Lavender Essential Oil: The Magnificent Multi-Tasker
By Jennette Carlson
Lavender Essential Oil is perhaps the most notable of all the scented oils when it comes to multitasking. It does many jobs and does them well. From its role as an antiseptic to calming the nerves, this hardworking oil does it all.
Lavender (lavandula angustifolia) essential oil is derived from the spikes of the lavender flower from which it is distilled. There are actually two variations, one form is lavender flower oil that has no color and is water soluble. The second form is lavender spike oil which is distilled from the lavandula latifolia.
History shows that lavender oil has been used for well over 2,500 years. It was used by the Romans for a bath soak that purified their skin and their emotions as well.
When it comes to an essential oil for calming stress, you just can't find any better than lavender oil. It's not all in your head either, or at least not all in your imagination. The calming does take place in your head though, in an organ called "the brain." When inhaled, the aromatherapy travels right to the amygdala gland in your brain, an area that controls perception (the way you look at things and the way you feel about them) and emotion. It is also governed by sense of smell. Lavender possesses a quality that tells the amygdala gland to relax and be calm, and... it does! It can be applied topically with a carrier oil, used as a bath soak, or inhaled through one of many methods such as a diffusing system.
Another important function lavender performs is that it is a potent antiseptic. It is safe and effective to use topically to prevent infection when you get burned or cut. It is also helpful to dab on when you have been stung by an insect like an ant or wasp.
Lavender is hailed as a miracle worker when it comes to anti-aging. It is a super-strength anti-oxidant that has the power to turn damaged cells back around so that they are functioning properly. That is how it can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and fade age spots at the same time. Anti-oxidants actually donate an electron to free radical cells that are out-of-control because they have lost an electron. They set about a destructive course to acquire a new one by any means possible. When an anti-oxidant donates an electron, the circle of destruction can cease and there is peace. The damaged cells are repaired and protection abounds to prevent more damage. This is seen in instances such as overexposure to the sun. The process causes cells to become defective and therefore, lose an electron. The application of lavender provides anti-oxidants that heal the damage and protect the skin cells from receiving more damage. It is an amazing feat.
Because lavender is rich in anti-oxidants, it can also help with skin problems such as acne, eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. It is a powerful defense against colds and flu too. Furthermore, a little in your shampoo can help cure and prevent dandruff.
Lavender is a very effective sleep aid. It helps calm your body down, for one, but it also helps your body regulate such things as melatonin. You can apply it directly, ingest it like in a tea, or you can breathe in the goodness.
One really popular use for lavender is for pest control. While humans usually find the scent of lavender to be refreshing and relaxing, bugs don't. There are a number of great recipes for lavender based insecticides online.
Lavender is a very popular oil for perfumes. The Phoenicians, Arabians, and Egyptians used it not only as a perfume, but they mummified their dead in the beloved oil as well. In ancient times, the oil was often used to dip clothing in.
Today lavender is used as a natural perfume, especially for those who don't wish to spray chemical laden products onto their skin. Since what goes on your skin also goes into it, many are taking a healthier approach and using a substance like lavender essential oil that benefits the body when it soaks into it.
There are a myriad of other great benefits that lavender has to offer. It is an anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, detoxifier, anti-microbial, and an anti-bacterial. It can lower hypertension and can sedate as well. It has been heralded for stopping nose bleeds. It is said to relieve cold sores and to diminish the symptoms of hay fever.
So soak it in, rub it in, drink or eat it, sit in a tub of it, or just breathe it in. The benefits of lavender oil are too good to miss out on.
Lavender essential oil is indeed the best of the bunch when it comes to multitasking oils. It is refreshing, calming, healing, cleansing, and relaxing all at the same time. It keeps sickness away and bugs too. The next time you are adding to your essential oil collection, don't forget the most diversified of all: lavender!
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