50 Fantastic Uses for Lavender Essential Oil and Lavender Therapy
(and where to get the pure, safe kind)
My husband used to be really skeptical of natural therapies like essential oils, until we had to try them for our little ones. Having a background in science fields, he was trained up relying on modern medicine and innovation as the “best way” to take care of just about anything. However, with a lot of in-home experiments, and a lot of studying the natural, organic compounds and phytochemicals (plant chemicals) that are produced naturally, he has had quite a “turn-around” and has begun to realize the benefits of natural essential oils and remedies, in addition to their diminished or lack of toxic build up and side effects we can get from man made pharmaceuticals. He also made the connection that many pharmaceuticals are derived and manipulated from naturally occurring (often harmless) compounds and the only way major pharmaceutical companies can patent them is to alter them in a lab in order to claim limited proprietary rights to market them.
Lavender could be perhaps one of the most versatile herbs and essential oils in the world, and the therapeutic uses for it’s pure essential oil are seemingly endless. The amazing, organic Lavender plant comes in 39 different species, though only 1 is considered to be the official Lavender use for therapeutic-grade Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia – formerly called Lavandula Officinalis). The origins of the name are somewhat debated, but many sources report the word “lavender” coming from the Latin root “lavare”, meaning “to wash.” And though all of its uses are not new to mankind, we continue to discover new ways in which it is both beneficial to human health and therapeutic.
Lavender’s therapeutic uses were first documented scientifically when a French scientist, René Gattefossé (1881 – 1950), used it accidentally to help heal his hand and promote skin regeneration from a laboratory burn (it was the only liquid nearby and he plunged his hand into it after the burn). He was quite surprised at how quickly his burns healed with very little scarring. He is also considered the father of aromatherapy and the inventor of the word “aromatherapy”.
From cooking, to easing tensions, to soothing skin irritations and acne, essential, therapeutic-grade Lavender oil is the first essential oil that should be stocked in every household. Lavender oil should be therapeutic / pharmaceutical grade in order to safely use on the body or for ingesting. Most oils sold in the marketplace are labeled this way, but are actually not intended for internal use. Young Living essential oils are the most effective and of the highest quality, therapeutic-grade essential organic oils and many can be safely ingested for added benefits. Also, where ever you see the word “neat” next to essential oil use, this means undiluted (not mixed with water or other dilutions).
NOTE: Lavender is also an emmenagogue (promotes menstruation) and blood flow to the pelvic area so professional care should be consulted before being used by pregnant women (and nursing women).
Following is a list of some of the many uses of essential and therapeutic-grade Lavender oil, as well as how to find the best in therapeutic-grade oil. Many companies produce high quality oils, but most are not edible and pure therapeutic-grade. For the science minds reading this, the primary active organic compounds in lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) are linalool (a natural terpene alcohol) and linalyl acetate (a phytochemical that is an acetate ester of the first chemical, linalool).
1- Skin irritations: Therapeutic-grade Lavender oil has been excellent in soothing and healing minor skin irritations. As long as the skin is not broken or raw, Lavender can be used to bring healing and soothing comfort to minor skin irritations.
2- Cure for Ringworm: Our 2 year old got a ringworm infection on her belly. We had lavender oil and rubbed a few drops on the infected area. Within a few days, the ringworm was completely gone. It was a great, natural therapy for a minor ringworm infection, without the fear of any man-made chemicals touching out baby’s young skin.
3- Acne treatments: because acne is often caused by skin oils and bacteria, the antiseptic properties of Lavender can be very effective at managing acne. However, it should be tested on small areas and even diluted for some skin types as it can be a little irritating for very sensitive skin types.
4- Tension / massage: Lavender oil can also be used to help relieve tension in sore and bruised muscles. It can be used effectively to bring relief and relaxation for a muscle massage.
5- Other skin blemishes: Minor rashes, dryness and other skin irritations can be effectively treated with therapeutic-grade Lavender oil.
6- Calming for acute anxiety (anxiolytic – anti-anxiety) – Anxiety can often come from unresolved fears or familiar circumstances (triggers) that cause a learned anxiety response. Over time, a person can learn to re-program the anxiety response when triggered by anxiety causing agents. Though this is not recommended for major anxiety disorders that require a medical professional, acute anxiety or panic attacks can eventually be re-programmed. By utilizing essential Lavender oil into the post-anxiety relief process and re-programming, one can create stronger, calming memories of the aromas of Lavender while learning to get out of the triggering circumstance and taking control of the situation.
