What is Lavender?

Lavender, a cult favorite.

The scent takes us on a journey to the back roads of the Western Europe regions. An aroma many opt to use in our laundry detergents, hand soaps, candles, shampoo and so much more.

Lavender is one of those particular plants that grow abundantly around the world, however, how much do we know about lavender aside from it just smelling nice? What makes that scent so enticing that its aroma needs to cling to our laundry when we take our clothes out of the drier?  What details do we know about the plant itself that makes it the choice of preference regarding its therapeutic properties?

This article here is a concise breakdown of the Lavender plant (Lavandula Angustifolia). Giving us a little more insight on the botanical to help us make more educated decisions when using Lavender.  Lavender is not just a scent, but a whole world of botany and organic chemistry with a multitude of properties and uses.

The Science first:

Lavandula angustifolia is a plant in the Lamiaceae family, with an abundance of therapeutic properties and biological activities. Some of these including; being an anticonvulsant, anxiolytic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial.

Studies and tests have unfolded its phytochemical composition, breaking it down into its primary major constituents.

Those constituents are:

  • 1,8-cineole
  • camphor
  • endo-borneol

While the constituents listed above may make up most of the composition of the botanical. Many people don’t know that the other constituents in lesser amounts can have just as much, if not more impact on the therapeutic properties of the essential oil than the major constituents. The combined effect of all these chemicals to create a greater outcome is called Synergy.

Additional constituents are found in small quantities in Lavender are:

  • α-pinene
  •  camphene
  •  α-pinene
  •  β-pinene
  •  p-cymene
  •  limonene
  •  terpinen-4-ol
  •  cryptone

While the chemical compound above is just a general breakdown of the average lavender, the complexity, and composition of the plant changes according to where the Lavender is being cultivated. Many would not think that Lavender can be contrasting in composition, just depending on where the plant was grown and the quality of the soil, thus having an influence on the distribution of the chemical compounds of the plant and how effective the therapeutic properties are.

Based on the communities of health professionals who use aromatics, many agree that the most optimal regions for cultivation and harvesting Lavender are Greece, Italy, France, and Bulgaria. This being because the soil, temperatures, and ecosystem support the production of lavender plants in a way that produces the most ideal balance of chemical compounds.

The History:

Being an impressive source of polyphenols and pharmacological properties described in the medical literature, Lavender is Indigenous to the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean and North Africa and has provided many medicinal benefits to the Greeks, Romans, French and many more since ancient times.

Dioscorides, a Greek naturalist during the first century A.D., was known to travel extensively throughout Greece and Rome, searching for medicinal substances. He was even the first to write in his book De Materia Medica’ praising the medicinal attributes of Lavender. 

Lavender was also a favorite ingredient used by both Greeks and Roman in baths and culinary arts.

While in ancient Egypt, it was used as a perfume and as an ingredient for incense; during the Middle ages, it was considered an herb of love and used as an aphrodisiac. It was believed that a splash of lavender water on the head of a loved one would keep the person chaste. Lavender was also used as an ingredient in scent salts and was used as a disinfectant of wounds during wartime.

Based on its history, Lavender was used medicinally for things such as headaches, hysteria, nervous palpitations, hoarseness, palsy, toothaches, sore joints, apoplexy, colic, coughs, and rumbling digestive systems.

Less commonly known, other historical uses include embalming corpses, treating dogs of lice, calming lions and tigers, repelling mosquitoes and supporting skin health.

Use of Lavender Essential oil:

Because Lavender has strong anti-microbial properties, many people use the essential oil on their skin. The antimicrobial properties are intended to help control acne and support the skin in its healing process.  Additional cites claim it helps reduce inflammation and unclogs pores.

Lavender and hair loss:

Photo by Deena

*The therapeutic use of Lavender oil has been also proved in a laboratory setting the possibility to treat alopecia areata which causes hair loss in some parts of the body in some patients. This opens a door to more natural options than the typical use minoxidil (Rogaine), Anthralin, Corticosteroid creams and other OTC manufactured products.

In 1998 lavender was able to promote hair growth up to 44% after 7 months of treatment under the supervision of a medical team.

Lavender Toner Recipe:

When using lavender essential oil for issues such as acne, it is advised to dilute 2 drops of lavender essential oil with a minimum of 5 ml of witch hazel. Using a cotton pad, apply it to the affected area of your skin. Please keep in mind that it is not recommended to apply essential oils on open wounds.

Because Lavender is such a powerhouse, it is also a common ingredient used in cosmetics due to its ability to aid in the reduction of hyperpigmentation and redness of the skin.

Lavender Soothing Oil Recipe:

For cases of skin inflammation or burns, it is recommended to prepare a mix of 3 drops of lavender oil with a minimum of 5 ml (100 drops) of pure organic coconut oil.

In some cases, there have been reports that when Lavender is used effectively, it has helped reduce scars and aided in the healing process of serious burns in some individuals.

Lavender Post-Sun Recovery Spray:

When it comes to sunburns, simply add a quarter cup of Aloe-Vera, 2 tablespoons of distilled water, and 12 drops of lavender oil. Mix the ingredients and pour the solution into a spray bottle and apply 3 times a day until the skin is healed.

Reminder:

Now, it should be made aware, there is no such thing as a cure-all in any type of circumstance. However, when the tools of nature are used in a precise and consistent manner, they can offer therapeutic properties that are able to aid an individual on their journey to health. Lavender has hundreds of years of history in which it has been applied in the world of medicinal practices. Even today, more research and studies are continuously uncovering the special properties of this impressive plant.

So, the next time you grab your bottle of Lavender scented laundry detergent, you’ll have a little more awareness and appreciation of what this soothing and elegant botanical has contributed to the world.

Always consult your doctor prior to the use of natural supplements. XinerQi always advises customers to consult with their doctors or a licensed practitioner prior to use.

Lavender is relatively non-toxic and non-irritant. However, it oxidizes very easily when exposed to sunlight (UV rays) and air (Oxygen) making it more susceptible to cause skin irritations.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information or product provided is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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