Lavender Monograph (Jun 2016)

I have always found solace and comfort in the scent of lavender. It instantly melts away any nagging thoughts and stresses that make you feel anxious and tense. Fischer-Rizzi perfectly describes lavender’s qualities.

The fragrance of lavender is like fresh, tangy mountain air that’s happy and free. Its fragrance imparts a feeling of inner freedom that allows one to let go of compulsions and anger. Lavender helps one undo negative self-talk; thinking becomes clearer, and balanced decisions may be made. The essential oil helps reduce mental ramblings that keep people from falling asleep.1

It is not surprising that Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular oils used in aromatherapy.HomePage_images_LAVENDER_01 Its popularity is attributed not only to the fresh, pleasant, floral, herbaceous scent, but more to the numerous properties for which lavender has been assigned and used since ancient times.

There are a large number of Lavandula species, hybrids and cultivars growing all over the world, however very little is often done to discriminate between all the lavender oils produced. Lavender oil is commonly used in a variety of perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and for aromatherapy.

In this monograph we will examine the lavender essential oils that are commonly used in aromatherapy.

Botany and Origins

The Lavandula genus has approximately thirty species that grow around the world. The four main species of lavender are;3

  • Lavandula angustifolia – True Lavender
  • Lavandula latifolia – Spike Lavender
  • Lavandula x intermedia – Lavandin
  • Lavandula stoechas – Maritime Lavender

Most lavender grown for essential oil production comes from Lavandula angustifolia P.Miller, Lavandula officinalis Chaix or Lavandula vera de Candolle, which is referred to as true lavender.4

Approximately half of the true lavender produced now comes from cultivated clones such as Maillette. This gives a 40 to 50% higher yield than population lavender (grown from seed). Harris says that population lavender has a superior fragrance and commands a higher price than cloned lavender and lavender from other countries. Lavendulol and its ester lavendulyl acetate are said to contribute to the aroma of this oil.3

Clonal crop is made via cuttings. Healthy plants are cut down near ground level and cultivated in a nursery before planting in spring. Price says the population plants produce a lavender oil which is much richer in chemical constituents, however, the cloned plants produce an oil of a much more consistent quality from year to year.5

The main producers of true lavender are Bulgaria and France. Smaller producers include Australia, Argentina, England, Hungary, Japan, Morocco, Italy, Algeria, India and Russia.4

Arctander says lavender grown and distilled at a higher altitude (from 600 to 1500 m) has a reputation of being the best quality lavender. This is because distilleries located at higher altitudes distil the oil at 92-93 °C instead of 100°C. This produces an oil with a higher ester content. Even at this small decrease of temperature, hydrolysis of the natural linalyl esters takes place at a much slower rate. A rapid distillation at a slightly reduced pressure will also produce an oil with a higher linalyl ester content.6

Mrs. Grieve discusses in great detail the ideal method of cultivating lavender and the best time to harvest the plant. She recommends the blooms be fully developed, as this will produce an essential oil with a high ester content. She suggests very cold weather prevents the esters from developing and the most refined lavender oil is distilled from the flowers which have been stripped from the stalk. This, however, leads to a very expensive lavender oil.7

Lavandin is a hybrid of true lavender and spike lavender. The Lavandin plant is larger and much more robust than true lavender. It is ideally suited to large scale cultivation and harvesting methods. It is very popular with the fragrance industry as it yields twice the amount of oil as true lavender and it is commonly used in soaps, detergents, and cosmetics.3

There are three main clones of Lavandin in France;3

Abrial
Super
Grosso

Maritime lavender is sometimes known as cotton lavender. The essential oil is predominantly harvested and distilled from the wild in Portugal. It is rich in ketones and while it is used in France for its mucolytic and antimicrobial properties, it should be used with caution as there are concerns about the oil’s toxicity.3

Lavender has been grown in Australia since 1921 when CK Denny established a lavender plantation in northern Tasmania from French seed stock. Over the years, Bridstowe Lavender Farm has undertaken considerable cultivar selection of Lavandula angustifolia to produce a consistently high-quality lavender oil of international repute.9

Bridstowe estate produces 1 – 1.5 tonne of oil annually, much of this oil is exported. 9

How authentic is lavender?

