It all began with a trip to a local lavender farm. My love affair with lavender has begun all over again. It’s been a while since I’ve pulled out the essential oil of lavender and connected with the rich mysteries of this luscious yet simple aroma.
All too often we see lavender in marketing. Lavender candles, room sprays, soaps, washing-up-liquid, cleaning products…as I clean my toilet I become relaxed by the aroma of lavender. Stuff and nonsense.
So, I’ve not been into lavender for a while. Too commercial. Too generic.
And then I went to the Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm. My little buddy Dawn and I headed off on an adventure to our friend Genevieve’s family’s farm. Genevieve had hyped me up with ‘bring your oracle cards’ and ‘lie in the hammock’ messages. I thought, ‘meh…a day out will be fun.’ So much more was revealed. And my love affair with the simple yet complex lavender began again.
Let’s start with the color. As we drove in we were welcomed by rows of green and purple bushes waving in the breeze. The grey green of the leaves and the various shades and purple hues are soothing to the soul before one even gets to the aroma.
I read cards in the gazebo, toured the grounds to find secret hideaway places and magical plants.
I learned about the different types of lavender and how each of the 11 varieties they have at Evergreen Valley Lavender Farm have a unique purpose. Peggy, our hostess, graciously shared her knowledge in the gardens. Thane, our host, took Dawn and I through the distillation process, even to sharing the burn he had got last night and how lavender was healing it.
And then I remember how powerful this delicate plant is in the aromatherapy world. We were joined late afternoon by Laurie, who asked ‘is our understanding of lavender being a relaxing scent a cultural interpretation?’ I was off…
- analgesic, which means it gently relieves pain
- antibacterial as in bactericide, destroys bacteria
- anticonvulsive, arrests or controls convulsions
- antidepressant, uplifts and counteracts melancholy
- antifungal as in fungicide, destroys fungal infections
- antiphlogistic, which means it reduces inflammation
- antirheumatic, helps to relieve rheumatism
- antiseptic, destroys or controls pathogenic bacteria
- antispasmodic, eases spasms and cramps
- antiviral, inhibits the growth of viruses
- bactericide, destroys bacteria
- carminative, settles the digestive system and expels gas from the intestinal tract
- cholagogue, increase bile production which breaks down fats
- cicatrisant, promotes healing of skin by formation of scar tissue
- cordial, invigorates and stimulates
- cytophylactic, encourages growth of skin cells thereby promoting skin healing
- decongestant, relieves congestion
- deodorant, destroys or inhibits odors
- detoxifying, removes harmful toxins from the body
- disinfectant, destroys or inhibits growth of harmful organisms
- diuretic, increases production and expulsion of urine
- emmenagogue, promotes and regulates menstrual flow
- fungicide, destroys fungal infections
- hypotensive, lowers blood pressure
- nervine, strengthens and tones the nervous system and nerves
- restorative, tending to revive and restore health and spirit
- sedative, reduces nervousness, distress or agitation
- soporific, induces sleep
- sudorific, increases de-tox through sweating out toxins
- vulnerary, prevents tissue degeneration and promotes healing of wounds *
Lavender like all the essential oils is made up of a combination of chemicals. These chemicals are known to have certain effects. No, it’s not a cultural thing. It’s actually scientific! Yes, that’s right, aromatherapy has a scientific basis.
Lavendula angustifolia or True Lavender has been used forever! We now have hybrids, and like I mentioned, the Evergreen Lavender Farm has 11 different types of Lavender, each with its own specific powers. Yet, all lavender contains some of the above in one degree or another.
Did you notice that some traits seem to be opposites? Yes, the beauty of herbal based medicine. Our objective is to bring the body to balance. Just the right amount of lavender invokes peace and relaxation. Too much and look out, we are highly stimulated. It depends on what you need.
I came home with my essential oil of lavender. I’m currently treating my bug bites with it. Healing skin, reducing inflammation, lessening the pain and disinfecting those ones I accidently scratch in the night.
The hydrosol or hydrolat (the co-product of distilling the essential oil) is in a spray bottle. Yes, good old fashioned flower water. I’m spraying my linens, my dog’s bed and cleaning my bathroom counters. And every now and again just spraying the air, so my home is filled with the healing scents.
I treated myself to a bunch of fresh lavender, which is now drying in a crystal vase and gently reminding me to get outside and smell the flowers more often.
And finally, I bought a variety that is suitable for eating. All these years as an aromatherapist and I didn’t know which variety to eat! All too often I’ve tried making Lavender Lemonade and Lavender cookies, to find they come out soapy and inedible. I was using the wrong lavender!
Big thank you to Dawn, Genevieve, Peggy, Thane and Laurie for bringing me back to earth and back to Lavender. How does it get any better than this?
(* and btw, the above information is from my SchoolofCT Traditional Holistic Aromatherapy Training Program)
Share the love, tell me how you are using Lavender?