lavenderLavender is my favorite oil!  The smell is sweet, subtle, and dreamlike.  Both the leaves and the flowers are used in herbalism.  The flowers are used to make the oil, leaves are used in potpourri and in tea.

Historical Background*:

Lavender is native to mountainous regions of Mediterranean countries in Europe.  The herb has been used for thousand of years and was a popular herbal remedy in the ancient world.  The Egyptians used it for perfume and incense.  The ancient Greeks and Romans used it in herbal baths.  There was a Roman superstition that the Asp Viper, a deadly European snake, lived in Lavender bushes.  Therefore the price for Lavender was high- people didn’t want to go anywhere near the bushes!  In the Middle Ages Europeans used it in the rushes.  In those days floors of homes and Castles were usually dirt.  Animals were allowed inside and wandered around.  You can imagine that floors were not very clean!  People put down rushes- straw mostly- to cover the floor and help keep it clean.  Lavender in the rushes would have acted as an insecticide and disinfectant, and of course freshened the air.  Medieval Europeans also believed it was a aphrodisiac.  They would’ve burned it in incense or mixed the oil with water and sprinkled it around.

In the 17th century famed Herbalist, Nicholas Culpepper included Lavender in his book “The English Physician”.  He wrote “apply to the nostrils as a drink to cure the griefs and pains of the head and brains that proceed of a cold cause, as the Apoplexy, Falling Sickness, the drowsie or sluggish malady, crams, convulsion, Palsies, and often faintings.”

Modern Usage*:

5 EASY ways to use Lavender in your home….

1.Lavender is the most commonly used essential oil in the world.  It promotes relaxation and restful sleep.  I got into Lavender when I was pregnant with my first child.  I had pregnancy insomnia- almost from the very beginning- and Lavender helped me relax and sleep better.

2. Diffuse Lavender throughout your home at the end of the day.  It will relieve stress and promote a balanced peaceful environment.  Diffuse if you are feeling down or depressed.  Lavender is emotionally balancing and uplifting.

3. Lavender baths are wonderful for cranky, tired babies.  Put 8-10 drops of Lavender in a warm bath.  Allow baby to soak for about 20 minutes.  Lavender will calm baby and allow for a more restful sleep.  Of course adults can benefit from a Lavender bath as well!

4. If you have trouble with waking in the night, or you wake not feeling rested Lavender can help.  Rub 3-5 drops into your hands and then onto the bottoms of your feet at bedtime.  You can put socks on as well, but it’s not required.  You should experience a more restful sleep with less waking during the night.

dark glass5. Combine Lavender with water to make a Lavender room spray.  Purchase a dark glass spray bottle for this.  Dark glass is imperative when using essential oils.  Plastic and sunlight will disrupt the chemical compounds of oils and make them less potent.  Put about 10-12 drops into the glass and fill with water.  You can add more Lavender if you desire a stronger scent.  Use this spray to freshen furniture, rugs, and your bed linens.  I love to spray my children’s beds when I change their sheets.  I also love to spray my dog’s bed.  Lavender is a natural flea repellent- so the spray does double duty!

Never put oils directly on the skin of young children, use a carrier oil such as coconut oil.  Never directly ingest essential oils.  Diffusion with a diffuser or humidifier and immersion in the bath are the best way to benefit from your oils.  Remember less is more with oils!

 

 

Sources:

Culpepper, Nicholas. “The English Physician” (1652). UVA- Historical Collections at the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library.  exhibits.hsl.virginia.edu/herbs/english-physician.

Davis, Jeanie and McCoy, Joe-Ann. “Lavender: History, Taxonomy and Production”. Culinary and Aromatic Herbs-NCHerb.org. www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/herbs/crops/culinary/lavender_mccoy.html.

Shealy, Norman C. “Lavender” The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Healing Remedies. Harper Collins (2002) p. 161

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.