7- Helping little ones prepare for bed: Many children can benefit from a calm, predictable routine at a consistent time each night. When Lavender oil is added to the regimen, it can be even more effective. Rub a few drops of oil on the soles of the little one’s feet. We have even put a few drops on our fingers and touched the under-side of their noses so they would smell it and develop a calming routine with a familiar smell. And, since the smell center of the brain is very close to the memory center, this kind of pattern can produce strong, peaceful memories for little ones as they grow older.
8- Winding down before bed as an adult or assisting with sleep disorders – Many adults suffer from sleep disturbances and sleep disorders that range from mild to severe. At many levels, lavender oils and diffusing lavender into the room can help promote calm, restful nights and actually help a person regain some life energy by gaining more restful sleep. Some have used this inside of their CPAP mask and have reported increased sleep effectiveness of up to 35% more sleep per night.
9- Soothing and cleansing common cuts – In World War I, René Gattefossé experimented on soldiers in military hospitals by using Lavender and other antiseptic essential oils with quite positive results. This same oil can be used to help heal minor cuts by safely killing germs that prevent normal healing.
10- Bringing relief to bruised areas – try gently rubbing a few drops of Lavender oil around and on sore, bruised areas to promote blood flow, healing and relief for the tenderness and pain.
11- Soothing minor burns – just as René Gattefossé accidentally discovered the anti-scarring and healing effects of Lavender on a laboratory burn, you can use a few drops on minor burns that are caused from things such as small cooking burns or burns caused by a craft iron or glue gun.
12 – Relief for insect bites – rub a few drops on bee sting areas and other insect bites to speed up the healing and bring instant relief to the burning, itching and irritations of insect bites such as mosquitoes.
13 – Insect repellant that is safe without side effects- Perhaps you have heard of all the dangers of using man-made insect repellents and the toxicity / build-up of these kinds of chemicals in the world. Also, there are all kinds of home-remedy type insect repellents or oils that just don’t seem to do the trick. Lavender oil is a unique insect repellant that is safe, effective and has no side effects (except positively balancing the mood and stabilizing mental states). Before reaching for the next can of over-the-counter bug spray, try essential Lavender oil.
14 – Safely moisturizing chapped lips – Only pure therapeutic-grade Lavender oil should be considered safe for ingesting or use on skin areas. Be sure your bottle does not say “for external use only” as it is not pure therapeutic-grade and is not worth the money spent on it. Apply as needed to areas of chapped lips in the dry winter season to relieve dry, burning, chapped lips and to promote healing and moisturizing effects.
15 – Winter chapped hands – Lavender oil can triple as a bactericide, moisturizer and reliever of pain, itching and dryness caused by dry, cold winter conditions. Try a few drops as needed and rub into the chapped ares of the fingers and hands.
16 – Eczema relief and dermatitis – Using Lavender oils alone or with other essential oils that are good for the skin can help bring relief to the dryness or the inflammation caused by eczema and dermatitis. Many children have eczema patches as well and eventually grow out of them. Using Lavender oil is safe and effective.
17 – Repelling insects and moths – place a few drops on a cotton ball for closets and linen drawers to ward off insects and moths.
18 – Fabric freshener and deodorizer – Place a few drops on cloth or laundry drier sheet to freshen laundry scent and naturally deodorize
19 – Child’s resting place – Place a few drops on your child’s stuffed animal or pillow to help comfort them at night and to build comforting memories.
20 – Romance and relaxed social settings – Diffuse the lavender oil to set the mood for a nice romantic evening or for a relaxed social event.
21- Can be used in a day spa for diffusing – Lavender is a nice oil for diffusing, cleaning the air, and bringing balance to any atmosphere. Diffusing it in a certain area of your day-spa can really bring a sense of balance and tranquility.
22 – Lavender infused tea and other drinks – Using Lavender in a nice cup of hot tea can help as a nice wind-down drink after dinner or with a decaffeinated tea before bed. It can also be used with a nice Chamomile tea or “Sleepy time” tea before bed or when trying to relax.
23 – Lavender in breads and cooking – Experiment with Lavender oil (digestible kind) in your fruit breads and other dishes. It can provide a wonderful complexity and aromatics to some of your favorite dishes. Try adding a drop or 2 to a few bites before adding it to a complete recipe to be sure you like it first.
