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Lavender - The Botanical Superhero

Summer will be coming to an end this soon and one of the highlights in my garden is the abundance of lavender plants that produce a stunning colour and the most gorgeous aroma. Harvesting the lavender flowers is a favourite job of mine. I infuse the lavender into a carrier oil to produce an exquisite lavender oil which I then use as a base as a massage oil or added to a facial oil and other products.

In my garden I grow various lavenders. Lavandula  Angustifolia otherwise known as true lavender,  Lavandula Stoechas which is the very pretty ‘bunny ears’ lavender, Lavandula Latifolia, known as spike lavender and Lavandula  x Intermedia. They all look lovely and smell divine but are they safe? As a plant to look at in your garden….yes. As an essential oil….no.

So here come the words of caution with lavender essential oil. If you are buying the oil always check the botanical Latin name. If your want to be completely safe then True lavender Lavendula Angustifolia is safe for use with children and in pregnancy. There are so many places selling a ‘lavender blend’ What does that mean? Probably a blend of various lavenders with no botanical listed on the bottle. How do you know it’s safe? You don’t. 

Lavandula Stoechas contains a high amount of camphor which means that it is unsafe in pregnancy, for use on children and for those who suffer from epilepsy. It’s an oil that I would use with the respiratory system and the musculoskeletal system for those suffering with joint pain and arthritis. A powerful oil, it must be used in lower dilutions. The same with Latifolia, high in camphor therefore not safe with epileptics, pregnancy and children.

Lavandula x Intermedia is a cross between true lavender and spike lavender but still has a higher camphor content so again caution is required.

Did you know that camphor in some of the lavender species can actually induce a fit if you are epileptic. It can cause damage in pregnancy and is too strong for children. Essential oils need to be used with caution and treated with respect. Please always contact a professional aromatherapist if you need advice or are in doubt. Be safe.

But going back to true lavender. What a joy it is. There is literally nothing that this lavender won’t treat. 

Insomnia
Stress and anxiety
Burns
Acne
Muscular aches
Eczema
Insect bites
Headaches and so much more.

It’s incredible. That one plant in your garden (The safe variety of course) can treat all of the above.

Here is a guideline to botanical names and common names.

Lavandula Angustifolia     - True lavender also may be called
Lavandula Officinalis and L Vera
Lavandula Stoechas         - Bunny ears
Lavandula x Intermedia    - Lavandin
Lavendula Latifolia           - Spike lavender

 

Healing blends

The scent of lavender is familiar to us all. Fresh, floral, herby. It’s an oil that blends with almost every other essential oil.

True lavender is the ONLY oil that can be used (with caution) undiluted especially with a burn or an insect bite to bring instant relief. Add a drop to your temples if you have a headache and if you need some calm in your life a couple of drops into the palm of your hands to inhale. 

For sunburn a couple of drops of lavender and peppermint oil added to a cream or your after sun offers a cooling sensation to bring some relief.

For painful periods add some lavender with roman chamomile if you have it, to a carrier oil or cream and massage it into your tummy to calm and ease the pain.

A word of warning - NEVER ever add essential oils to a bath without diluting beforehand. The oil can sit on the skin causing burns and discomfort in more sensitive areas.