Lavender essential oil is not technically an oil, but rather is an extract that is gathered from the flowers of the lavender plant usually through steam distillation. Lavender is a derivative of the Lain word Lavare, which means “to wash” because of its clean and pleasant aroma. There are numerous health benefits to lavender oil, in addition to its frequent use as a light, pleasant fragrance.
Lavender oil has been proven to reduce nervous tension and stress, to relieve pain, aid in sleep, aid in hormonal balance, disinfect the skin and scalp, combat acne, enhance blood circulation, alleviate and heal burns and even treat many respiratory problems. It’s also used to treat urinary disorders because of the stimulating effect it has on urine production. It’s also frequently used as an insect repellent. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils such as pine, clary sage, cedar, nutmeg, lemon, peppermint and geranium.
Lavender oil is known to produce a calming scent which makes excellent for those with nervous conditions or anxiety issues. Many natural detergents and other cleaning products are lavender scented due to its calming properties. Lavender is often used to treat headaches, migraines, depression and to calm nervous tension and alleviate emotional stress.
Lavender’s impact on the autonomic nervous system has been well researched, which is why it is so often used as a treatment for all kinds of nervous system and health related issues ranging from insomnia to the regulation of heart rate. Unlike many sleep aids or curatives for insomnia, lavender doesn’t cause “fogginess” or a correlating decrease in mental capacity or alertness.
In fact, one study had participants inhale lavender and rosemary oil before taking an exam, after which they showed a significant decrease in mental stress and anxiety paired with an actual increase in cognitive function.
Another benefit of lavender for stress relief is the great number of ways in which lavender can be used. It can be used in a diffuser in the home or workplace to alleviate stress and promote a calm, beneficial environment or used in a sachet that can be kept in a desk drawer for a quick pick-me-up or calming moment.
Lavender can be combined with a distillate and sprayed on bed sheets at night, or put in the final rinse of laundry when washing bed sheets to promote calm and bring on sleep.
Lavender can also be mixed with a carrier oil such as grape seed, almond or olive oil and placed in a rollerball dispenser to roll on pulse points when feeling anxious or stressed.
Best Lavender Essential Oils in 2018