24 – Sunburn relief – Lavender drops can be diluted in water to spray over sunburn to promote relief and healing several times a day. Try using Lavender instead of (or alternating with) aloe-vera gel and diluted apple-cider vinegar to help take away the heat and sting of sun-burn.
25 – To settle throat or muscle spasms– Recently, I had some issues with GERD and esophageal spasms. If you ever had esophageal spasms or IBS, it can be very uncomfortable and at times, painful. I decided take a few drops of Lavender oil on the tongue to see if it had similar muscle relaxation effects on the smooth, involuntary muscles of the digestive system. The Lavender oil was very effective in greatly reducing the spasms and bringing relaxation and relief to the constricting muscles in my throat. It must be therapeutic grade that it pure enough for ingestion, however.
26 – Soothing tension and headaches – Sometimes, rubbing a few drops on the temples and / or on the back of the neck or trapezius muscles can really help bring relief and reduce the headaches caused by tension. Try this before reaching for that bottle of ibuprofen or acetaminophen.
27 – Sinusitis and allergy flare-ups – Both Lavender and Peppermint oil can be very effective for helping to reduce the flare ups from allergies and sinusitis (inflammation of the sinus linings). Place a few drops near the affected areas, nasal passages, temples, forehead, back of the neck, between the eyes (but certainly not in the eyes) – and test some near your eyes to make sure the vapors are not too intense for your eyes as it can irritate or cause the eyes to water a bit.
28 – Great for a relaxing bath oil – sometimes you need to ramp up the relaxing effects of Lavender and diffusing and rubbing it topically don’t do the complete trick. Try adding several drops to a warm, relaxing bath, while playing some soft music and lighting some nice candles. A little extra time on those days when you really need a break after work or from the kids can really bring you back to a sense of normalcy.
29 – Relief with heart palpitations – Lavender oil, being a natural tonic and sedative, can also be inhaled in pure form to help with heart palpitations and a rapid heart-beat. Practice making calm and quiet surroundings and inhaling Lavender oils when your heart is racing. Be sure to stay with your doctor’s advice if you have a condition or are on medications.
30 – Calmness before an exam – Inhale some drops of Lavender before and during a test if permitted to help an older student reset balance to mind and emotions for testing anxieties. Using the Lavender lightly during study times can also help produce calm memories when thinking through particular topics, which can carry over to the testing scenario.
31 – Before a presentation or job interview – You can inhale some Lavender aroma and even put a drop or two under the nasal passages to bring calmness and balance to the mind and emotions before a presentation before peers, colleagues or before a big job interview.
32 – Water fountain or aromatherapy fountain – Placing a few drops of Lavender in your fountain can kill bacteria and promote a nice, balanced, calm atmosphere while keeping the water fresh and free of microbes.
33 – Reducing scar tissue – Be sure to consistently add Lavender oil to areas of skin that are wounded and beginning to heal to help reduce scarring and promote healing, while also experience the antiseptic properties of the oil.
34 – Dry eyes and tear ducts – Do not place Lavender in the eyes. However, you can put a drop or 2 near the bridge of the nose to promote your lacrimal glands to produce tears.
35- Motion Sickness – Experiment with the locations of application, but Lavender can be used to help alleviate symptoms of minor motion sickness. It is not intended to prevent motion sickness on a long cruise or where a stronger medicine may be needed. However, it can be effective in relieving symptoms of the onset of motion sickness.
36 – Bath salts – Not only can Lavender be used by the drop in a relaxing bath, but it can also be mixed with pure bath salts and wrapped up to use later or for a gift for a friend or family member.
37- Ear aches – Sometimes, adults and children get ear aches. Using a warm compress, add a few drops of Lavender oil to the warm, wet compress and massage the areas around and behind the ears, and the sides of the neck under the jaw-line, following the path starting behind the ear lobes. This can help relieve and reduce inflammation around the Eustachian tubes that drains the ears to the throat.
38 – Menstrual cramp relief – Using very warm compresses, also apply Lavender oils around the abdomen while inhaling the diffuse vapors to help calm and relax the muscles, mind and body for less severe cramping.
39 – Respiratory infections – Lavender can be used in a vaporizer to help kill germs and promote healing due to respiratory infections.
