Lavender oil is an essential oil obtained by distillation from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender. Two forms are distinguished: lavender flower oil, a colorless oil, insoluble in water, having a density of 0.885 g/mL, and lavender spike oil, a distillate from the herb Lavandula latifolia, having a density of 0.905 g/mL. Pure lavender essential oil is produced through steam distillation. This generates a greater amount of oil compared to other methods due to reduction of polar compound loss. Harvest of lavender blooms are typically around June.
The origin of Lavender is believed to be from the Mediterranean, Middle East and India. Its history goes back some 2500 years. The ancient Greeks called Lavender nardus, after the Syrian city of Naarda and was commonly called Nard. Lavender was one of the holy herbs used to prepare the Holy Essence and Nard, or ”spikenard” is mentioned in the bible. Lavender has been used for thousands of years, the ancient Persians, Greeks and Romans adding its flowers to their bath water to help wash and purify the skin. In fact, the word ”lavender” comes from the Latin ”lavare”, which means ”washing”. The Phoenicians, Arabs, and Egyptians also used lavender both as a perfume and in the mummification process, with the mummies wrapped in lavender-soaked dresses. In Greece and ancient Rome, lavender has been used as a cure with multiple uses, while in Medieval Europe and during the Renaissance period it has been poured on the castle’s floor as a natural disinfectant and deodorant. Lavender was even used during the Great Plague in London from the 17th century, when they made large fires throwing, besides wood, lavender flowers, believing they would be protected from the pandemic.
Lavender essential oil is today considered to be the most versatile essential oil, due to its many beneficial effects of relaxation and calming for the entire body. Very useful in aromatherapy because of its fine and pleasant fragrance, lavender essential oil also brings a lot of benefits, reducing the nervous tension, being a good adjunct to respiratory problems and muscle aches, disinfecting the skin and stimulating blood circulation as well. Lavender oil is most often extracted from lavender flowers by vapor distillation, and it can be easily combined with other precious essential oils such nutmeg, cedar or pine oils, being also very often incorporated into cosmetics such as shower gels, body lotions or natural soaps.
Featuring a floral, fresh, slightly grassy fragrance, lavender essential oil is noted as a powerful tonic for the entire nervous system, being an adjunct to treating migraines, nervous tension or emotional stress. A true oasis of peace for the mind and body, lavender oil scatters restlessness and anxieties, helping to achieve a better quality of sleep due to its slightly sedative effect that actively combats insomnia.
Used both in the form of a tincture and as an inhaler or vaporizer, lavender essential oil can succesfully fight against problems such as throat infections, nasal congestion, tonsillitis, laryngitis, bronchitis or even asthma. Its vapours have proven antibacterial properties, while as a tincture it is a bacterial inhibitor, which is why it is considered a genuine blessing for skin. As it has an antifungal and antiseptic effect, lavender essential oil speeds up the healing of wounds and irritations, leaving the skin clean and protected, its constant use guaranteeing fewer rashes, irritations, baskets or infections. Other benefits include boosting appetite, improving digestion, relieving indigestion and stomach pain, reducing bladder inflammation, relieving cramps or cystitis effects.