Lavender Essential Oil: Everything You Wanted To Know But Were Afraid To Ask

Lavender

From the history of lavender to how to use it, this podcast episode covers everything about lavender essential oil that you could possibly want to know.

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Interested in purchasing Young Living’s lavender essential oil after listening to this podcast episode? Here is a good place to start. A Young Living Independent Distributor, my member number is 4021859, and, whenever you sign up to be a Young Living Member through me, I will send you this goody bag for free anywhere in the world!

Here are my show notes, which I referenced in this podcast episode.

HISTORY
In ancient Egypt, Lavender essential oil’s primary uses were cosmetics and embalming. Mummies were wrapped in lavender-dipped garments. When Howard Carter, an English Egyptologist, entered King Tutankhamen’s tomb in 1923, a faint scent of lavender could still be detected, 3000 years later. Jars filled with creams containing lavender were found. Only the royal families and high priests were allowed to use these lavender based creams in their cosmetics, medicines and massage oils. Wealthy Egyptian men would place solid cones of lavender cream on their heads. As it melted, it covered their bodies with the sweet perfume of lavender. Cleopatra was said to of seduced both Julius Caesar and Marc Anthony with its scent and the asp that killed her had allegedly been hiding in one of her lavender bushes.

The Greeks referred to it as Nardus after the city of the same name in Syria.

Both Dioscorides, a Greek military physician under the Roman Emperor, Nero, and Pliny the Elder also wrote about lavender’s therapeutic benefits. During Pliny’s time, blossoms of nardus sold for 100 Roman denarii per pound, a quite princely sum equaling the cost a month’s wages for a farm laborer or fifty haircuts from the local barber.

Roman soldiers took lavender on campaigns with them to dress war wounds. Lavender was strewn on the floor to sweeten the air, fumigate sick rooms and as incense for religious ceremonies. Romans used lavender oil to perfume their hair, bodies, clothes, bed, baths, military flags and the walls of their houses. The word Lavender comes from one of two Latin words, lavare, which means to wash or livere, which means “blueish”. Women hung lavender next to their beds as an aphrodisiac.

Romans first brought Lavender to Provence, which is currently the world’s largest lavender producing region.

In the 10th century in the Middle East, Avicenna, one of the most famed thinkers of the Islamic Golden Age, also wrote about lavender.

In the 12th Century, in the North of England, washerwomen were called Lavenders due to the custom of scenting newly washed linen with the herb.

During Henry VIII’s reign, lavender was placed among linens, sewn into sachets, used to freshen the air and mixed with beeswax to make furniture polish. It was traditionally planted near the laundry room so that linens and clothing could be laid over the plants to dry while absorbing the fresh odor of lavender.

Queen Elisabeth I used lavender as a perfume. She encouraged the development of lavender farms. Henrietta Marie, wife of King Charles I, introduced cosmetics to the English court, used lavender in perfumed soaps, potpourris, and water for washing and bathing.

Shakespeare mentioned lavender in Winter’s Tale.

King Charles VI of France had his seat cushions stuffed with lavender.

In 16th century French glove makers perfumed their products with lavender.

In 17th Century Ireland, lavender was often used for lawns instead of grass.

Queen Victoria loved lavender so much that she appointed someone “Purvey of Lavender Essence to the Queen.”

In Victorian England dried lavender was put into muslin bags for wardrobes, used to wash walls and furniture and lavender bags were stuffed between sheets in linen presses. Small bags of lavender were made for young women to wear in their cleavage in hopes of attracting a suitor.

In 1910, the French scientist Rene Gattefossé severely burned both of his hands in a laboratory explosion and was the first to discover lavender’s therapeutic qualities when he successfully used lavender essential oil to heal himself. Gattefosse began to research and experiment using essential oils and subsequently collaborated with a number of doctors who treated French soldiers for war wounds during World War I. Lavender essential oil was among the essential oils they used on both patients and for disinfecting hospital floors and walls. He reported his findings in a scientific paper in 1928. This is where the term “Aromatherapy” was first used.

WHY IS LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL SO POPULAR?
More than US$ 76 million worth lavender oil was purchased worldwide in 2016, accounting for a 49.0% revenue share of the entire essential oil market. That means that nearly half of all essential oil sold in 2016 was lavender essential oil! So why is lavender essential oil so popular? In such a fast-paced, hyper-connected world, calm is welcomed. Lavender essential oil is associated with calm.It is in an enormous amount of household products, so it has immediate name recognition. If you were to look under your kitchen sink, you mostly have some sort of lavender-scented cleaning product. Everyone has heard of lavender essential oil but they don’t necessarily know how to use it.

Lavender essential oil has a gorgeous smell. Easy to use, it is gentle enough for all members of the family, including infants. Lavender essential oil has an affordable price point. With an almost endless list of benefits and different ways that it can be used, what’s not to love about lavender? I often refer to lavender essential oil as the Gateway Oil, as it is the essential oil that first draws my friends’ interest.

PROPERTIES OF LAVENDER I WANT TO DISCUSS
CHEMICAL PROPERTIES
Lavender essential oil contains monoturpinals, esters and linalol and is 3669 on the ORAC scale. (Google all of that for more information. I failed Chemistry in high school.)

