Monday, September 22, 2008

Lavender: The Universal Oil

The smell of lavender has to be one of the most exquisite sensations your mind, body and soul can experience. Folklore has given this tall, fragrant flower many names and properties. Elf’s Leaf, Nard, Nardus, and Spike, has been said to carry powers of love, protection, sleep chastity, longevity, purification, happiness and peace. Lavender was carried to see ghosts and worn to protect against the “evil eye”. Sachets were made and filled with the dried flowers to attract love. Its has even been given masculine qualities and an association with the planet Mercury and its element is air.

This spiky flower was imported by the ancient Greeks from Syria for its fragrance. Today commercial perfume houses still use lavender essential oil as the base ingredients in many of their perfume blends. This herb is grown commercially in England, France, Bulgaria and Croatia and many other parts of the world. Depending on where lavender is grown and at which altitude, gives this herb its different healing properties. The Botanical name Lavandula comes from the Latin word “lavare” which means “to wash”. Lavender essential oils are also used in combination with massages to relax and relieve stress from the body. Given the name “Universal Oil” this herb stands up to its many claims.

This aromatic essential oil should be in every household medicine cabinet or first aid kit. Lavender is known to work wonders on minor scrapes and burns, itchy insect bites and is used to prevent scarring. In 1910 Dr. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, one of the founders of the science of aroma therapy, burned his hands by accident in his laboratory. Thinking he was submerging the burned hand in a pot of water when in fact it was lavender essential oil. He later noticed that the hand healed faster and with less scarring. Lavender essential oil is one of the only essential oils that is safe to use undiluted directly on your skin and is baby safe as well.

Here is an easy salve recipe to make using the dried flowers of lavender and lavender essential oil. This salve may be used to help treat dry cuticles, hangnails, minor burns and scrapes. This does not replace any medical assistance as with any injury you may need to seek the advise of your medical doctor. This salve puts no claims on healing and is meant only to assist.

What you will need; Paper towels, 1 cup olive oil, ½ once lavender herb (dried flowers), ½ ounce lavender essential oil, ½ ounce beeswax, ½ teaspoon vitamin E (400 unit capsule) and cheesecloth to strain.

Put lavender herb in your olive oil and bake in oven at 200 degrees for 3 hours. Allow this mixture to cool a little, while its still war, strain lavender herb (with cheesecloth) into a pan on top of the stove. Add vitamin E ( ½ teaspoon). Add beeswax and stir until melted, let cool some, add your essential oil to the mixture after it has cooled, pour into a wide mouth 5 ounce jar or into five 1 oz jars.

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