Classic, familiar, and beloved — lavender essential oil is, undoubtedly, one of the most (if not the most) well-known essential oils. Used for thousands of years by even the ancient Egyptians and Romans, lavender essential oil is what crosses most people’s mind when you mention “essential oil”
Today, we are paying homage to this celebrated and highly versatile essential oil. We are exploring everything to do with lavender essential oil — from its extraction to its multitude of uses and benefits as well as the other essential oils it blends well with.
What is Lavender Essential Oil Made Of?
Lavender essential oil (scientifically known as Lavandula angustifolia) is derived from, well, the lavender flower. The lavender plant is a perennial evergreen plant that thrives in dry grassy slopes. There are over 30 species of lavender worldwide and hundred of genotypes. They are distinguished by their form and also the chemical composition of their essential oils.
Now grown quite globally, lavender is native to the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Italy, and Croatia) where there are wet winters and dry summers.
Lavender blooms vary in sizes and shapes and they grow on long spikes or stems. The growing conditions of the lavender plant significantly affect the quality of the essential oil. Factors such as season, climate, moisture levels, and soil all come into play here.
Lavender essential oil can be found in the microscopic glands on the outside ring of the flower petals, the inside of the flower petals, the leaves, and on the stalks and branches.
How is Lavender Essential Oil Extracted?
Lavender essential oil is extracted via a steam distillation process.
But, before the distillation, the lavender blooms must first be harvested. The ideal time for harvesting is when the flowers are in full bloom and this is usually around June. If the flowers are harvested before they are fully matured, this will negatively affect the quality of the oil.
Once harvested, the lavender flowers are compacted into a still to undergo the steam distillation process. Here, the stills are steamed, the steam is collected, and finally, the oil is separated and collected from the water.
Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
1. Improves sleep quality
If you are tossing and turning at night and in need of an essential oil to help you catch some z’s, lavender essential oil is it. Research has found that a few whiffs of lavender essential oil before bed promote deep sleep in young men and women.
Besides that, the essential oil is also a saving grace for those suffering from insomnia. This is because inhaling lavender essential oil has been shown to improve the quality of sleep of those suffering from insomnia.
Either diffuse lavender essential oil before you head to bed or add a few drops of the oil to your pillow every night to get a good night’s rest.
2. Manages and reduces anxiety as well as stress
The magic of lavender essential oil is not limited to just improving sleep quality. The oil can also help to reduce anxiety levels. In fact, it has been suggested that lavender oil could even take on prescription medicine when it comes to reducing generalized anxiety.
Keep lavender essential oil close at hand and inhale the soothing oil when you feel anxious or are simply overwhelmed and stressed.
3. Excellent for your skin
Lavender essential oil is one of the best oils around for your skin. Everything from acne and dry skin to inflammation and hyperpigmentation can be fixed by this miracle essential oil.
For example, with acne, the oil kills the bacteria responsible for breakouts and heals your skin by reducing inflammation. To fight acne, dilute a drop of lavender essential oil with coconut oil (or other carrier oil) and apply it to your clean face.
As an alternative, you can also use the oil as a facial toner by mixing two drops of the oil with a teaspoon of witch hazel. Soak a cotton pad or ball with the solution and swipe it across your face. For spot treatment, mix a drop of the essential oil with tea tree oil and apply it directly onto the affected area.
4. Inhibits and treats hair loss
For long luscious locks, get your hands on some lavender essential oil now. While the research and studies on this are still in the preliminary stage, the essential oil is possibly effective in significantly improving hair loss in alopecia areata (spot baldness).
There is no harm in getting ahead of the research and studies by incorporating the essential oil into your hair care routine now. So, start by adding a drop or two of lavender essential oil to your shampoo or conditioner.
Alternatively, use the essential oil as a sort of leave-in treatment by rubbing a drop of the oil onto your hair. The bonus of doing this is that you will smell amazing all day long.
5. Rich in wound-healing properties
Lavender essential oil can help to speed up the wound-healing process for burns, cuts, scrapes, and other minor wounds. In these circumstances, lavender oil helps the wound to contract and also promotes the healing of skin tissue.
For small wounds, mix three or four drops of lavender essential oil with a few drops of coconut oil and apply the mixture to the wound with a cotton bud. You can use this combination to reduce scars, too, after your wound has healed.
6. Relieves pain
Lavender essential oil’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic qualities make it an effective pain reliever. Osteoarthritis pain, neck pain, back pain, and period pain; lavender essential oil is the perfect relief for all of these conditions.
For some swift relief, mix lavender essential oil with a carrier oil (such as coconut, jojoba, or almond) and massage the blend onto the affected area.
7. Naturally repels insect and mitigates itchiness
Lavender essential not only acts as a natural insect repellent but it can also relieve itching. This is why many store-bought mosquito repellents list lavender oil as one of their ingredients.
For a DIY insect repellent spray, mix four drops of lavender essential oil with some water in a spray bottle and shake the mixture well. You can use this on your home, furniture, clothes, and even your body.
If you are using the oil to relieve itchiness, mix the oil with a carrier oil and apply it to the bite twice a day or as needed.
Mixing Lavender Essential Oil with Other Essential Oils
You would be hard-pressed to find an essential oil that does not blend well with lavender essential oil.
Lavender is excellent with bergamot, neroli, patchouli, sandalwood, rose, geranium, frankincense, juniper berry, vetiver, lemon, tangerine, grapefruit, clary sage, rosemary, and more. As we said, it is hard to find an essential oil that does not pair well with lavender.
Other Good-to-Know Information
Sadly, some people are allergic to lavender essential oil. So, start with a patch test just in case you are one of those allergic to the oil. Spare yourself the trouble of irritation, hives, redness, itchiness, and other unpleasant side effects.
If you are currently on medication (especially for drugs that induce sleepiness), seek medical advice before using lavender oil.
Is Lavender Essential Oil Right For You?
A favorite and must-have of many, you really cannot go wrong with the classic lavender essential oil.