Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Lavender Redux

I almost hesitate to post again about lavender for fear of becoming "that lavender girl." As popular as lavender is, arguably the number one most recognizable scent, plant and fragrance for the whole "smelly" world, there are still a lot of people who are a bit confused by it all.

In doing a little more aromatherapy research yesterday, part of my ongoing project to develop more essential oil blends into my work, I found some interesting things from a scientific standpoint regarding lavender's uses. Psychology Today has two new articles about the scientific studies and results that validate what has been claimed for centuries about this plant. In The Smell of Relief lavender aromatherapy has been proven to not only soothe the senses, but aid in pain management, having sedative effects comparable to drugs like Valium.

And in Soothe Your Senses with Lavender, the physiological effects of soothing, calming, mood altering, and relaxing have found to be exactly what aromatherapists have stated.

Lavender derives its name from "lavare" which means "to wash." The Romans were aware of its antiseptic effects and used it to cleanse wounds, adding it to bath water too. It's been used for centures as a strewing herb, to freshen homes with it's fragrance, to ward off bugs and vermin, and to antiseptically clean. It's been used on people too, for the treatment of skin ailments, bug bits, wounds, and generally freshening up and smelling lovely. Its physical and emotional effects are numerous -- first aid to skincare to stress-related disorders like headaches and insomnia.

My plump, muslin lavender sachet bags are always immensely popular when I am at festivals -- people claiming to smell my booth from a block away (which is sometimes embarrassing). People have been using them as bedside items to help them sleep, tucking into drawers and closets, driving around with them in their cars to mask the funk and pet fumes, and gracing their bathroom counters for a little added charm. In addition, I have the Sweet Dreams aromatic spray, which adds a little Chamomile essential oil to the blend, also known for its calming and sedative effect. Lately, however, I have been requested time and time again to have a plain lavender aromatic spray. And I will do it this week. I need to get some new labels printed, and will have the new lavender spray ready for the Bellevue show next weekend. If that's what the people want, then so be it. I'll announce it here when it's been added to the web site too.

Lavender's many uses and powerful effectiveness has also earned it a starring role in the Healing Salve and Foot Balm too. The French Lavender soap bar? again, one of the crowd favorites. And my Lavender Lemongrass blend, for both soap and spray, always gets top honors too. It's all good.

Earlier this year I made up some small vials of the pure lavender essential oil and had them at a few shows. Frankly it's just one too many things to add to the menu at the moment, so when I got down to just a handful of them, I stopped taking them out for air. They are resting comfortably here in my office, but I am putting them up for sale on the web site at cost practically. You can't buy essential oil for this price anywhere, trust me. Lavender essential oil is steam distilled directly from the plant's flower buds. It is gentle enough to use "neat," meaning it can be placed directly on skin without irritation. Well, unless you already know that you have an allergy to lavender -- there are a few folks that are, but you would already know that because it's so prevalent in things that you couldn't have gone this far in life without already having that be abundantly clear. A drop on your fingertip can be massaged into temples for headaches. A drop can be placed on bug bites for relief. A few drops can be added to bath water, a light bulb, a tissue or hankie. A bit can be added to water in a spray bottle for ironing clothes or spritzing just about anything. It can just be a little sniffy jar for the car, to be opening in crappy traffic. You get the idea.

It's a half-ounce bottle, aromatherapy grade 40/42 pure essential oil, from lavender grown on a gigantic herb farm in Oregon, really high quality stuff, and it's sale priced at $4.00 each.

Okay, enough of the blah, blah, blah -- you can order it HERE. *removes self from lavender soap box and exits quietly*