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All About Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is the best selling and well known essential oils on the market today. Many believe it is one of the “must have on hand at all times” essential oils. It is no surprise with it’s ability to promote relaxation, calming and it’s recognizable scent. It is also an extremely adaptable essential oil, everything from being used in perfumes and soaps or addressing minor skin issues such as mild burns, bug bites, and sunburn to aiding in sleep for many.

Lavender essential oil can be called common lavender, true lavender or English lavender and should be listed with the botanical name of Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis, or Lavandula vera. The botanical family is lamiaceae (labiatae). Lavender essential oil is on the lower-middle cost end for essential oils. Prices range from $7.5-23 for 15 ml depending on the brand and if it is organic.

Lavender essential oil has GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe for food additive or flavoring by the US Food and Drug Administration) status.* The main constituents (over 10%) are linalool and linalyl acetate. The fragrance note classification is middle-top and the consistency is thin.

For much more on essential oils, be sure to see my Comprehensive Guide to Essential Oils.

How is Lavender essential oil made?

To extract lavender essential oil, most brands will use steam distillation with the flowering tops of the plant.  Most essential oil brands source their lavender flowers primarily from Bulgaria as well as France, Greece, Hungry, Spain or the USA. Some will indicate where their lavender flowers have been grown in the product information as this causes variations in the chemical composition of the essential oil. A number of the essential oil brands sell different types of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil listed by the country of origin.

What is the shelf life of Lavender essential oil?

Approximately 4-6 years with proper storage in cool, dark spaces. Older oils can potentially cause sensitization or skin irritation due to oxidation.

Can you use Lavender essential oil on or around children?

Yes. Recommended age is over 2 years old for normal use with appropriate dilution.

When needing to do topical application on young children, consider using a Lavender hydrosol. A hydrosol is the aromatic waters that remain from the distillation process for obtaining the essential oil. It contains many of the therapeutic benefits of the essential oil, but is not as strong and much more gentle on the skin. These typically do not need to be diluted and would be a safer option for young children.

Many essential oils can be used for children under the age of 2 years old, but should be done so mindfully and carefully. Always refer to the specific instructions listed for the essential oil by the brand you are purchasing from.

What is the Lavender essential oil dilution rate for topical application?

  • Adult: 2-5% dilution
  • 0-3 months of age: general dilution rates recommended at 0.1-0.2%
  • 3-24 months of age: general dilution rates recommended at 0.25-0.5%
  •  2-6 years of age: general dilution rates recommended at 1-2%; some brands recommend max of 1% for children
  • 6-15 years of age: general dilution rates recommended at 1.5-3%; some brands recommend max of 1% for children

 

How can Lavender essential oil be used?

Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is one of the best essential oils to have in your collection due to the many ways it can be used. Lavender essential oil provides a earthy floral scent that is experienced anytime that it is used. Here are many of the ways lavender essential oil can be used:

  • Relaxes mood
  • Use in massage
  • Helps depression
  • Heals minor burns
  • Reduces scarring
  • Reduces appearance of wrinkles
  • Reduces stress
  • Soothes sunburn
  • Soothes skin irritations
  • Reduce inflammation and pain
  • Relaxes and aids in better sleep by placing drops on bedding, diffusing or applying topically
  • Add to lotion or other skin care products
  • Add to laundry detergent, wool dryer balls  or a cloth in the dryer to lightly scent laundry
  • Reduces hair loss
  • Use to make a lice spray
  • Diaper rash (if comfortable using on baby and should be a low dilution, please note dilution rate by age above or use a hydrosol)
  • Add a drop or two to shampoo or conditioner
  • Use on canker sores to relieve pain and heal quickly
  • Bath oil (dilute properly prior to adding to bath)
  • Freshen fabrics, rooms, closets by making a room spray
  • Calming
  • Reduces anxious feelings
  • Bed bug spray when traveling (just spray the mattress)
  • Some will use to flavor food and drinks, such as lemonade to make a Lavender Lemonade*

 

What essential oils can Lavender essential oil blend with?

