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Lavender

lavender

Lavender

Lavandula angustifolia

Ahhh the sensual aroma of delicate Lavender. This lovely herb is great to have in your garden for both its visual appearance and its fragrance. It is loved by the bees when its in flower and by the birds after the flower heads have dried off. The dried flowers are often hung about the home and placed in potpurris and wardrobes for freshness and to discourage insect pests.

This powerful but gentle essential oil can take much of the credit for the revival of Aromatherapy today. It’s use dates back to ancient Rome and Greece and was used by the Egyptians in the mummification process. There are over twenty eight distinct species and a multitude of varieties of lavender.

Renowned for its healing properties and thought of as the essential – essential oil, every home should stock a bottle of lavender oil. It is a very effective first aid for many complaints from burns to bug bites, including athletes foot, tinia, itches, zits and rashes. It stimulates the immune system and acts to speed up the healing processes within the body. It is a natural antibiotic, antiseptic, anti depressant, sedative/relaxant and detoxifier. Other uses include Bathing, compresses, hair care, decongestant, massage, skin care, atmospheric vaporiser/diffuser to sterilise the air in a room..

Perhaps the reason it is so popular within Aromatherapy is that it is extremely safe and can be applied neat, in that it does not always require dilution into carrier oil. Lavender produces a soothing and relaxing effect on the mind while at the same time helps to enhance a positive feeling of well-being.

A Few Ideas
A drop of lavender on a plaster before placing it on the cut will improve healing. A gentle massage blend to the lower Abdomen helps to relieve menstrual cramp and/or the discomfort of trapped wind in the digestive tract. While bathing at night 4 drops to the bath will aid sleeping, this is also effective for genito-urinary infections such as thrush or cystitis. A few drops in the toilet water adds a refreshing aroma while dried Lavender flowers sewn into a pouch make delightful draw fresheners. A few drops rubbed onto the temples gives relief to headaches, applied neat to burns or cuts it improves healing and reduces scarring.

Precautions
Do not use lavender at work as it is mildly sedating. Rosemary is more mentally stimulating.
It is advisable to contact an Aromatherapist if considering long-term use of essential oils as they are contradicted in some instances.
Do not use essential oils in pregnancy, or on babies or young children without consulting an Aromatherapist.
Do not ingest essential oils without the advice of an Aromatherapist.
Do not use essential oils on the eyes
Know that some medical illnesses contradict the use of certain essential oils.

History
The south of France is the Main Place that Lavender is grown and produced. It was not until the 1950’s that they began growing Lavender in large fields. Before then the folk about the towns use to go up the hills and pick it to sell to cosmetic producers. Today it’s grown widely in most temperate countries.

Growing
For home use, lavender is an attractive bush which will grow very easily in most gardens and a variety of soils. The colour and fragrance in the home garden is appreciated, and the flowers and leaves can be used from floral displays, to the kitchen. Lavender does require trimming in the autumn to keep the bush in good shape.

Oil Extraction
The commercial process from Flower to oil requires the laying of the stems on a grid where steam is passed through them. This produces a vapour that is then cooled to produce oil. There are other methods from cold pressing to chemical extraction.

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