Essential oils have been in use since antiquity because of their curative properties. These days, with the rise in the popularity of aromatherapy, these oils are increasingly being used as a remedy for various ailments at homes, clinics, hospitals, hospices, maternity wards, schools, and workplaces. Essential oils extracted from shrubs and trees, including their flowers, leaves, fruits, roots and stems, are used in aromatherapy. These oils are extracted by using various methods such as expression (e.g. oil squeezed out of peel), distillation, maceration (the plant is immersed in heated oil in order to extract its essence), and enffleurage (wherein flowers are pressed between oiled plates of glass). Lavender is one of the most popular essential oil used in aromatherapy. It is extracted by distillation from the purple hued flowers of the plant. Its aromatic qualities are floral, sweet and herbaceous.
The Versatility of Lavender:
Lavender?s popularity also stems from its versatility, since it can be used for a wide range of purposes apart from aromatherapy, from being a sedative to using it as a repellant for insects. Lavender is also known for its antibiotic, antiviral and antiseptic characteristics. The various therapeutic uses of lavender include easing coughs, killing bacteria, regenerating cells, stimulating the production of bile, treating fungal infections, enhancing the ability of the body to fight infection, alleviating high blood pressure, healing wounds, boosting the nervous system, and also as a tonic. Lavender is also used as a remedy for pain like muscular aches. Lavender is also known to alleviate one of the most common problems of infancy, colic, and various other childhood related infections and conditions. For instance, if a little lavender essential oil along with a few drops almond oil is added to the baby?s bath water, it helps the child to sleep.
In addition, lavender can also help in the treatment of psychological problems like manic depression. Also, a massage oil which has lavender essential oil in it can be very effective when used to massage along the sides of the spine. It can also be used to gently massage the lower abdomen to relieve menstrual cramps. Since lavender is known to relieve localized pain, it can be used in massaging for ailments like rheumatism and arthritis.
Recommended Usage of Lavender Essential Oil:
As is evident, as massage oil, lavender essential oil is the best. Usually, massage oil consists of one or two essential oils combined with a base-oil. For example, lavender essential oil combined with base almond oil. Other essential oils like juniper, rosemary or marjoram can also be added for greater efficacy.
Many kinds of headaches can also be treated either by the use of a lavender cold compress, placing it behind the neck or on the forehead, or by massaging the temples directly with a massage oil containing lavender essential oil. It is also an excellent remedy for muscular fatigue and ache that result from exercising. Flu, coughs, colds and sinus problems can be relieved by inhaling the vapors of lavender essential oil mixed with steaming hot water. A sore throat can also be alleviated by massaging the throat with a little of this oil.