Blending essential oils together allows users to create interesting scents that offer additional therapeutic benefits than using one essential oil at a time. Many of the leading essential oil blends share recommend essential oils that blend well with lavender essential oil, here is a collective list.

  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • Blue Cyprus (Callitris intratropica)
  • Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)
  • Chamomile – German (Matricaria chamomilla)
  • Chamomile – Roman (Chamaemelum nobile)
  • Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
  • Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum)
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • Cyprus (Cupresses sempervirens)
  • Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata)
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum or Pelargonium graveolens)
  • Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
  • Helichrysum Italicum (Helichrysum italicum)
  • Jasmine (Jasminum sambac or Jasminum officinale var. grandiflorum)
  • Juniper Berry (Juniperus communis)
  • Lemon (Citrus x limon)
  • Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus)
  • Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
  • Neroli (Citrus x aurantium)
  • Oakmoss (Evernia prunastri)
  • Orange (Citrus sinensis)
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
  • Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii var motia)
  • Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
  • Pine (Pinus banksiana)
  • Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
  • Rose (Rosa x centifolia)
  • Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)
  • Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

If you are not ready to starting mixing essential oils on your own, you can always look to purchase from one that has already been formulated. Many of the essential oil companies offer essential oil blends that have been created by aromatherapists on staff who understand how the chemistry of essential oils impact the human body.

These are sometimes listed as blends or synergies with their own marketing name that usually gives some indication to what they might address. Since lavender essential oil is so versitile there are many synergies and blends that contain that are being sold on the market today, here are a few examples.

  • Worry Free from Plant Therapy
  • Stress Away from Young Living
  • Peace from doTERRA
  • Calm Leg Blend from Aromatics
  • Age Defy from Eden’s Garden

 

What do I need to consider when using Lavender essential oil?

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil does not have any known cautions, hazards or contraindications. Refer to the botanical name for lavender essential oil to ensure you are purchasing the essential oil intended, as there are other lavender species essential oils such as spike lavender (lavandula latifolia or lavandula spica), Spanish lavender (lavandula stoecha) and lavandin (lavandula x intermedia, lavandula hybrida or lavandula hortensis) that offer other benefits, scents and cautions. For example, Spanish lavender (lavandula stoecha) should not be used in any way in pregnancy and breastfeeding due to the high content of the constituent camphor.

Lavender essential oil’s natural chemical profile and scent varies depending on the country of origin. Growing lavender in higher altitudes can also alter the chemical profile and provides enhanced therapeutic benefits.

Some companies produce Lavender hydrosols, which are great for children, pets and adults. This product can be used as a toner, soothing skin that has been over exposed to the sun, instead of distilled water in DIY recipes or as a room and linen spray.

Since lavender essential oil can cause dowsiness and sleepiness, it should not be used when taking a sedative medication.

Some brands state that lavender essential oil can cause possible skin sensitivity. Keep out of reach of children.

Lavender essential oil facts

Lavender has been used in many cultures and for thousands of years in many of the ways we use lavender essential oil today. It was found in King Tutankhamen’s tomb, was used during the mummification process and used for beauty in ancient Egypt. Greeks and Romans used lavender in the worship of their gods, to scent their bath water and medicinally.

During the Medieval and Renaissance periods clothes were washed with lavender. In England it was used to address the Great Plague in London and has been used in everything from soaps, perfumes to brewing as tea.

In the early 1900’s French chemist and scholar René-Maurice Gattefossé was in a laboratory explosion and used lavender essential oil to rapidly stop the spread of gas gangrenous sores. He spent time after this incident researching the benefits of essential oils and is considered the Father of Aromatherapy. He is credited with coining the word “aromatherapy” when he wrote his book in 1937 called Aromathérapie.

*Please note, not all essential oils should be ingested and the specific essential oil brand labels and directions should be followed. Also, there is debate within the industry regarding ingestion of essential oils without following guidance from a physician or certified aromatherapist.


Disclaimer: For informational and educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. If you have a health concern, a medical condition, are pregnant or breastfeeding, or are taking any medication please consult your healthcare provider.