Lavender…Beautiful, Wonderful Lavender
After hours of staring at a blank screen not knowing where to start, I realized an article about lavender requires careful cultivation, such as the plant itself, and the vast history of the plant simply cannot be covered—in just one writing.
Just as the oil bestows upon our handmade soaps, the material below is just a hint of what lavender has contributed to our worldwide culture. My hope is that you will continue your quest for learning and discover all that Lavender, and other essential oils, have to offer.
Lavender Essential oil can balance almost any aromatherapy blend and creates a pleasant floral undertone in a handful of our soap recipes, including the obvious Simply Lavender soap. If I were ever stuck on an island, this would be my single oil of choice. It immediately relieves the pain of a skin burn, heals blemishes quickly, reduces anxiety, soothes most all baby skin problems (diluted) and aides in a restful sleep. Needless to say, lavender might just be my absolute favorite essential oil.
What is Lavender?
Following the flow of the taxonomy system, Lavender is a part of the plant kingdom, the mint family Lamiaceae and the genus Lavender, of which, there are approximately 39 species. The flowering plant has a lovely floral, earthy, herbaceous, sweet aroma but can vary in scent based on the location and variety grown.
While there are many species of lavender, the most widely used for lavender essential oil production are True Lavender (lavandula angustifolio) Spike Lavender (lavandula latifolio) and a hybrid of true and spike Lavender, Lavandin (lavandula x intermedia).
True Lavender is generally regarded as the most preferred because of the inherent sweet floral notes and as such, is the only Lavender we use in our soaps.
Lavender’s History …
Lavender’s origins are believed to be from the Mediterranean basin, in calcareous, rocky, well-drained soil, however, its use dates back to many locations throughout Africa and the Old World.
Africans used Lavender Essential Oil and the dried herb itself for spiritual ceremonies, medicinal treatments and cosmetic applications; also as an incense and perfume. As indicated in the Papyrus Document, the oldest known medical text, African herbalists used lavender in herbal blends to help cure ailments from insomnia to insanity.
Lavender was also found used in Egyptian tombs. It appears they used Lavender-dipped fabrics to wrap their dead during the mummification process. Obviously, there is something special about Lavender!
Lavender's Many Uses…
Lavender and soap have a dynamic relationship. The word Lavender actually comes from the Latin word lavare or “to wash”, so naturally we are inclined to use it in our soap recipes. Lavender has also been used in cleansing, calming herbal baths by most cultures and continues to offer its benefits in a wide array of skin care products today.
Lavender is one of the most used flower essences in soaps, perfumes, cleaners, and artificially manufactured fragrances. Even for the “scent-sensitive” I call them, Lavender is generally tolerable as its aroma is not overbearing and tends to calm the sensory system.
The flowering plant is cultivated worldwide, mainly for distillation into essential oil, but also as a dried herb in potpourri, scent pouches and herbal bath products and as a decorative garden plant.
High quality lavender oil is produced worldwide at a rate of about 200 metric tons per year while lesser quality, Lavandin (sold by some as the real deal), is produced at a rate of 1000 metric tons per year.
Lavender essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of the flowering tops and is a colorless to pale yellow liquid. Lavender’s effects are uplifting, calming, refreshing and soothing and it is highly regarded for its ability to repair and regenerate healthy skin cells.
Used in aromatherapy, lavender is beneficial for most all skin care ailments such as acne, allergies, athlete’s foot, boils, bruises, eczema, dandruff, dermatitis, burns, psoriasis, ringworm, scabies, insect bites and stings.
Lavender essential oil is also good for earaches, asthma, coughs, colds and flus, colic, painful menstruation, depression, headache, insomnia, migraines, nervous tension and stress-related disorders.
Lavender in My Life – Practical Uses.
I use a drop of lavender for almost everything from cuts to burns to pimples to dry skin patches.
For my face, I have developed a daily moisturizing blend of lavender, jojoba oil, evening primrose oil and vitamin e oil inside a glass roller bottle (soon to be available on our website…labels, what a headache labels are). Because all the above mentioned oils are very light and easily absorbed, the blend is perfect for my face. It tends to repair skin blemishes quickly and is not at all greasy.
I also use our Transform Body Butter which has Lavender Essential Oil in it along with other, amazing oils. This helps me prepare for bed and also relax me throughout the day.
Where to go from Here…
The world is experiencing a shift of consciousness whether we want to admit it or not. This allows us humans to connect with our spirit self and the greater spirit more easily if we choose to take the time. Lavender can help those who wish to meditate by relaxing the body and calming the mind, allowing deep breaths to become easier and centering to become second nature.
Because we live in a world where movement, productivity and unrest have become the custom, we must find ways to become still, calm and rested in order to bring about a balance. Lavender can help do just that.