Lavender essential oil
Essential Oil Profile: Lavender - lavendula angustifolia
It seems only right that our first essential oil profile is for Lavender. This popular and versatile essential oil is a very popular choice, with many loving it's sweet herbal fragrance and well deserved reputation for aiding relaxation. Lavender is a good choice for anyone who's starting to use aromatherapy to relax or support feelings of stress.
Fragrance Note: Middle note- fresh, sweet, herbaceous
Method of extraction: Steam distillation of flowers /buds and leaves
Country of origin: France
Botanical family: Labiatae
Primary components: Linalool, linalyl acetate, limonene
Aromatherapy properties: Antiseptic, antibacterial, sedative, skin calming
Common aromatherapy uses: Good quality lavender has a sweet herbaceous fragrance. It's a lovely versatile oil, which blends beautifully with many essential oils and is a mainstay of aromatherapy. We always stock French lavender since it is produced at higher altitude, creating an oil with a higher level of skin-kind plant alcohols. These chemical constituents give lavender it's well deserved reputation for soothing troubled skin. It is commonly used to support minor burns, scalds, skin rashes, insect bites, athletes foot etc. An occasional drop of lavender may be applied neat to the skin in emergencies (usually we would recommend that all essential oils are diluted in a carrier oil first). It's also a wonderful essential oil to use to create a fragrant, calming environment, perhaps to support stress, soothe headaches or manage hypertension.
Our aromatherapy suggestions: We'd recommend keeping a bottle of lavender essential oil in the kitchen, since it really helps to take the sting out of minor scalds or blisters. Lavender also has a reputation for helping with relaxation, and is often used to help during times of stress or to create a calm environment for a good nights sleep. The main problem is that many people use far too much lavender at night - we regularly hear from people who say they sprinkle it liberally over their pillow each night and then wonder why they can't sleep! In high concentrations Lavender can act like a stimulant, so we'd never recommend that it's used directly on bed linen. Instead add just 1-2 drops to a cotton face pad, and place it by the bed. This more subtle approach will still infuse the bedroom with a soothing natural lavender fragrance, but the pad can be taken outside of the room if the aroma becomes too strong. Lavender oil can also be added to the bath (we'd recommend it's dispersed in a carrier oil first), and can be helpful in a massage blend when muscles are feeling tight or sore.
Contraindications: Lavender essential oil is considered to be a safe essential oil, but discontinue skin application if there are any adverse reaction. Generally Lavender is considered to be safe to use during pregnancy, but seek additional advice from your doctor or midwife where there are any pre-existing health issues or the pregnancy is considered high-risk.
General safety considerations: Essential oils are highly concentrated and must be used with understanding and care. Never take internally. Seek additional medical advice before use when pregnant or where there are any serious underlying health conditions. Use extra caution when using essential oils with children, and only select the mildest essential oils and use at a lower dose than for an adult. Store cool and dark, away from animals and children. Always purchase aromatherapy grade essential oils in glass (amber or darker coloured, never clear) dropper bottles with a safety dispenser (dropper) attachment. Dilute into a suitable carrier oil before skin application. Read and follow contraindication advice on the bottle.