The first thought that comes to my mind at the sound of lavender, is the lush teen purplish color full of energy and youth. Contrary to intuitive interpretation, lavender hails from the old world. References to spikenard (believed to be the ancient name of this essential oil) dates back more than 2500 years ago in Syrian culture, and possible earlier than that in Indian culture.
Little did I know that it comes from ‘Lavandula’ – a genus of 39 species of flowering plants. It hails from the mint family, Lamiaceae. Many members of the Lamiaceae family are cultivated in moderate climates. The beauty and the color of the plant have it seeded as ornamental plants. Appearances are deceptive. Trust me, there’s a lot more to this mesmerizing beauty than just the looks and the color.
The essential oil distilled from the flower spikes of certain species of lavender has two distinct forms – 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 density 0.905 g/mL).a specific lavender oil from Kashmir called the Kashmir lavender oil is famous for being produced from lavender at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Although varied by species, all of the lavender essential oils are known to contain primarily of monoterpeneoids and sesquiterpeneoids. Of these linalool and linalyl acetate dominate, with moderate levels of lavandulyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol and lavandulol. 1, 8 cineole and camphor are also present in low to moderate qualities. In all lavender oil typically contains many more than 100 compounds, although a great many of these are present at very low concentrations. The domination of lavandulyl components reason out why this herb is named lavender and hence the essential oil’s name is also reasoned out.
Lavender oil has been the favorite household oil among several nations and cultures. Egyptians used it for mummification and as perfume; while the Romans used it for bathing, cooking and for scenting the air. Americans use it as antioxidants.
Lavender oil is a key ingredient in aromatherapy since it is considered an excellent medicine for aching muscles, injuries, and sores. Lavender bath, lavender shower, steam inhalation, and hand/foot bath are known to be very effective and soothing. It is a common sleep aid and is believed to help in beestings and insect bites. It is considered a flavor booster in healthy recipes, a remedy for stomach discomfort, a natural chemical-free lip balm, and a non-toxic air freshener.
Apart from serving as a medicine, lavender oil’s antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics make it conducive for skin benefits. It improves eczema and acne in skin therapy, when handled appropriately.
Thanks to all of the references and articles that helped me wow at this ancient yet young essential oil. Old is indeed gold! Old is young, for the young and old.
Disclaimer – All of the above information have not been evaluated by the food and Drug Administration or any other qualifying entity. All of the content above is from various sources on the web. The medicines and the recipes discussed, are proven to be effective based on the experiences and other blogs on the internet. Not all of these have been personally tried and tested by me. I am no expert in this oil usage. Good luck trying!
This post has been written in collaboration with the IndianSuperHeroes. They have these oils purely extracted from the herbs. You can find them in their store right here.