Exploring The Beauty And Benefits Of Lavender
By Matthew Campbell
National Sales Manager for Kate's Magik
Lavender Essential Oil is probably the most well-known of all essential oils, and the plant’s sweet, herbaceous floral aroma has been used for its nurturing and cleansing properties for thousands of years. Aptly referred to as the “mother of essential oils” by aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood for its compassionate nature and the ability of lavender to “let us know that we are all her precious children and we all have our destiny of goodness to fulfill.” Pure Lavender essential oil also possesses a myriad of therapeutic and medicinal properties that have furthered its popularity and make it a staple in any essential oil kit.
The True Lavender Plant, Lavandula angustifolia, is believed to have been originally cultivated during ancient times in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and India. It was used as part of the burial and mummification rituals in Ancient Egypt and traces have been discovered in many tombs, including that of the pharaoh Tutankhamen. Cleopatra wore lavender oil as a perfume for its beguiling, floral aroma as well cosmetically in ointments for its skin care benefits. According to legend, its sultry scent even helped her win the hearts of Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. While it is debated whether the name Lavender is derived from the latin word lavare meaning “to wash” or livendula referring to the color “bluish grey,” lavender flowers and extracts were an integral part of the cleansing and ritual baths throughout Persia and the Greek and Roman empires. These baths were known to provide deep cleansing for both body and mind and helped treat a wide variety health issues including soothing sore muscles and insomnia. Try adding ten drops of Lavender oil to your next bath and then apply Muscle Works afterward to melt away aches and pains in the body.
Herbs and essential oils have been used therapeutically for thousands of years. However what we might consider “modern clinical aromatherapy,” as well as the term “aromatherapy” itself, only go back to the early twentieth century when French scholar and chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé severely burnt his arm in a laboratory accident at his family’s perfumery. Upon applying Lavender oil, he discovered it rapidly stopped the spread of gangrene and noticed that the burns healed quite quickly with minimal scarring. He went on to further study Lavender as well as other essential oils, recording the success of their antiseptic and therapeutic properties to treat wounded soldiers in WWI for burns and injuries. Some soldiers were even given a bottle of Lavender Essential Oil in their field kits for treating burns on the battlefield. He published his findings in the 1937 book Aromatherapie, which coined the term we all use today.
At Kate’s Magik, we recently changed the source of our Lavender Essential Oil. Our new, high-quality, therapeutic Lavender oil is from the high plains of Bulgaria and possesses a slightly sweet, fruitier aroma. Over the years working at Kate's Magik, Kate has taught me the importance and helpfulness of always having a bottle of Lavender Single Note on hand (in my bag, in the car, on my desk, next to my bed, etc.) as it is such a powerful and versatile essential oil. Its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and calming properties help with headaches, bug bites, cuts, skin irritations or anytime we need a little extra support during times of stress or anxiety. While we recommend diluting essential oils in a carrier for use on the body, Lavender is quite gentle and is typically safe to apply neat (undiluted) when only using a drop or two for a small area or palm inhalation. Lavender essential oil also helps enhance the body’s immune response, and its nurturing properties ease a troubled mind during times of illness, making it a perfect companion for Bergamot in Kate's Healing Anointing Oil.
Lavender instills feelings of calm and peacefulness and can help “blow away the blues and cleanse the emotional palette” as Kate has said. It has that gentle, nurturing energy that brings forth inner peace and supports us during times of stress and turmoil. She blends it with relaxing Roman Chamomile in Peace & Purification Anointing oil, which is my personal go-to blend for anxiety. Lavender can also promote spiritual healing, clear blockages of energy in the body and is a beneficial oil to diffuse during meditation to help calm and center the mind. Its ability to bring forth compassion and uplift us in times of sadness are evident in Kate’s divine blend for Healing of the Heart, where it comes together with the highest vibrational oil on the planet: Bulgarian Rose Otto.
While the limitless benefits of Lavender have filled entire books, its familiar, comforting aroma reminds us of the love and bounty our Mother Earth provides. As you take a moment for yourself and inhale the rich, floral aroma of pure Lavender essential oil, feel the chaos of contemporary living leave your mind and tension being released from your physical body. Visualize warm, healing, maternal energy enveloping you and remember to be thankful for the incredible, healing essence provided by this majestic flower.