Lavender is one of the most commonly adulterated essential oils. Adulteration of true lavender in the essential oil trade is common. This is achieved by;3

  • addition of Lavandin oil
  • substitution by Lavandin oil
  • addition of synthetic linalool and linalyl acetate
  • addition of linalool and linalyl acetate from other natural sources

French export data shows that approximately 250 tons of so-called Fine Lavender is exported annually, however the statistics of the lavender association growers indicates that 20 tons are distilled.8 – Figure that out?

Schnaubelt says that we cannot even trust the gas chromatograms to confirm the purity as lavender oil is often artfully reconstructed by mixing the main components of linalool and linalyl acetate with less expensive Lavandin oils to be then sold off as expensive lavender oil.8

Authentic and genuine lavenders should also carry certification from the official regulatory authorities called AOC, appellation d’orgine controllée. This authenticates the origin of the lavender plants in the same way that cheeses, wines and other agricultural products are regulated.

It is interesting to know that that prior to the World War 1 era, lavender oil was produced almost exclusively from wild plants growing in the French and Italian Alps. Schnaubelt says that today most of the large cultivations of lavender in the Provence region are different Lavandin hybrids – Gross, Super, Sumian and Abrialis.8

In the 1930s enterprising farmers found out that they could cross the fine Lavandula angustifolia with the sturdier L. latifolia to produce hybrids which produced substantially more oil. Schnaubelt points out that this oil is not too bad if it is organic but it does reflect the human intention for higher yields and a more robust fragrance.8

Method of extraction

All lavender oils are steam distilled from the freshly cut flowering tops and stalks of the lavender plant.4

Characteristics

True lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a colourless or pale-yellow liquid with a sweet, floral herbaceous, refreshing aroma with a pleasant woody undertone and a fruity-sweet top note. The high altitude French Alpine lavender has the most delicately balanced floral lavender aroma that we all love.

Most commonly available lavender oils are from Lavandin or clonal varieties such as the Lavender Maillette oil.

Lavandin oil (Lavandula angustifolia x latifolia) has a fresh, floral, herbaceous aroma with a camphoraceous top note and a woody and herbaceous middle note.

Lavender Maillette (Lavandula angustifolia) has a fresh, floral, herbaceous and sweet aroma. It may be the most familiar lavender scent when we inhale the different lavenders. It will never surprise you with any unusual notes as it is from a clonal variety designed to give us a consistently rich lavender aroma, batch after batch.

On the other hand, Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) has a much richer camphoraceous and herbaceous aroma with a somewhat dry-woody base note.

Tasmanian Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has a unique aroma profile compared to the French lavenders. There is nothing like it. It has a light, fresh, green top note with a herbaceous, floral body note and a pleasant woody base note.

Traditional uses

Lavandula comes from lavare, meaning ‘to wash’ in Latin. Lavender essential oil has been widely used as a toilet water and is one of the most common ingredients in potpourri and sachets.4

Lis-Balchin says that it is impossible to identify if many of the ancient texts refering to L.vera or L. spica or L.stochas. Lavender was first mentioned for its healing qualities by Dioscorides (40-90AD). He attributed lavender with laxative and invigorating properties and advised using it as a tea. Galen also included lavender oil as an antidote for poisons and bites while Pliny suggested that it was best for making perfumes. Pliny also advocated lavender for bereavement as well as promoting menstruation.2

Culpeper recommended a decoction of lavender flowers to help prevent falling sickness (epilepsy) and giddiness or turning of the brain.7

Mrs. Grieve describes lavender as an admirable restorative tonic against fainting, palpitations of a nervous nature, giddiness, spasms and colic. She recommends a few drops of lavender oil in a hot foot bath to relieve fatigue and outwardly applied she recommends it for the relief of toothache, neuralgia, sprains and rheumatism. She also recommended anointing lavender to the temples and forehead for headaches.7

Lavender’s antiseptic properties were well known by the French Academy of Medicine, where it was used in the swabbing of wounds, treatment of sores, varicose ulcers, burns and scalds. It was Rene-Maurice Gattefosse who observed the healing effects of lavender oil when he burned his hand in a laboratory accident. Lavender is still regularly associated with and used for the treatment of burns and for healing the skin. 7

Chemistry

The composition of lavender oil varies significantly from species to species and from one country to another.

The major components of Lavender oil are linalyl acetate, linalool, cis-ocimene and lavandulyl are most important. Those of Spike Lavender are linalool, 1,8-cineole and camphor and of Lavandin are linalool, linalyl acetate, camphor, 1,8-cineole and borneol.

Lis-Balchin says up to 100 trace components can be found in the lavender essential oils.2 Much of the diverse therapeutic properties may indeed come from the trace components. Many of the pharmacological studies involving lavender oils have focused on the linalool and linalyl acetate components.

