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Essential Oil Profile: Lavender

 
Lavender is a time tested and well-loved essential oil.  Unlike most essential oils Lavender can be used ‘neat’ (without a carrier oil) for external use after sensitivity or allergy testing a small area of skin.
 

The primary effects of lavender when used on the skin are the moisturizing effect on dry or chapped skin and the soothing effect on itchy or irritated skin. This has inspired a variety of uses, such as the following:

Treatment of Minor Abrasions

Cuts, scrapes and cracked or raw skin that is in need of soothing can be treated with lavender.  After washing the area Lavender Oil can be applied directly to the affected skin.

Itching or Chapped Skin

Adding Lavender to your favorite lotion can help to treat the itchiness associated with dry skin.  Lavender directly interacts with the nerves responsible for the “itchy” feeling caused by the release of histamines which also makes it ideal for treating bug bites with direct application of the oil to the bite.  Using a carrier oil that is more solid, such as coconut oil, and blending with Lavender can provide an effective treatment for chapped lips.

Sunburn

Minor sunburns can be effectively soothed using Lavender.  The painful and itchy feeling associated with sunburn is in part due the release of histamines caused by the damaged skin.  Mixing Lavender with a carrier oil to spread over the affected area can provide immediate relief.  Lavender also promotes blood flow to the surface of the skin which can speed healing and possibly reduce scarring.  It is very important to note the Lavender is not for the prevention of sunburns and application prior to direct sun exposure can cause photosensitivity.

Lavender is derived from a very fragrant flower that has been credited as a superb relaxing agent in aromatherapy.  Below are a few favorite ways to enjoy the scent of Lavender:

Pedicures, Manicures and Bathing

When preparing a foot or hand bath prior to an at home manicure or pedicure consider using Lavender in the water to enjoy its relaxing effects.  Or even better add it to a hot bath to better unwind.  Adding a few drops of Lavender oil to Epsom salt before adding it to the water will help the oil to dissolve better.

Treating Insomnia or Restlessness

Inhaling the scent of Lavender is credited with easing anxiety and encouraging a better bedtime routine.  Add Lavender to a diffuser to be used in your bedroom 15 or 20 minutes prior to bedtime.  Or add Lavender directly to your pillow or a small handkerchief to be kept in your bed. Alternatively, a simple air freshener can be made by adding Lavender to distilled water which can then be spritzed on bedding.

Nausea

Inhaling the scent of Lavender is encouraged to soothe motion sickness or general queasiness. Adding a few drops to a handkerchief that can be carried with you to address bouts of motions sickness or using a simple homemade Lavender air freshener in your home during an illness can help settle feeling of nausea.
 
Additional Notes:
Lavender is not recommended during the first half of pregnancy and should not be taken orally. 
Please always conduct sensitivity tests prior to regular use to avoid risk of allergic reaction and adhere to any and all medical advice from your doctor first and foremost.
 

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