I am a huge fan of aromatherapy and have now been using this healing method for over twenty years. I discovered essential oils in a tiny little store within a shopping centre in the 1990s in Scotland, which sold soaps and dried flowers. That shop has long since closed down, but the little book I bought there (Aromatherapy by Cathy Hopkins) is still on my bookshelf. Since then I have read so many other books and amassed a growing collection of oils. I experimented with using these plant oils for various ailments and niggling day to day health problems and before I knew it, they became essential items to have in my medicine cabinet. The very first oil I purchased was lavender because I read that it was good for nearly everything! I didn’t like the scent to begin with, but now I love it and use it most days. In this post I would like explain the many lavender oil benefits for you and your family, and I hope to inspire you to try some of my favourite methods of using it.
What is lavender essential oil?
Essential oils are extremely concentrated essences from plants. Some are made from the actual flowers, some are made from leaves, roots, bark, stems or seeds. Often, the oils from a plant are distilled. Sometimes they are pressed (expressed) or extracted by solvents or gases. Lavender oil is a pale yellow or clear liquid, normally steam distilled from the purple flowers. For the lavender oil benefits I describe below, please ensure you use pure essential oil from the Lavandula Augustifolia plant. There should be no other ingredients stated on the bottle, such as ‘fragrance’ or other oils. Due to their strength, essential oils must be used with caution. Lavender is safe for children but it should be diluted.
My favourite use of lavender oil is for the treatment of insomnia. Insomnia strikes us all at some point and there is nothing worse than the restless desperation and stress that this causes. I’ve found that lavender oil can often break through this anxiety: it relaxes the mind and body so that sleep can finally come. This is my favourite way of using this oil! I’ve had success using this method with my children too, but be sure to halve the amount of drops as their skin is more sensitive.
- Try adding 1-2 drops to your pillow. Do not use more as this can be too stimulating!
- Add 4-5 drops swished into to your bath water before bedtime. For extra relaxation, I also recommend adding a mug of Epsom salts (magnesium sulphate): wonderful for relieving aches and pains.
Get rid of pain
Lavender essential oil can also be used as an analgesic. Joint pain, muscle pain and tension headaches can be soothed away by this oil. It is one of the few essential oils which can be used neat, but for pains over a large area, I recommend blending with a plain carrier or base oil, such as almond. If you don’t have any, you can just use olive oil or sunflower oil from your kitchen! If you have an unscented lotion, you can use that in place of a carrier oil.
- For aches and pains, blend 4-6 drops of lavender oil into 10ml of a plain carrier oil or lotion. Mix well and gently rub onto the affected area. You can also make a larger bottle for continued use: blend 20-60 drops of essential oil to 100ml of the carrier oil and store in a dark place at room temperature.
- For earaches, rub 1-2 drops of neat oil around the outside of the ear 2-3 times a day. This worked really well for my 7 year old recently; the pain was gone within 48 hours. Please do not use neat oils on babies.
Use it for burns and scalds
Lavender is amazing for minor burns and scalds! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve used this over the years after touching a hot tray or pan. For serious burns and scalds this method can help with the pain until you can get medical attention from a professional.
- Run the affected area under a cold tap. Gently drop some neat lavender oil onto the burn or scald. If you have an ice cube (or frozen peas/corn in a bag), apply it on top of the oil for 5-10 minutes. Afterwards, re-apply a drop of essential oil and leave it to dry. Repeat the process if necessary.
- If you own any homeopathic remedies, cantharis 30c used in conjunction with the above method has always provided complete relief for me as it gets rid of that burning sensation. It’s a good one to keep in the kitchen.
Lavender oil benefits your skin
If you’ve tried lavender for alleviating a burn, you will know how healing it is for the skin in general. I don’t believe that essential oils should be used on the skin daily as its antibacterial properties kill good bacteria as well as the bad, but if you have a spot, rash, insect bite, cut or abrasion, it can really help to speed up healing.
- It can be used neat on cuts and bites when you need a strong antibacterial effect.
- For acne, essential oils can sometimes be irritating as they are so powerful. I would use it diluted and with caution. Make up the oil as indicated in the pain section above and try it twice a day, or add a few drops to your moisturiser, face wash or toner.
- For an antiseptic wash, simply add a few drops to a basin of warm water to bathe cuts and wounds.
- To make your own balm, check out my DIY essential oil balm recipe.
Fragrance and stress relief
Lavender oil is very relaxing to the nervous system and creates a calming atmosphere. In the last year or two I’ve noticed that some large chain stores in the UK have been perfuming their main entrances with a lavender. To my nose, it is an artificial lavender smell, but I think the idea is to relax the customers and create a good shopping experience. Artificial fragrances can be toxic to inhale for your family, pets and even houseplants, so essential oils are a much safer alternative.
- Try using a diffuser. You can now buy ultrasonic diffusers, electrically heated ones, fan powered ones as well as candle burners. Use up to 8 drops depending on the size of your room.
- Make your own room spray by adding oils to a plant spray bottle filled with water. You will need to shake it before use to disperse the oil in the water.
- Make pot pourri by adding lavender oil to dried flowers. Bags of this can also be hung inside your wardrobe to deter clothes moths.
Lavender oil benefits for the home
Since this oil can be used as an antibacterial agent and disinfectant, you can also use it for cleaning the home naturally, bypassing the need for toxic chemicals. Try adding some to a spray bottle with a squeeze of castille soap for cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, or put some into a bucket of hot water for washing the floor. A few drops into the toilet can freshen it up too. I’m sure you can think of some other uses too!
Lavender oil has a number of benefits, it can be used for:
- burns and scalds
- skin healing
- stress relief
- cleaning and disinfecting
I highly recommend having a bottle of lavender essential oil at home, it is extremely versatile and has so many uses; If you think of any more, please let me and my readers know in the comments box!
If you would like to learn how to make an essential oil balm, check out my recipe!
Safety: Essential oils are extremely concentrated and powerful essences, therefore it is important to use them wisely and sparingly, as they can cause harm if not used correctly. Be exceptionally careful when using with children.