It is not surprising that there is an ISO standard for lavender oil.10

Component French Australian Spike
IS0 3515 ISO3515 ISO4719
Octan-3-one Tr – 2.00 2.0 – 5.00  –
d-limonene 0 – 0.50 0 – 0.50 0.5 – 3.0
Cis-β-ocimene 4.0 – 10.00 3.0 – 9.0
1.8-cineole 0 – 1.0 0 – 1.0 16.0 – 39.0
Linalool 25.0 – 38.0 25.0 – 38.0 34.0 – 50.0
Camphor 0.0 – 0.5 0.0 – 0.5  8.0 – 16.0
Lavandulol >0.3 >0.3  –
Terpinen-4-ol  2.0 – 6.00 1.5 – 6.0  –
α-terpineol 0 – 1.0 0 – 1.0  0.2 – 2.0
Linalyl acetate  25.00 – 45.00 25.0 – 45.00  Tr – 1.60

However, I am always concerned that standards are meaningless as it is so easy to adulterate lavender to comply with any standard.

Schnaubelt says the following are typical markers for authentic fine lavender;8

  • the sum of linalool and linalyl acetate is never more than 80% in authentic fine lavender
  • the sum of cis and trans ocimenes should be at least 9%
  • lavedulyl acetate is a compound that is specifically telling because it cannot be purchased inexpensively on the market, but is made by nature in lavender essential oil. It’s concentration should be at least 4.5% in fine lavender.
  • the concentration of camphor should be below 0.5%

It must be noted that Schnaubelt’s typical markers are for French alpine population Lavandula angustifolia and are not relevant for Tasmanian lavender or other varieties.

The chemical composition of the lavender oils that Perfect Potion has on offer are as follows:

Component Lavandin abrialis Lavender Maillette French Alpine Lavender Perfect Potion ACO Lavandula angustifolia (Bulgaria) Tasmanian Lavender Spike lavender
Octan-3-one 0.24 3.10 0.06
3-octanonal 0.68
d-limonene 0.89 0.11 0.50 1.33 0.28 1.33
Trans-β-ocimene 1.12  5.12 0.39 0.82 0.10
Cis-β-ocimene 5.38 3.67 0.29 4.10 0.20
1.8-cineole 11.55 0.92 3.61  0.05 28.09
Trans-linalool oxide  0.25  0.45  0.04
Terpinolene  0.36
Linalool 30.24 35.7  29.19 40.01  36.66 40.89
Camphor 9.81 0.48  0.41 3.10 0.17 11.51
Lavandulol 1.04 0.75 0.67
Terpinen-4-ol 0.77 0.07  2.48 0.12 2.06 0.35
α-terpineol 0.62 0.44  0.96 0.15 0.56 1.27
Linalyl acetate 24.06 43.39  35.62 39.44 34.00 1.01
Lavendulyl acetate 1.97 3.75 0.09 1.89 0.07
Beta-caryophyllene 4.78 2.38 1.44
Alpha-santalene 1.03
(E)-beta-farnesene 1.95 0.50 0.39

Pharmacology

Schnaubelt explains how the complex chemistry of an essential oil can help explain the multitude of properties attributed to the oil.

Linalool, the main component of lavender, simultaneously inhibits HMG CoA reductase, (antitumor, antifungal), reduces spasms, is anticonvulsant and modifies autonomic nervous system activity to name a few. These effects of linalool are then layered with at least an equal number of physiological effects of linalyl acetate, another main component. In addition to the web of physiological activities present in linalool and linalyl acetate alone, there are the effects of various monoterpene hydrocarbons. Myrcene, for example, acts as a free radical scavenger and induces liver detoxification enzymes. This list could be continued almost indefinitely, given that over 1,200 components have been identified in lavender essential oil. It is intuitively understandable that these layers upon layers of physiological activity of all the components in lavender generate an overall quality, which is distinctly lavender.8

Lavandula angustifolia contains mainly alcohols and esters. These components contribute to lavender’s relaxing properties. Price says it is also recommended for respiratory ailments such as asthma, spasmodic coughing, influenza, and bronchitis,5 however, I believe that Lavandin or spike lavender with a higher 1,8-cineole and camphor content would be more suitable for respiratory ailments.

