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Lavender: An In-Depth Look at this Calming, Relaxing Essential Oil

The word “lavender” is often a reference to a color – a light shade of purple. Lavender is, in fact, a flowering herb that produces small purple flowers. Though it may be best known by some as a color, lavender has a long history of religious and medicinal use. In ancient times, it was used to freshen the air and give scent to personal items. It has also been used in herbal remedies for insomnia.

As an herb, lavender has versatile applications, but its commercial use is focused on the essential oil extracted from the flower. Lavender essential oil offers antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative benefits. Here’s what you need to know about this calming, relaxing essential oil.

What is Lavender?

The common name lavender refers to the Lavandula genus of 47 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is an Old World herb, native to Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, found throughout Europe, the Mediterranean, northern and eastern Africa, and southern Asia. The most widely cultivated species is Lavandula angustifolia – this is the species for which the color lavender is named.

Lavender is an annual herbaceous perennial plant, though some varieties are more shrub-like. Leaf shape varies across different species, but flowers are shaped in whorls, grown on spikes that rise above the foliage. In wild species, these flowers may be blue, violet, or lilac in color – some varieties may even produce yellow or blackish purple flowers.

Many types of lavender are cultivated as ornamental plants and culinary herbs, but lavender essential oil comes primarily from two species: Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia. Pure lavender essential oil is extracted through the process of steam distillation. This oil has a long history of use in perfumery and aromatherapy, particularly in massage therapy. Oil of spike lavender has also been used in oil painting as a solvent, though that use declined after distilled turpentine became common.

The most commonly used variety for culinary purposes is English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia ‘Munstead’). It is an aromatic herb with a sweet fragrance and citrus notes. The buds and greens of the plant can be used in tea while the flowers are more commonly used as a spice or condiment. Lavender flowers become more potent with drying, so they need to be used sparingly to avoid a soapy aftertaste. The dried flower spikes can also be used in flower arrangements and potpourris.

The Health Benefits of Lavender

Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils used in aromatherapy, known for its relaxing benefits. This oil is purported to have antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antispasmodic properties as well as analgesic, hypotensive, detoxifying, and sedative effects. It has been used to treat everything from insomnia and depression to eczema and allergies.

Here are some of the potential benefits of lavender oil:

  • It may relieve insomnia and improve the quality of sleep
  • It could help relieve symptoms of skin conditions like acne and eczema
  • It may help ease pain and reduce inflammation
  • It could help reduce high blood pressure and stabilize heart rate
  • It may improve bronchial asthma symptoms by relieving allergic inflammation
  • It could reduce menopausal hot flashes and improve quality of life
  • It may inhibit the growth of certain types of fungus (such as athlete’s foot)
  • It could be used as a hair growth promoting agent

Though lavender has been used for a wide variety of purposes, the two most widely supported by scientific study are for the relief of anxiety and insomnia. Aromatherapy is particularly beneficial for these applications. Read on to learn how to enjoy lavender aromatherapy with LAFCO fragrances.

7 Ways to Enjoy Lavender with LAFCO Fragrances

Lavender is a versatile herb that can be enjoyed at home in tea and other herbal concoctions or as part of a dried flower arrangement or potpourri. To experience the relaxing benefits of lavender, aromatherapy is the best application. LAFCO offers a variety of products that feature the soothing fragrance of lavender in everything from candles and reed diffusers to hand soap and room mist.

Experience the relaxing fragrance of lavender with the following LAFCO products:

  1. Chamomile Lavender Reed Diffuser – Calming chamomile blends seamlessly with floral lavender in this relaxing fragrance, accented with hints of patchouli, rosemary, and sage. Available in Classic 6-ounce and Signature 15-ounce sizes, this reed diffuser supplies a steady flow of fragrance for months at a time.
  2. Lavender Amber Candle – Relax in the lap of luxury, surrounded by the gentle glow of this fragranced candle, breathing in the scent of French lavender, fern, and vanilla. This candle is available in the Classic 6.5-ounce and Signature 15.5-ounce sizes.
  3. Chamomile Lavender Hand Cream – This hypoallergenic reparative hand cream restores and repairs dry skin, leaving it luxuriously fragranced with the scent of chamomile lavender.
  4. Bluemercury Room Mist – When you need a quick burst of fragrance, this Bluemercury room mist will do the trick. This fresh, calming scent combines notes of orange, lime, and cucumber with the earthy tones of lavender, Egyptian basil, and African rosemary.
  5. Chamomile Lavender Bar Soap – Breathe in the relaxing scent of lavender and chamomile as you enjoy this luxurious natural bar soap. Made with extra-virgin olive oil and hydrating argan oil, this nourishing soap cleanses and hydrates the skin.
  6. Vetiver Sage Candle – The welcoming scent of almond blossoms and aromatic sage is accented by white lavender and Haitian vetiver in this scented candle. Enjoy it in the 6.5-ounce Classic or 15.5-ounce Signature size.
  7. Chamomile Lavender Pura Smart Diffuser – Enjoy your favorite LAFCO fragrances with complete control using the new Pura Smart Diffuser. Using your smartphone, you can adjust scent intensity, swap fragrances, and create custom schedules at the touch of a button.

Explore the scent of lavender and other popular LAFCO fragrances with the Herbal Gift Set or the Travel Candle Collection. The Herbal Gift Set includes two 6.5-ounce Classic candles in Chamomile Lavender and Rosemary Eucalyptus. To sample more products, try the Travel Candle Collection which includes six 4-ounce travel candles in popular LAFCO fragrances including Chamomile Lavender.

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