Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourris since years.
Lavender essential oil has also been traditionally used in making perfumes. The oil is very useful in aromatherapy and many aromatic preparations are made using lavender oil. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg. Today, lavender essential oil is used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, gels, infusion, lotion, and soaps.
The various health benefits of lavender essential oil include:
Nervous System: Lavender essential oil has a calming scent which makes it an excellent tonic for the nerves. Therefore, it helps in treating migraines, headaches, anxiety, depression, nervous tension and emotional stress. The refreshing aroma removes nervous exhaustion and restlessness and increases mental activity.
Sleep: Lavender essential oil induces sleep and hence it is often recommended for insomnia.
Pain Relief: Lavender essential oil is also an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore muscles, tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil provides relief from pain in the joints.
Urine Flow: Lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders as it stimulates urine production. It helps in restoring hormonal balance and reduces cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces any associated cramps.
Respiratory Disorders: Lavender oil is extensively used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapour or applied on the skin of neck, chest and back. It is also added in many vaporizers and inhalers used for cold and coughs.
Skin Care: The health benefits of lavender oil for the skin can be attributed to its antiseptic and antifungal properties. It is used to treat various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammations. It heals wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns rapidly as it aids in the formation of scar tissues. Lavender oil is added to chamomile to treat eczema.
Hair Care: Lavender essential oil is useful for the hair as it can be very effective on lice and lice eggs or nits.
Blood Circulation: Lavender essential oil is also good for improving blood circulation. It lowers blood pressure and is used for hypertension.
Digestion: Lavender oil is useful for digestion as it increases the mobility of the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile and thus aids in treating indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Immunity: Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to diseases.
Other health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to treat leucorrhoea. It is also effective against insect bites. The oil is also used to repel mosquitoes and moths. You will find many mosquito repellents containing lavender oil as one of the ingredients.
As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil. It is also recommended that diabetics stay away from lavender oil. It may also cause allergic reactions to people having sensitive skin. Some people may also witness nausea, vomiting and headaches due to usage of lavender oil.