Lavandula latifolia contains fewer esters and has a slightly lower alcohol content. It also contains up to 30% of the oxide 1,8-cineole and about 15% of the ketone camphor. This makes it a very effective expectorant, especially useful for chest and throat infections. Topically, it is excellent for headaches, neuralgia and for muscular aches and pains.5

Holmes suggests that Lavandin is less bioactive than lavender oil, however, he does say that it is especially useful for treating mental-emotional conditions when used in diffusers and whole body massage. He also says that it may be appropriate in cases where a milder treatment is required – especially for children and the elderly. 11

Jane Buckle compared the properties of True Lavender and Lavandin. She did this because at the time (1993), and unfortunately still to this day, Lavandin had been criticized for having little therapeutic value. She made a 2% solution of Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula x intermedia which were simply labelled lavender A and lavender B.

The therapists and patients were blind to which lavender they were testing. Interestingly, Lavandin was twice as effective as true lavender in eliciting a positive relaxation response. Unfortunately, at the time no reason for this was given.12

Clinical studies

A literature review of clinical studies in medical databases and specialist aromatherapy databases found numerous studies involving lavender oil and its antimicrobial properties, anxiolytic properties, effects on cognition, Alzheimer’s disease, sleep improvement, stress reduction, role in midwifery and the role in palliative care, just to name a few!

Antimicrobial properties

Lis-Balchin says lavender’s antimicrobial activities are moderate in contrast to the considerable antimicrobial status credited to lavender by aromatherapists. However, she then contradicts herself by citing many clinical trials which validate lavender’s excellent antimicrobial properties.15 In yet another article she says that lavandula species have a variable antimicrobial effect. This is not surprising considering there is so much chemical variability in the different lavender oils.

In vitro lavender oil reversed bacterial resistance to pipercillin in multi-drug–resistant Escherichia coli. The authors suggest this was via alterations of outer membrane permeability and bacterial quorum sensing inhibition.16

Other studies have confirmed that when lavender was blended with other essential oils, the antimicrobial activity was enhanced. The authors concluded that L.angustifolia in combination with C.sinensis (sweet orange) demonstrated the best antimicrobial effects.17

Sleep enhancing

Lavender is best known for its sleep enhancing properties and results from most clinical trials confirm this.18

While lavender has long been used for the treatment of insomnia and there have been quite a few published studies on aromatherapy and insomnia, Buckle warns us not to use too much lavender in a diffuser as it could exacerbate a person’s insomnia. She also suggests that in some elderly people, the scent of lavender smell be disliked due to negative associations.12

The learned memory of lavender can trigger negative images of dying relatives or friends, as years ago lavender was used to protect linen from moths and mold and every linen cupboard was liberally stacked with lavender bags.

Alzheimer’s disease

A plethora of clinical studies were found to highlight the benefits of lavender oil in patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). The role of lavender for the management of AD has been extensively researched. One such study used a range of psychometric tools to measure the cognitive function and concentration of AD patients exposed to a blend of lavender, sweet orange, lemon and rosemary.  Sweet orange activates the parasympathetic nervous system, while rosemary and lemon are known to relieve depression and improve concentration. The study concluded that aromatherapy can improve cognitive function in AD patients.19

Another study found that dermally applied lavender did not improve symptoms in patients with dementia,20 while yet another study found that 60% of patients with severe dementia had reduced agitated behaviour with vaporised lavender.21

Anti-inflammatory properties

One clinical trial examined the anti-inflammatory properties of lavender oil on experimentally induced bronchial asthma in mice. An increase in airway resistance was inhibited in the group using lavender compared to the control group. The lavender group also has less mucin hyperplasia than the control group, furthermore the lavender group showed lower interleukin and cytokine levels in the lung tissues. The authors concluded that lavender may be useful as an alternative medicine for bronchial asthma.22

Anxiety related disorders

Lavender’s anxiolytic effects have been well documented.