40 – Soothe a cough or sore throat – Lavender oil’s natural antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and calming effects can help soothe a cough or sore throat due to cough or minor infection. Having some Lavender around for the cold season can bring a lot of safe relief for little ones as well by inhalation or dabbing some drops around the nasal passages and massaging gently around the neck and throat area.
41 – Relief of minor asthmatic and bronchial spasms – Many people suffer from minor asthmatic and acute bronchial spasms leading to some bronchitis (inflammation of the bronchial tubes) from pollens, bacteria and other allergens or pathogens. Lavender oil diffusing, inhaling, and rubbing on the nasal passages and around the chest areas have provided relief for minor asthmatic symptoms and bronchial spasms for some.
42 – Hair loss and re-growth for alopecia – Alopecia areata is an auto-immune dysfunction where the hair falls out, often in clumps or patches. In one study documented by the University of Maryland Medical Center, 86 alopecia areata patients went through a split test. Both subjects massaged the scalp daily for 7 months, whereas only half used essential lavender oil during the massage. The experimental group that used Lavender oil reported significant hair re-growth over the control group that simply used scalp massage alone.
43 – Reduce agitation in dementia patients – Some studies have shown that aromatherapy and other Lavender oil use can help reduce agitation for aging patients who experience agitation and irritability due to dementia.
44 – Other skin fungal infections like candidiasis – Fungal infections are common in humans. Skin infections caused by fungus like candidiasis have responded very well in many cases and can be treated with topical applications of pure Lavender oil.
45 – Irritation from shingles – Adult onset of shingles due to the Herpes Zoster virus can be quite irritating and downright painful. Some people have used Lavender oil to alleviate the pain, irritation and itching caused by shingles. Also, because shingles can often be associated with life stressors, Lavender can help with that too.
46 – Scabies infections – Scabies has been identified by the WHO (World Health Organization) as a water-borne parasite / illness that can also be transmitted by skin contact from infected persons. Some natural medicinal doctors (NMDs) have used therapeutic-grade Lavender oils and baths in conjunction with other oils such as tea tree oil to effectively kill these parasites that burrow under the skin, lay eggs, and cause allergic irritations and dermatitis. Not only can the Lavender oil kill the parasites, but it can bring relief to the skin irritations.
47 – Overactive nervous system – Sometimes, other voluntary and involuntary muscle spasms can be treated well with Lavender oil massaged on or near the location of the muscle spasms caused by an over-active nerve or nervous system.
48 – After surgery pain relief – Although there have been more reported testimonials, one study done on biopsy patients (reported at the University of Maryland Medical Center) for after surgery pain relief showed significant pain decrease in patients who received oxygen with Lavender aromatherapy versus those who just received oxygen without aromatherapy in post-operative scenarios.
49 – Improve concentration – Because of its ability to stabilize mood, reduce anxieties, and help calm the nervous system, Lavender has been reported by many to help improve the ability to concentrate by reducing other symptoms that can distract thought and the ability to focus.
50 – Deodorants – Pure therapeutic grade Lavender oil can be used as a body deodorant because it kills bacteria that can cause body odors and can also be used with other applications as natural body deodorants. Some ancient civilizations used essential oils for bathing and beautification / perfuming processes weeks and months before weddings and other ceremonies. In addition to its ability to kill odor-causing bacteria, Lavender also adds a delightful light, clear, fragrant floral aroma.
There they are: 50 ways to use therapeutic-grade pure essential Lavender oil. Although this is quite an extensive list, it is clearly not an exhaustive list. And, if you are like us, a family who is continuing to research and find natural / holistic remedies to reduce personal and environmental toxicities (due to man-made pharmaceuticals and chemicals), it is clear that pure Lavender oil is a “must have” essential oil for any household.
published by Jen on Tue, 08/07/2012 – 07:27
Disclaimer: Understand that not all essential oils sold in stores, health food aisles, and spas are 100% pure therapeutic / medical / pharmaceutical grade. Most that are sold over the counter cannot be ingested and are therefore not 100% pure. We use Young Living because it is 100% pure, tested and safe for aromatherapy, topical use, and ingestion (eating / drinking / mixing). Also, as a disclaimer, and because organic and pure essential oils are not manipulated in a laboratory where they can be patented, (FDA legal disclaimer) “These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. None of these products, oils and techniques mentioned are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” We are not medical doctors and all therapeutic / medical advice should be done so under the care of a licensed physician or NMD.
Issue # 106 (Nov/Dec 2003) pp. 102-107
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