Ingredient Spotlight: Lavender
When we think of Lavender, some of us may conjure up memories of our grandmother. Lavender is sometimes thought of as an "old fashioned" scent. Maybe that's because its rich history goes back over 2500 years!
Ancient Egyptians used lavender for mummification as well as perfume. Lavender oil was used by The Romans for cooking and soap making. In fact, the word Lavender is derived from the Latin word "lavare" which means "to wash". In Medieval times women who were hired to do laundry were called "lavenders". The Ancient Greeks and Romans also found lavender to be helpful in treating wounds, healing infections and insomnia. In the Bible, Spikenard or "Nard", a member of the Lavender family is referred to as the oil that Mary used to wipe Jesus' feet. In the 16th century, lavender became popular in England and highly favored by Queens Elizabeth and Victoria.
It is believed that Lavender originated in the Mediterranean and India. However, today it is grown commercially in Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the USA. While, it is still primarily used for perfume and soap, it can also be found in natural cleaning products, candles and food products.
In recent history, many scientific studies have shown lavender to be useful for medical purposes. Lavender essential oil is often used to promote relaxation and sleep in adults as well as babies through the use of inhalation, massage oils and bath oils. Sleep research has shown it to be effective in reducing the time needed to fall to sleep, increased relaxation, overall quality of sleep and decreased fatigue after awakening.
Lavender also has many positive effects psychologically such as helping with anxiety, stress, depression and other neurological disorders.
During my Aromatherapy training I learned about French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé. In 1910 he burned his hand in a lab experiment and immediately stuck his hand in the closest bucket of liquid which just happened to be lavender essential oil. Later, he was quite surprised at how quickly his hand healed and with minimal scarring. That experience led him to experiment with essential oils and he used them to treat wounded soldiers in World War One. Since then, many more studies have shown that Lavender can accelerate wound healing due to its ability to help promote collagen synthesis. Other studies have found it to be antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.
Lavender has also become more popular in food. Herbe de Provence which contains Lavender as well as as several ingredients, is one of my favorite spices to cook with. Many Earl Grey teas contain Lavender and Lavender Lemonade has become very popular in recent years. You can even find it in many baked goods.
In skin care, Lavender is mostly used in the form of essential oil but Lavender hydrosol or "flower water" is also used, Another way lavender is used in skin care is by infusing the flowers in a carrier oil such as Jojoba. You can find Lavender Essential Oil in our Moisture Boost Body Oil.
So even though Lavender is "old fashioned", there are many good reasons to use it today. I love Lavender! It's a beautiful plant, a distinctive heavenly scent and sooo good for your skin.
Are you a fan of Lavender? Let us know below in the comments.
Be well friends!