Oral preparations of lavender were also effective as adjuvant therapy for moderate to severe depression and for generalised anxiety disorder. The authors of the clinical trial found that silexan (a new oral lavender oil capsule preparation) was just as effective as lorazepam for adults with generalised anxiety disorder and has no potential for drug abuse.23 It was noted that no sedation was reported, however, after 6 weeks there was significant reduction in depression (57.4% of sample), sleep disorders (51.1%), restlessness (61.7%) and anxiety (44.7%).24

A clinical trial using aromatherapy massage with lavender and geranium found aromatherapy effective for reducing anxiety and decreasing heart and respiratory rates among patients who had been hospitalised with personality disorders.25

Headaches

A study suggests that the inhalation of lavender essential oil may be an effective and safe treatment in the acute management of migraine headaches.26

Menstrual pain

A study found that lavender oil used in a massage oil significantly reduced pain associated with menstruation to a greater degree than the placebo. There was a 38% reduction in pain with lavender oil massage compared to only 9.8% reduction in pain with the placebo group.27

Blood pressure

Mixed clinical results exist for lavender’s traditionally reported role as a hypotensive. One publication reported that the aroma of lavender decreased respiration, heart rate and blood pressure while another confirmed the reduction in breathing rate and subjective calmness while both heart rate and diastolic blood pressure increased. It is likely that these differences are reflective of a hedonic effect (whether the scent is ‘liked’ or ‘not liked’ by the person).28

A later study reported that only persons who found lavender oil pleasant noted a decrease in systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Wound healing

In wound healing models, lavender oil accelerates re-epithialization and wound closure via enhanced epidermal growth factor (EGF) secretion.29.

Guba used a mixture of essential oils including 4% lavender oil on 18 patients with skin ulcers or wounds. In most cases where the formulation was applied daily, healing took 5 days to 12 weeks. There was no adverse reaction.37

Properties

Lavender has been attributed with so many properties such as analgesic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, antiphlogistic, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, bactericide, carminative, cholagogue, cicatrisant, cordial, cytophylactic, decongestant, deodorant, emmenagogue, fungicide, hypotensive, nervine, restorative, sedative, sudorific and vulnerary.4,13,14,15

Uses

Holmes best explains the interesting unique mix of lavender’s calming, balancing and uplifting properties;

Lavender is generally indicated for all types of distressed and stuck emotions. Individuals who get repeatedly stuck in unproductive emotional postures, who are unable to put the brakes on their volatile tempers, will stand to benefit the most from this potentially transformative oil. The net result of lavender’s ability to generate emotional renewal is a refreshed, equanimous state where everything is poise and composure.10

Nervous system – Nervousness, headaches, anxiety, emotional confusion, stress, insomnia, irritability, anger, mood swings and depression. For these purposes I would recommend using any of the lavandula angustifolia oils and lavandin.

Musculoskeletal system – Arthritis, rheumatism and lumbago, muscular aches and pains. For these purposes I would strongly recommend the 1,8-cineole and camphor-rich lavenders including spike lavender and lavandin.

Skin care – Eczema, dermatitis, treatment of burns, wound healing, dry skin, and acne. For these purposes I recommend lavenders rich in esters and monoterpene alcohols – linalyl acetate and linalool along with all minor components. Therefore, I would recommend using either French Alpine Lavender or Tasmanian lavender.

True lavender is very useful for its healing properties and the treatment of burns and wounds. Lavender appears to have cellular regenerating action and has topical analgesic action. The fact that it has antibacterial properties also helps.

Reproductive system – Spasmodic dysmenorrhoea and menstrual cramping. Typically oils rich in esters have antispasmodic properties. Therefore, I would recommend lavender oils rich in linalyl acetate such as Lavender Maillette or French Alpine lavender.

Cardiovascular system – Lowering blood pressure, palpitations. For these purposes I would recommend using the soothing, floral and herbaceous smelling lavandula angustifolia oils and lavandin.

Respiratory system – Asthma, bronchitis, influenza and colds. For these purposes, I would strongly recommend the 1,8-cineole rich lavenders. Hence, spike lavender and lavandin would be most useful.

Personality profile

Worwood describes lavender as the ‘mother’ or ‘grandmother’ of essential oils. She says that the lavender personality is eclectic and formidable yet gentle and kind. She is able to care for a multitude of physical and psychological problems and like a mother can accomplish several jobs at the same time.31

Worwood goes on to say;

Embracing lavender is direct, pure of thought, brave and humble. It makes men gentle and women strong. Even in times of hardship a lavender personality bravely continues overcoming obstacles that ae placed in their way, having the ability to give generously of themselves – caring for others, often with gentleness and sacrifice.31

Worwood also says that the lavender personality seems to have an incredible amount of energy to call upon. They love nature. Lavender types will also often find themselves being attracted to volunteer jobs helping the homeless or the disadvantaged. They are gentle personalities who will always be attracted to roles that involve being kind-hearted, humane and benevolent.31

Meanwhile, Mailhebiau compares lavender to Mother Teresa:

Tireless, always even-tempered, with unfailing gentleness and devotion, Lavandula cares for and calms, listens to and remedies a thousand ills. She takes care of children adults and elderly, animals, plants, the earth and sky. She looks after everyone with equal love and if there is anyone in the world whom she neglects, it is herself.32

According to Myers Briggs personality types, I would describe lavender oil personality as an extrovert, sensor, feeling and judging type (ESFJ) also referred to as the Provider.

