Lavender is by far the most infamous and versatile essential oil out there (in our humble opinion of course). Chances are, you’ve seen it infused in one form or another with a product of your everyday life. Equally so, you’ve had its herbal and poignant scent cascade through your nostrils at least once in your life.
It’s been utilised for generations in various different forms; spiritual healing from ancient witch doctors to a modern-day essential oil used in aromatherapy and in a wide array of beauty and wellness products. The purple delight is certainly one of a kind in a world of copycats. Known around the world and in almost every culture, the plant itself holds some impressive qualities that certainly gives credence to its infamy around the world and utility across the generations.
Lavender has a unique history, beautiful properties, and an aroma that can calm any storm in one’s mind. Today we wanted to explore and delve a little deeper into the mysterious nature of the plant and why the essential oil has become synonymous with quality and calm and still so ubiquitous in our everyday lives.
The History Of Lavender
With a history of over 2500 years, there is a lot of ground to cover with the famed extract, but we’ll try to keep it brief. Said to be originally sourced from the Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and Indian regions, the flowering plant was said to be named by ancient Greeks as ‘Lavender Nardus’ after the city of Naarda. The name is derived from the Latin word ‘Lavare’ which means to wash. A fitting name due to the notion that even in more ancient times, the luxurious plant was used to scent bathing water, hair, and clothing.
Modern days have brought the cultivation and growth of lavender all over the world including parts of Europe, Australia, New Zealand and the Americas. Before it was made famous as an essential oil, lavender was also used in certain religious rituals such as preparation of Holy Essence, in Roman bathhouses and even involved in the ancient Egyptian mummification process – it’s truly a plant with a sultry history.
Lavender was believed to be an all-encompassing fix-it cure for many ailments in its stint in history. In fact, lavender is the catalyst for the term ‘aromatherapy’, being coined by the French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse in the 1930s. The story goes that he burned his hand while working in a laboratory and used an extract of lavender on the wound which he believed healed it at a faster rate. This led him to write a book on the impressive potential of the herb extracts.
Even as recently as WWII, there are cases where lavender has been administered to soldiers by scientists looking to further study to supposed benefits of the miraculous plant. While these claims remain relatively unsubstantiated, it’s fascinating to consider how a simple plant has captured the attention of academics around the world and through history.
The flowers of lavender plants has been associated with representations of purity, grace, calmness and serenity – possibly due to the calming elements the flower naturally exudes in its growing form and as an essential oil. The colour is also associated heavily with royalty and luxury.
Defining An Essential Oil
So, we now know a little more about the flower itself, it’s time to jump in and explore the incredible array of utilities found in its tenure as the most sought after essential oil.
An essential oil can be described as the extract of a plant, herb, or flower that naturally fragrances or enhances a particular scent or character profile of whatever it is mixed in with. The manner in which an essential oil is extracted depends entirely on the profile of the plant and its unique properties. With some natural processes more delicate than others.
After extraction, an essential oil can be used for a wide variety of utilities, some will use an essential oil in a diffuser to freshen the fragrance of an interior space while others seek to utilise the therapeutic qualities of the extracts in skincare treatments such as creams, soaps and massage ointments. There has been a marked increase as we’re sure you’ve noticed in the incorporation and utilisation of essential oil based products, this is no happy accident as more people are starting to realise the impressive power that nature bestows upon the plants that exist all around us.
Modern Uses For Lavender Essential Oil
Seeing as the magical plant has gained some notoriety from the history books, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that it still stands atop the essential oil food chain as the most sought after and rigorously tested extract out there. The aromatherapeutic benefits are simply divine – and the range of utility for the plant is certainly impressive enough.
While the essential oil itself can range in potency and therefore change up the consumption method, there are a few common tropes that lavender essential oil is used for.
One of the more common uses for a modern-day essential oil is in the classic diffuser method. By adding some fragrance to a room, you’re inherently lifting everyone’s spirits using the power of nature itself. While there are a litany of different extracts that are used in diffusers, the lavender essential oil is very common and popular due to the fresh and fragrant relaxing scent that permeates the atmosphere of any room it resides in.
Office workers and meditation studios are known to incorporate some form of a lavender essential oil into the air in small doses to promote a fresh and luxurious atmosphere which it does to great effect.
A Scented Moisturiser
Yes, it smells incredible, we simply cannot say this enough. The best part is, the natural and delightful elements of the plant itself can be carried on into various skin care products and treatments to great effect. You’ll be hard pressed to not enjoy the sensation and scent of a lavender essential oil infused soap when applying it to your skin. It has some impressive moisturising elements associated with them, considering the historical use of lavender essential oil in societies that pre-date all of us – it’s hard to negate this thinking process.
Consistently Being Tested Now & In The Future
One of the benefits of being a well-renowned and touted essential oil and plant, lavender is under constant surveillance by scientists around the globe. They look keenly for any new and exciting method of applying some of the natural incredible attributes of the plant in the everyday lives of people suffering various ailments. There are constant sleep studies and skincare studies that will be searching for new ways of understanding the effect lavender potentially has on the body and mind for years to come.
For now, we can be sure of this, a lavender essential oil is wonderfully smelling and decadently luxurious – it has a long and wonderful history with no sign of slowing down. We cannot wait to see what wonderful new benefits come to the forefront with science, but for now, let’s sit back and bask in the sweet scent of lavender.