Lavender has several varieties. Lavender is a member of the Lamiaceae plant family with as many as 39 known species. Each species has its own forte. The lavender oil used in aromatherapy is botanically known as Lavandula angustifolia (True lavender, English lavender or French lavender). The other two species used are Lavandula latifolia (Portuguese or Spike lavender) and Lavandula x intermedia (Lavandin or Dutch lavender). Together, the three variants/species of lavender comprise most of the culinary, therapeutic, medicinal and aesthetic uses and make it one of the most versatile essential oils.
Though lavenders of different varieties grow across the Canary Islands, North and East Africa, Southern Europe, Arabia, Western Iran and India, they are also found in France, England and Tasmania.
Lavender oil serves as an analgesic or pain reliever, anti-depressant, nervine (nerve tonic), sedative and a diuretic. Let us take a look at how this middle note essential oil comes to play a crucial role in Aromatherapy :
1. Lavender oil proves effective in the management of a range of skin conditions due to its inherent properties. It is successfully used to manage conditions like acne, boils, sunburns, cuts and wounds, insect bites, psoriasis, eczema and abscesses.
2. Because of its analgesic properties, it is used to manage painful conditions such as muscle soreness, rheumatism, back aches, sprains, lumbago and joint pains, etc.
3. Lavender oil’s sedative attributes lend itself well to managing stress, fatigue, tension headaches, anxiety, insomnia and depression. A massage using the oil will bring relief of symptoms. Potpourris of lavender can be kept in the bedroom or bath oil drops of lavender can be used for bath times as well. A drop or two of the oil can be put with cotton wool on the pillowcases for light sleepers.
4. Lavender oil’s traits as a nervine is said to be beneficial in bringing clarity of thought and improvement of memory.
5. Lavender oil lends itself beautifully as a diuretic thus promoting the system to flush out urine waste products.