ESFJs are warm-hearted, outgoing and friendly. They are highly sociable and they become restless when separated from others. They thrive on being needed and appreciated. They are more attuned to the needs of others than their own. ESFJs enjoy busy lives. They like to be involved in community service organisations and volunteer activities. They enjoy spending time with their friends and family.

Subtle aromatherapy

Worwood says that lavender embodies the protective love of Mother Earth and says that it is energetically very active in the auric field closest to the body.33

Worwood explains the profound impact lavender can have on our psyche;

When deep sadness covers the spirit like a suffocating blanket, lavender gently lifts the weight. When inner tears fall, lavender wipes them away. When depression clouds the psyche, lavender blows it asunder. And for those with worries that trouble the spirit, lavender lifts the veil of despair.33

Davis recommends lavender for achieving deeper states of meditation while Loughran & Bull recommend lavender for integrating our spirituality into everyday life.34 Loughran & Bull also recommend using lavender to increase awareness and sensitivity to healing energy work.35

Lavender oil’s harmonising qualities makes it perfect for balancing the Heart chakra. Davis says that lavender helps to bring the higher and lower chakras into harmony with each other.34

Energetics

According to TCM, lavender oil is cooling. Holmes says that lavender nourishes the Yin, activates the Qi, clears heat and calms the Shen. The Shen can be thought of as our spirit. When the Shen is agitated we have mental restlessness anxiety, worry, depression and palpitations. When our Yin is deficient we suffer from fatigue, insomnia, hot spells, night sweats and headaches.11

He says that that lavender has an affinity with Fire and Wood Elements. However, I wish to correct this by saying that while Lavender can calm excessive Wood and Fire, its greatest affinity is with the Water Element. The Water Element nourishes the Yin and has a calming quality that we find in lavender oil.11

Mojay says that the psychological uses of lavender come from its ability to calm and stabilize the Qi of the heart. He says that according to TCM the Heart is responsible for maintaining our overall mental-emotional equilibrium.36

How to use

Bath

LavenderEOKit_2016

Typically for a full body bath in a tub, use up to 5 drops of essential oils in the tub of warm water. Foot or hand baths may be prepared by adding 2-3 drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water.

Massage

Use a 2.5% dilution of the appropriate blend of essential oils to the chosen carrier oil. This equates to 5 drops of essential oil to 10mL of carrier oil.

Inhalation

The best way to use essential oils for inhalation is by diffusing them. When you are using essential oils in an ultrasonic diffuser please follow the instructions of the diffuser that you are using.

Blending tips

Fisher-Rizzi gives us the best blending tip for lavender when she says that little can go wrong when lavender is mixed with other essential oils.1 Lavender oil is compatible with most other oils.

However, she confuses me when she says that it does not blend harmoniously with rosemary. In fact, lavender can blend magically with rosemary. Lavender, rosemary, neroli and petitgrain blend perfectly to create a refreshing au-de cologne perfume.

It’s possible that she means to say the two should never be blended as lavender is relaxing and rosemary is stimulating, however, I am afraid that this is also not true. This blend would be perfect for aches and pains. It would also be wonderful for someone feeling physically exhausted and emotionally drained.

Fisher Rizzi also says that lavender has no sensual qualities and we should beware of mixing it with sensual oils like ylang ylang or jasmine, when actually Lavender works so well with strong florals. Lavender, as we know, has strong feminine quality so it really enhances and balances the sensual feminine energy of these other rich floral oils.

