By Tamara Collins
fresh, sweet scent of lavender captures the very idea of cleanliness,
and for good reason; the oilí»s main chemical elements, linalyl acetate
and linalool, are known to keep bacteria and infection in check.
If there's only one essential oil used in your home this season let it be lavender. With its myriad benefits for body and mind, the oil is indispensable for creating a healthy, stress-free environment.
As powerful as lavender is in the fight against germs, it is gentle
enough to be used neat on the skin as an effective remedy for blemishes
and other skin irritations. Mild burns (including sunburn), insect
bites, and cold sores also show remarkable recovery when treated with
this oil, which soothes pain while stimulating the growth of new skin
cells to encourage healing and mitigate scarring. Studies show that a
relaxing scalp massage with a few drops of the aromatic oil can result
in thicker more luxurious hair, and at the same time, ease a restless
state of mind.
With autumn's shorter days
influencing mood and motivation, lavender should be on hand to
counteract depression and fatigue: Anyone who's crushed a bit of the
fresh herb between the fingers and inhaled its clean, floral aroma
knows its clarifying affect. A tonic for the nerves, lavender eases
anxiety and stress while it soothes a restless mind, reason enough for
the oil's reputation as an essential elixir in the delicate balancing
act of the emotions. Research also confirms that sleeping is easier and
deeper when the fragrance permeates the room.
grown in the south of France, the source of the best quality oil,
reaches its full glory in midsummer, filling the fields of Provence
with a haze of violet flowers. Readily giving up their oil through
steam distillation, Lavandula angustifolia (also called L. officinalis)
is the preferred variety for aromatherapy because of its well-balanced
chemical makeup. Used alone or blended with chamomile, geranium,
eucalyptus, thyme, rosemary, or tea tree oil, the scent of lavender is
the essence of a peaceful mind, body and home.
Laundry: Add 3 drops each lavender and geranium to the final rinse of
your laundry cycle for a summer-fresh scent all year long.
Dreams: Just before bedtime, sprinkle 3 drops of lavender and 2 drops
of Roman chamomile onto a tissue and inhale for a deep and satisfying
night's sleep. Bath Bliss: Melt away stress in a warm bath scented
with a blend of 2 drops each lavender, geranium, sandalwood, and
ylangylang. Mix into 2 teaspoons of sweet almond oil, swirl into water,
Belly Care: Starting
this regimen in the fourth month of pregnancy will help keep stretch
marks at bay. Blend 6 drops of lavender with 4 drops of geranium and 3
drops frankincense; add to 10 teaspoons of calendula oil and smooth
over the belly morning and night.
Good to Go:
Keep these lavender-infused bath and body balms close at hand for a
relaxing home-spa retreat. Soothe skin (and nerves) with Aromatherapy
Associates Rescue Pure Essential Oil of Lavender ($17); Enessa Lavender
Facial Cleanser ($24) with aloe and willow bark extract purifies
complexions; stress melts away after a bath with Pharmacopia Lavender
Bath Salts ($9); nourish skin with Red Flower French Lavender Body
Lotion ($22); scent home or office with Lather Moroccan Rose &
Lavender Room Spray ($21) for a calm state of mind.
Immune Boost: Ward off colds
and flu with a mixture of 5 drops each lavender, tea tree, lemon, and
pine. Drop into a vaporizer and breathe deeply.