The Bohemian Apothecary

Lavender Graphic

Each week I will be blogging for Bohemia, and highlighting a different product ingredient, issue, or just something interesting! For the next little while, I will be blogging about essential oils! This week’s oil is Lavender.

Lavender oil has been a staple in the Bohemia (Vance) household since I was a little kid. Chamomile and Lavender “warmie” bags handmade by my grandma, soothing lavender baths, pouches of Lavender under our pillows, and those old plug-in air fresheners in a thick, lush Lavender scent. Along with the scent of lilacs (we have enormous lilac bushes outside our home), lavender smells like childhood to me, and perhaps based on that fact alone, it always soothes me.

But does Lavender have the calming effects that many essential oil companies claim? Is it simply something nice to smell as you drift to sleep or relax in the bath, or does it come with added benefits? This blog post will look at the effects of lavender oil and some uses of it, examining sources based on science rather that “woo.”

A 1991 study by G. Buchbauer, L. Jirovetz, W. Jager, H. Dietrich and C. Plank showed that the diffusion of Lavender essential exhibited soothing effects on mice, significantly decreasing their motility. This was more apparent in older mice with a higher fat content than in younger mice.

Long story short: Yes, Lavender IS calming. Try burning a few drops in an oil burner before bed or taking a hot bath with a few drops of oil in it after a long day. Of course, decreasing your screen time before bed will only magnify the effects of this oil, so grab a good old fashioned book, light a candle under your burner, and cosy up for a restful sleep.

The National Centre for Complimentary and Integrative Health has a great fact sheet
about the benefits and cautions of using lavender oil. Based on the evidence from the previously mentioned study, lavender is most effective when diffused in the air for calming purposes. This means that lavender can be effective in promoting restful thoughts and sleep, and thus can aide in treating insomnia, anxiety, and restlessness.

Some claim that lavender has pain relieving and antiseptic properties when combined with other essential oils, few studies have been done to support these claims. If you have experience with lavender, please let us know in the comments what has worked for you!

Although lavender has many proven calming properties, please exercise caution when using it to treat insomnia, anxiety, depression, seasonal affective disorder, ADD and ADHD and other assorted ailments or conditions. Please consult your doctor about any of the aforementioned conditions and seek proper treatment. Use lavender oil only as a supplement to a proper health care regime. Always keep a detailed list of alternative treatment methods for your doctor, so that they can treat you as effectively as possible.

Disclaimer: Bohemia NEVER advises that anyone ingest essential oil or essential oil product, and only promotes the application of essential oils when in conjunction with a base such as jojoba oil, cocoa butter, or in a blend pre-approved for topical application. For MANY people, essential oils act as an irritant. ALWAYS do a patch test when applying even an essential oil blend made to apply to the skin. Please always use caution when using essential oils, and consult your physician immediately if you have any adverse reactions. Essential oils should NEVER serve as a replacement for any aspect of your medical care regime overseen by your family physician or other doctor.

I am not a scientist, and although I am attempting to find the most credible sources possible, there are times when I will fall short, and it is important to remember that aromatherapy is a much contested subject, and that above everything, scientific literacy is your responsibility as a reader.

Bohemia is located at 128 Government Road, Black Diamond, Alberta.

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