I am not a big fan of handing out recipes because I prefer to empower you to create your own blends, however, Blue Magic in Fisher-Rizzi’s book caught my attention and smells heavenly.1

lavender – 20 drops
neroli – 10 drops
bergamot -10 drops
cold pressed lime – 5 drops
grapefruit – 5 drops

Holmes gives us some excellent synergistic blends;11

  • Lavender and clary sage – nerve restorative and relaxant for chronic neurasthenia, insomnia, anxiety, agitated depression or burnout.
  • Lavender and clary sage – analgesic and spasmolytic in painful spasmodic conditions such as spasmodic dysmenorrhoea, intestinal colic and asthma.
  • Lavender and Roman chamomile – nerve sedative for acute stress-related hypertonic conditions with agitation, insomnia and anxiety.
  • Lavender and Roman chamomile – analgesic, anti-inflammatory and spasmolytic for conditions such as headaches, intestinal colic, spasmodic dysmenorrhoea and neuromuscular pain and spasms.
  • Lavender and sweet marjoram – nerve sedative for nervous tension, anxiety, insomnia, irritability and agitation.
  • Lavender and sweet marjoram – relaxing analgesic and spasmolytic for acute, painful spasmodic conditions such as tachycardia, spasmodic angina pectoris, spasmodic dysmenorrhoea.

Perfect Potion classics with lavender

Considering lavender is the most popular essential oil in aromatherapy and that it is so versatile and has so many amazing properties, it is not surprising that lavender is also the most used essential oil in Perfect Potion products.

Lavender is our star ingredient in our Relax range while geranium, ylang ylang and sweet orange give the blend a lift. Lavender actually features in all our blends that are of a relaxing nature such as Sweet Dreams, Water, Pitta, Hush Pulse Point and Beautiful Baby Hush Blend.

I love all the Perfect Potion chakra blends, but I do have one particular favourite – it is Compassion for the heart chakra. In Compassion, lavender creates a beautiful harmony with rose, bergamot, ylang ylang, may chang and neroli. Each of these oils has such a strong balancing effect on the heart chakra.

Lavender also appears in Cosmic, Insight and Chakra Balancing Mist and Chakra Balancing Massage Oil. In these blends, lavender has more of a harmonising role rather than a feature role.

Lavender can add a wonderful light, floral, refreshing quality to any blend. In Umi it really works in harmony with all the other oils to create the fresh feeling of the ocean. Happy and Calm is a good example of blending lavender with refreshing vibrant citrus oils.

Lavender is beneficial for all skin types – sensitive, oily, mature and dry. This is why it features in almost all our skincare products – Soothe range, Purify range, Replenish range, Bare Faced Exfoliant, Balance Moisture Gel, Frankincense & Rose Moisture Cream, SOS Spot gel, Geranium Moisturising Emulsion, Sandalwood & Palmarosa Moisture Cream, Green Tea Purifying Mask and Pure Plant Hydration Mask.

We make good use of lavender’s wound healing properties in our Skin Elixir range.

Lavender and peppermint essential oils are a perfect synergy for relieving skin irritation and for creating a wonderful cooling and analgesic sensation on the skin for a refreshing and invigorating feeling. It also takes the harsh, sharp edge off the scent of peppermint. As such, lavender is an important ingredient in Jet setter Aromatic Mist, Chill Out Balm, Cool Mint range and Cool It Quick Fix.

Lavender has always been considered a very safe essential oil to use on babies, hence, it is in our Beautiful Baby range once again creating a wonderful synergistic blend with German chamomile.

The efficacy of Aromatherapy Hand Sanitiser and Hand Wash is based on a perfect magical blend of lavender, tea tree and lemon. Fix it balm is one of those Perfect Potion products that has gone through a few name changes since I started making it in 1987 at the Northpine Country Markets. It is such a simple but effective healing blend of lavender, tea tree and calendula oil in a natural balm base of beeswax and almond oil. Lavender and calendula oil have once again been used in the Calendula Hand Cream.

Aftersun Rescue Gel makes use of the wonderful synergy between lavender and Australian sandalwood to soothe sunburned and irritated skins. Outdoor Rescue Gel combines lavender with peppermint and tea tree to take the sting out of any nasty insect bites.

Sometimes we just want to appreciate lavender on its own. Lavender Room Spray is the perfect way to scent your home with real lavender oil.

Safety

Lavender oil is considered non-toxic, non- irritant and non-sensitising. No contraindications known.4

Footnote

Quorum sensing
Excessive and indiscriminate use of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections has led to the emergence of multiple drug resistant strains. Most infectious diseases are caused by bacteria which proliferate within quorum sensing biofilms. Bacteria use quorum sensing to coordinate certain behaviours such as biofilm formation, virulence and antibiotic resistance, based on the local density of bacterial population.

