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Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia

Lavender has been used for 2,500 years; since the Egyptians and Phoenicians used it for healing, embalming and perfume. It is the most versatile of all essential oils, as it contains 150 constituents. World renown aromatherapists have said that if they could have only one essential oil, they would choose lavender.

There are several species of Lavender flower, each having specific benefit.  Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis is true or English Lavender and is the most important medicinally. Spike lavender, Lavandula spica was used by ancient Romans to perfume their baths. The name lavender being derived from the Latin lavare meaning to wash.  There is also French Lavender, Lavandula stoechas;also known as Spanish Lavender.

Description: A hardy plant that grows to three feet, with narrow leaves and grey-blue flowers on slender stalks.

Aroma: the fresh, soft aroma is apparent throughout the plant. However, the essential oil can be extracted by steam distillation only from the flowers. Its sweet, happy aroma makes it a natural for children.

Lavender is native to Mediterranean Europe. Today it is cultivated throughout the world. The major producers of the essential oil are Bulgaria, France, Croatia and Russia.  It grows best in poor soil with good drainage. 

History: Lavender has been one of the best loved herbs for thousands of years. Its fragrance lifts the spirit. In ancient times it was used to sweeten the breath, and for perfumes in preparation for childbirth and to keep away infection. Dioscorides considered that its fragrance surpassed all other perfumes. It was dedicated to Hecate, the goddess of witches and sorcerers and was said to avert the evil eye.  The Virgin Mary is reputed to have been particularly fond of lavender, using it to protect clothes from insects and also because it preserved chastity. Mary is also said to have used it to anoint the feet of Jesus with her hair.

During the Middle Ages lavender was a favorite strewing herb for floors of houses and churches for protection against the Black Plague in the 17th Century. It was also used in linen closets cupboards, wardrobes and drawers to scent clothes and repel moths. It was hung in corners of rooms to keep away flies and mosquitoes.

Sixteenth century herbalists recognized its many medicinal properties. Its volatile oils account for its medicinal action, thus its similar uses in herbal medicine and aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy – When used in a diffuser or as a mist it balances emotions and lifts the spirits; as such it is often used in spiritual practices, for calming and stilling the mind.

It is highly effective for calming anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and physical symptoms of stress, such as headache, migraine, insomnia, trembling and palpitations.  It has a stimulating aspect that is a tonic to nervous system; it restores strength and vitality to those suffering from nervous exhaustion.

Lavender lowers blood pressure improving coronary circulation, thus improving oxygen to the muscles and brain. Hence it improves cognitive function, mental clarity and dispels drowsiness.

Internal Use - infused as a tea or taken as a tincture is also feasible.

It is relaxing to the digestive tract, soothing spasm and colic related to tension and anxiety.

It has powerful antiseptic properties that fight against bacteria, diphtheria, typhoid, streptococcus, and pneumococcus. When taken hot as a tea, it induces sweating to reduce fever, increasing the elimination of toxins through the skin and urine.

When applied externally – Lavender is an extremely effective disinfectant for cuts, wounds and sores. In times of war, when antiseptics and other drugs were not available, Lavender was used to prevent infection and aid healing. It was also used to treat soldiers for post war depression.

It stimulates tissue repair and minimizes scar tissue when applied undiluted to burns. Apply diluted to soothe pain and swelling of bruises, sprains, arthritic joints.

When used in massage, or in a bath, it helps to minimize tension and spasm in muscles.  For chest infections, coughs and colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, flu, tonsillitis and laryngitis, and asthma it is effective when rubbed on the chest or used for an inhalation.

There has been significant research and success with the use of Lavender for various types of Cancer.

Skin Care – Its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties make it ideal for improving skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. 

It restores the skin, slowing the appearance of the aging process, as well as reducing scar tissue and wrinkles.

To soothe and repair a sunburn, a good lavender cream will speed recovery preventing drying and peeling.  

Lavender cream is ideal for diaper rash, as it also calms the baby and helps put your baby to sleep when needed.

Lavender oil also repels some insects and relieves insect bites and stings.

It is beneficial for dry, itchy skin.

Perfume – It has been used as a perfume throughout the ages. Initially Greeks and Romans used it to perfume their bath water. They burned lavender incense to appease wrathful gods and they believed the aroma was soothing to untamed lions and tigers.  

As the perfume industry developed, Lavender was and always has been a prime aroma held in high regard by itself and blended with other natural aromas. Synthetic renditions rob one of the experience of its full body aroma and beneficial effect.

It also serves well as a body mist, non-toxic air freshener and a chemical-free lip balm.

Used as a Flower essence – It balances emotions and relieves anxiety and depression. It calms the mind helping to relieve emotional conflicts blocking spiritual growth. It stimulates the crown chakra to help connect to one’s higher self.


There are no known toxic effects nor side –effects for the use of Lavender. As, with all essential oils, be sure to patch test for individual sensitivity before applying it to the skin

Note - Since lavender is calming enough to be used as a sleep aid, one needs to be careful about combining it with prescription medications for sleep or relaxation or pain, as it will magnify the effects.

SAFETY – ...Misinformation on the internet

The safety of Lavender is one of the most falsely reported topics about essential oils. Its safety has been passed over and false reports of its lack of safety have spread across the internet and major media without valid reference and without substantiation. 

Important Article:

Lavender is not estrogenic


Author, Eve Stahl, is a Health Consultant, Herbalist and Skin Care expert. She specializes in using nature’s plants to enhance the health of people and to protect the health of our planet. To achieve this purpose she has created Garden of Eve Skin Care products for sensitive skin and all skin types. You can visit her company at: www.gardenofeve.com Prospective Affiliates visit: www.gardenofeveskincare.com/affiliate-application


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