Essential Oils: Lavender



So, basically lavender is the greatest thing to ever come into existence. It is my all-time favorite and the most widely used essential oil. People have been using it throughout history for bathing, cooking, and even during the mummification process (that’s a little gross, sorry). Lavender is super versatile and still gentle enough to be applied directly on the skin. It is most certainly a must-have for your oily arsenal.


Background

There are different types of lavender, but the most common is Lavandula angustifolia. This variation of lavender is native to the Mediterranean region as well as northern Africa. Depending on what region it is cultivated from, it will vary slightly in scent. For example, Spanish lavender smells a little like camphor while French lavender is floral.  Most oil companies use lavenders with a more floral scent or even a blend of several types.

Benefits

When in doubt, throw some lavender on it. 
So, basically lavender is great for everything. If I told you every single thing it can be used for we would be here way longer than either of us wanted to be. Since people get a little touchy about the “voodoo oils”, I’ll just give you benefits that have science to back it up.
Antioxidant. First, lavender possesses antioxidant properties. Free radicals effect the immune system and are a common risk factor for disease. The body can become overwhelmed by these radicals and become antioxidant deficient. Phytomedicine published a study that states lavender increases the body’s natural antioxidant activity. 
Diabeetus. Yes, lavender as been proven effective against diabetes symptoms to include: increased blood sugar, metabolic disorders, weight gain, and liver/kidney functions. So, eat all the snack cakes you want, lavender has your back.


Mood Enhancer. Most famously, lavender is known for boosting your mood and relieving stress. An article in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice shows how effective lavender oil was against placebos and prescription medication with no adverse effects. Same is true for postpartum women, PTSD, and even dental patients. 
Wound Healing. In addition to being good for healing emotional wounds, lavender is also effective against physical wounds. Studies in the journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine explores lavender’s antifungal/antimicrobial properties and its ability to accelerate wound healing. 
Skin and Hair Health. It’ll make you feel good and look good. Lavender is great for your skin and hair! I think it is in just about every DIY beauty product I have. A 2016 study found that when applied to mice, their hair grew thicker and faster than normal. It eases skin conditions and turns back the aging clock. 
Cancer. Now-a-days, you can’t throw a rock without hitting someone impacted by cancer. A study published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines shows that lavender helps patients with cancer deal with stress, nausea, and chronic pain. I ain’t saying it’ll cure cancer, but it can’t hurt. 


Application

Like I mentioned earlier, lavender is a gentle oil. It can be applied directly to the skin. As with all oils, make sure you test a small patch prior to slathering it on your entire body. In some cases, like with children for example, dilution is necessary. The general rule for dilution is .5% for children (4 drops per ounce of carrier) and 5% for adults (30 drops per ounce of carrier). 
Diffusing is my preferred method. I probably go a little over board with it, but oh well! I use 12-15 drops of lavender each time. It can be a little stout, so adjust to your preference. 
I don’t ever recommend using essential oils internally because people react so differently to them. You never know and it’s better to play it safe. I’ve never had any adverse reactions to lavender before. I love adding a drop to my lemonade during the summer. It is heavenly!

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