Lavender

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Resources for more information on Essential Oils

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The Romans added lavender to their bathwater (the name comes from the Latin "lavare" meaning "to wash")

All lavender varieties were once distilled together without distinction, the resulting oil being called "oil sticadore" or "oil of spike". In 1760, the different lavender's characteristics started to be classified seperately.

Lavender is credited with being: a stimulant, tonic, stomachic, carminative, antispasmodic, diuretic, antiseptic, vulnerary and circulatory plant.

The flowers are steam-distilled in the fields where they have grown and approximately 100kg (220lb) are needed to obtain 500g (18oz) of essential oil.

An oil can also be produced from the stalks, but it is less subtle than that from the flowers.

The principal constituents of the eo are: alcohols such as borneol, geraniol and linalool, esters such as geranyle and linalyl and terpenes like pinene and limoneme. Lavender eo also contains a high proportion of phenol, which makes it a strong antiseptic and antibiotic.

Dangers: Lavender is one of the least toxic oils, but care must still be taken. The biggest problem is that Lavandin (produced from a hybrid lavender X aspic) is often sold as lavender eo. No remedy will work if lavandin is used instead of lavender. The price should be your guide: lavandin costs about one third the price of lavender.

USES: Lavender is considered _the_ oil for burns and healing of the skin. It is also very effective in treating cystitis, vaginitis and leucorhoea.....she then explains various medical remedies and uses.....and goes on to say that lavender can be used during pregnancy, and can be used to prevent circulatory problems such as varicose veins by massaging the legs with an oil consisting of 3 drops cypress, 2 drops each of lavender and lemon and 25ml soya oil. Lavender is reputed to cure/treat headaches, abscesses and boils, anaemia, arthritis, backache, bronchitis, bruises, colic, coughing, cuts and wounds, fatigue, gout, menopause, oedema, pediculosis, shingles, stings and bites and stress. (!!!)

IN BEAUTY: Just as lavender can be used to help burns heal quickly, so too can it help with skin problems such as bruises, frostbitem, acne, dermatitis and swelling. A few drops added to warm bathwater help with cellulite. Lavender water is a good toner for the skin as it helps normalise the secretions of the sebaceous glands. It is also useful for oily hair (especially dark hair) as a rinse. Lavender can deter dog and cat fleas and moths.

In another section she explains how to make your own lavender oil by adding 250g (8oz) fresh flowers or 100g (4oz) dried flowers to every 600ml (1 pint) of grapeseed or soya oil. Allow to stand in a sunny window for 2 to 3 weeks.

From Aromatherapy - the encyclopedia of plants and oils and how they help you" by Daniele Ryman
Steven Venter" 8/25/98

I live in central Texas, and our soil is mainly extremely alkaline caliche, so I grow my lavenders (my favorite is Lavandula angustifolia "Hidcote") in half-barrel containers - it works great! Just don't make the mistake of cosseting it - it likes to be kind of ignored *g*. Easy to harvest and you an make sure it stays chemical free. For a recipe beyond the obvious - warning, as it's not a toiletry - add the buds to a basic butter shortbread recipe and it's incredible! Would make a nice addition to a gift basket of lavender soaps, lotion and cologne. Lavender scented ink and handmade paper with the buds in it!
Emily Scott Banks 8/25/98

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© 1998- Linda Coffin

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