ADAPTOGENIC OIL
Lavender essential oil is an adaptogenic oil, which means that it is an essential oil that adapts to what your body needs. Lavender essential oil always makes me sleepy and relaxes me, which means that I need more sleep and have too much stress.

STRESS RELIEVER
In 1998, the University of Miami conducted a study which found that the inhalation of lavender oil increased beta waves in the brain, suggesting heightened relaxation. It also improved cognitive performance. In 2001, a Osaka Kyoiku University study found that lavender reduced mental stress and improved cognitive performance. Lastly, a 2008 King’s College London study concluded that inhaling lavender reduced the stress levels in dental patients.

PROMOTES HEALTHY SLEEP
Lavender essential oil works so well for me that I have to be careful to put it on only before bedtime because it knocks me out. I put it on my toddler when he doesn’t want to go to sleep at night and it helps make him sleepy in about 20 minutes.

LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL DURING PREGNANCY, LABOR AND POSTPARTUM
I diffused lavender essential oil during my most recent pregnancy. I also used a sachet scented with lavender oil during labor and postpartum. I put Lavender essential oil neat (undiluted) on my big toe while staying at the hospital to help cope with having to spend the night there (obligatory at the hospital where I gave birth.)

LAVENDER ON BABIES AND CHILDREN
Even though one drop of lavender oil is the equivalent to 28 cups of lavender tea, it is gentle enough to use on babies and children. Some people apply lavender oil neat (undiluted) onto their little ones, but I don’t. A dilution ratio of 1 drop of essential oil to 30 drops of carrier oil is recommended on small children and for all infants.

MOSQUITOS HATE LAVENDER
Lavender essential oil in carrier oil is effective against mosquitos for up to 4 hours. Moths, fleas, and flies also hate lavender essential oil.

HOW TO APPLY AND USE LAVENDER
The most popular application for lavender essential oil is “Neat,” which means undiluted. I put lavender oil neat on my wrists, behind my ears, on my temples, under my nose, on the base of my throat and on my big toe.

Diluted lavender oil is recommended for children and all infants, with the previously mentioned 1:30 ratio. When diluting essential oil with a carrier oil, sweet almond oil and Young Living’s V-6 oil are the ones that I use the most often.

Lavender essential oil can also be diffused.

Another method of interaction with lavender essential oil is pouring hot water in a bowl, adding a few drops of Lavender essential oil, putting a towel over your head and breathe in.

Lavender essential oil can also be mixed into Epsom bath salts and put it in the bath.

You can put a few drops of Lavender essential oil on your palms or hairbrush and run it through your hair.

Put a few drops of lavender essential oil on your pillowcase or pyjamas to help support healthy sleep.

WHY IS THE QUALITY OF YOUR LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL IMPORTANT
There are four grades of essential oils: Therapeutic grade, Organic and Certified oils, Extended or Altered oils and Synthetic and Nature-Identical oils. There is no body governing the purity of oils on the market, so it is basically a free for all. It is important to only use therapeutic grade, because a large percentage of so-called organic oils have only 10 organic essential oil drops in a bottle that is otherwise filled up with a carrier oil. Essential oil grades other than Therapeutic may smell good but will have no therapeutic benefits.  At worst they can contain unknown chemicals that you will be absorbing into your body or that your children or babies will be absorbing into their bodies.

WHY I CHOOSE YOUNG LIVING’S LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
Young Living’s Seed to Seal process is what initially sold me on the brand. It is comprised of 5 steps: Seed, Cultivate, Distill, Test and Seal,

SEED
Seeds and plants are verified for their essential oil potential by a partnership between Young Living experts with university experts

CULTIVATE
Young Living has its own farms around the world where it grows its own plants and it completely in charge of its own harvests. Lavender is grown at its Mona, Utah farm and Simiane-la-Rotonde, France.

DISTILL
Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from the flowering top of the plant. It takes 27 square feet of lavender to have enough plant material to produce one 15 ml bottle of Young Living’s lavender oil. Lavender needs to be distilled in an extremely precise manner to have maximum therapeutic benefits. A distiller who is only interested in profit will distill lavender for 15 minutes at a very high temperature, at very high pressure whereas Young Living distills it for exactly 2 hours while not exceeding either 245 degrees Fahrenheit or 3 pounds of pressure.

TEST
All of Young Living’s essential oils are tested in Young Living’s internal labs as well as third party facilities before they go to market to make sure that they meet stringent specifications, exceed international standards and contain the optimal levels of natural bio-active compounds.

SEAL
Young Living completes the Seed to Seal process in their 107,000 square foot facility in Utah. Essential oils are carefully bottled into protective amber glass bottles – ready to be shipped to Young Living members worldwide. 

SUMMATION
I’m getting enough environmental pollutants on a daily basis. I can at least make sure the essential oil I use on my body is pure.

LISTENER MAIL
Since this is only my second episode, I don’t have any listener mail yet and would welcome it. You can email me at rebecca@thedropofftokyo.com or contact me via the form on this page.

OTHER WAYS TO REACH ME
Besides this website, I am also reachable via the following channels:
Facebook: The Drop Off Tokyo
Instagram: The Drop Off Tokyo
Twitter: The Drop Off Tokyo

FINAL QUOTE
As the 19th century Scottish Philosopher Thomas Carlyle wrote, “There is but one temple in this Universe: The Body. We speak to God whenever we lay our hands upon it.”

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