Lavender: The Gateway Drug of Aromatherapy
By Amy Hunt
If you have ever used any essential oils, chances are good that you started with Lavender. This versatile and gentle oil is almost universally trusted for people of all ages. Its relaxing scent is easily recognizable.
According to Anne Kennedy in Aromatherapy for Beginners, Lavender is one of the few oils that is safe for undiluted use. The French scientist Rene Gattefosse is credited with discovering Lavender’s healing ability after he burned himself in a laboratory accident and stuck his burned hand into a vat of pure lavender oil. The burn healed quickly and completely. Its acceptance by the medical community is ongoing. According to Life Science Publishing’s Essential Oils Pocket Reference, Lavender is one of the few oils that is still listed in the British Pharmacopoeia. This annually published list of quality standards for medicine is trusted by medical professionals the world over. The effectiveness of the oils listed in the Pharmacopoeia is well-established.
People call it the gateway drug because once you try Lavender oil and receive its benefits, you are more likely to try other oils. Lavender can treat many different types of problems all by itself however, so one may not need any other oils. It is an analgesic, antiseptic, antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and a sedative. It is also said to be an antidepressant, deodorant, decongestant and diuretic.
Anne Kennedy calls Lavender ideal for treating issues such as anxiety, depression, insect bites, insomnia, minor burns, cuts and scrapes and sunburns. I have used it to treat acne and eczema as well. I also create linen spray to spritz on my sheets at bedtime to help me sleep. I roll some Lavender and Coconut oil on my son’s feet at bedtime to help them calm down and fall asleep faster. I use it in my bathtub to help me relax.
When my children were babies, lavender mixed with Shea butter was all the diaper rash cream they ever needed. The rashes always healed quickly. The scent soothed them as well.
This oil is really my go-to for just about any need. I diffuse it, mix it into my lotion, put it in my bath with Epsom salts, and mix it with my deodorant. It was the first oil I ever purchased. For me, it really was a gateway drug. Since I took my first massage class in 1999 and started to blend essential oils into my massage oils, I have learned to enjoy many different oils because of their wonderful scents. Lavender is so much more than a pretty smell though. It is a medicinal powerhouse! I am enjoying learning about the myriad of healing benefits that essential oils carry. Lavender is a great oil to start with if you are interested in having a small number of quality oils that can do a large number of things. Do yourself a favor and get to know Lavendula angustifolia. You will be glad you did!
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