References

  1. Fischer-Rizzi S. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Stirling Publishing Co., Inc. New York, 1989.
  2. Lis-Balchin M. Lavender. – the genus Lavendula. Taylor & Francis, London, 2002.
  3. Harris R. Lavenders of Provence. The World of Aromatherapy III Conference Proceedings. NAHA, USA, 1999;75-81.
  4. Price S, Price L, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals. Elsevier Churchill Livingstone, UK 2012.
  5. Battaglia S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy. 2nd ed, Brisbane, 2003.
  6. Arctander S. Perfume and flavour materials of natural origin. Allured Publishing, USA, 1994.
  7. Grieves M. A Modern Herbal. Penguin, Great Britain, 1931.
  8. Schnaubelt K. The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils. Healing Art Press, Rochester Vermont, 2011.
  9. Southwell I, Australian Standards for Oil of Australian Lavandin Cultivars. RIRDC Publication No11/133, February 2012.
  10. 10 Southern Cross University, Perfect Potion Certified Organic Lavender Oil – Certificate of Analysis, 2016.
  11. Holmes P, Aromatica – A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume I: Principles and Profiles. Singing Dragon, London, 2016.
  12. Buckle J. Clinical Aromatherapy – essential oils in practice. 2nd ed. Churchill Livingstone, USA 2003.
  13. Lawless J. The Encyclopaedia of Essential Oils. Element Books limited, Dorset, 1992.
  14. Lavabre M. Aromatherapy workbook. Healing Art Press, USA. 1997.
  15. Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy Science – A guide for healthcare professionals. Pharmaceutical Press, London, 2006.
  16. Yap PS, et al. Membrane disruption and anti-quorum sensing effects of synergistic interaction between lavendula angustifolia (lavender oil) in combination with antibiotic against plasmid-conferred multi-drug-resistant Escherichia coli. J Appl Microbiol, 2014 May; 116(5):1119-28.
  17. De Rapper S et al, The in-vitro antimicrobial activity of Lavandula angustifolia essential oil in combination with other aroma-therapeutic oils. Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2013:852049.
  18. Fismer KL, et al, Lavender and sleep: A systemic review of the evidence. European Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2012 4(4);436-447.
  19. Jimbo D et al, Effect of aromatherapy on patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Psychogeriatrics 2009; 9:173-179.
  20. O’Conner DW, et al. A randomised, controlled cross-over trial of dermally –applied lavender (lavendula angustifolia) oil as a treatment of agitated behaviour in dementia. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013;13:315.
  21. Holmes C et al. Lavender oil as a treatment for agitated behaviour in severe dementia: a placebo controlled study. Int J Geriatric Psychiatry, 2002 Apr;17(4)305-8.
  22. Ueno-lio, T et al, Lavender essential oil inhalation supresses allergic airway inflammation and mucous cell hyperplasia in a murine model of asthma. Life Sciences. 2014, 108(2):109-115.
  23. Woelk H, Schläfke S, A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalised anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine, 2010 Feb; 17(2):94-9.
  24. Uehleke B, et al. Phase II trial on the effects of Silexan in patients with neurasthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or somatization disorder (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22475718) Phytomedicine (2012)
  25. Domingos Tda S, Braga EM. Massage with aromatherapy: effectiveness on anxiety of users with personality disorders in psychiatric hospitalisation. Rev Esc Enferm USP. May-June 2015;49(3):450-456.
  26. Sasannejad P et al, Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur Neurol, 2012;67(5)288-91.
  27. Apay SE, et al, Effect of aromatherapy massage on dysmenorrhea in Turkish students. (http://www.nchi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23158705) Pain Management Nursing (2012)
  28. Http;//examine.com/supplements/lavender/
  29. Chioca LR et al, Anosmia does not impair the anxiolytic-like effect of lavender essential oil inhalation in mice. Life Science 2013 May 30; 90:20-21.
  30. Worwood V. The Fragrant Mind. Transworld Publishers Ltd. London, 1995.
  31. Malhebiau P. Portraits in Oils. C.W. Daniel Company Limited, England, 1995.
  32. Worwood V. The Fragrant Heavens. Transworld Publishers Ltd. London, 1999.
  33. Davis P. Subtle aromatherapy. The C.W. Daniel Company Limited. United Kingdom, 1991.
  34. Lounghran JK, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle Energy Techniques. Frog Ltd, Berleley, 2000.
  35. Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Healing Art press, Rochester, Vermont, USA, 1999.
  36. Guba R. Wound Healing: A pilot study using an essential oil-based cream to heal dermal wounds and ulcers. The International Journal of Aromatherapy. 1998/1999 9(2):67-74

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Click the image to download the collectable Lavender Monograph PDF…

 

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