes that suck the life from you, and, shudder, spiders. I had a major run in with chiggers. Disgusting little critters. I came home from camping trip with over 120 bites from those little buggers! Lavender saved the summer. I keep it in a glass bottle with a roller tip in my purse. When we are outdoors and someone gets an itchy bite I roll it on and it provides instant relief. To top it off, lavender is antibacterial which can help with healing and protect against scarring. I have made believers out of my son, fiancé, his kids, and many others. They all rolled their eyes at me until one bad night when they were bitten up after chatting with neighbors outside. I rolled lavender on their bites and the itch never came back. They now ask for the lavender for most itchy bites. No more eye rolling.
Red hair is great. Except for in the summer. Redheads have notoriously sensitive skin and mine is no different. I am light haired, light eyed, and light skinned with freckles. I burn. A LOT. And easily. I have tried so many remedies over the years to ease the sting of a sun burn but nothing has worked as thoroughly or consistently as lavender. It helps take away the sting and keep it away. It works wonderfully for any burn. I burned my hand on a pan. Normally it would burn for several hours. Not so with lavender. It takes the heat out and the sting away nearly instantly (for me).
You may have heard of a condition called Restless Leg Syndrome. It causes your legs to have a tingly, creepy-crawly feeling that forces you to constantly move your legs, typically while in bed at night. It’s nearly impossible to sleep when you notice the twitchiness. Sometimes you twitch your legs at night and it interferes with your sleep. If you are waking up tired or your bed partner mentions that you kick a lot, it may be worth talking to your doctor about. I began using lavender and Peace & Calming in combination on my calves at night and instantly slept better. When I ran out of Peace & Calming I continued to use the lavender and still had great results.
My 11 year old son has moderate to severe seasonal allergies. Some seasons are worse than others and this one had been difficult. He has taken prescription eye drops and nose sprays along with countless other over the counter meds. It worries me to put so many medicines into his still growing body. After a particularly tough day when even the Claritin didn’t work, we tried a mix of lavender, lemon, and peppermint oils in a bit of coconut oil on the back of his neck, his back and feet. From experience we need to keep it on his back and feet because the fumes make his eyes water. They don’t bother everyone but it can happen so be prepared to try different locations for application. Within ten minutes he was feeling much better. He often comes to me to ask for mixture when he is having a bad allergy day.
These are my personal experiences with lavender but it is by no means a complete list of the many, many uses of it. Lavender is also great for:
- cold sores
- ear infections
- pink eye
- and many, many more
Whew! That was a lot to say! But now you can see why lavender is my favorite oil. I love the Young Living brand because I feel like I can trust the company to give me the highest quality, purest oils that are safe for whatever method I choose to use it.