Lavender produces oil as a reaction to drought stress. It is believed to be an immune reaction and linked to the survival characteristics of the plants. There is oil throughout the plant but most of the oil is held in small glands at the base of the flowers where they attach to the stem.
When you brush against lavender in the summer it is these galnds that are breaking to release the scent.
Although best known for its fragrance, Lavender has been used for its healing properties throughout time and has even been described as nature’s complete first aid remedy.
It can be used fresh, dry or as an oil.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also used it to treat ailments such as insect bites, headaches, dizziness, kidney disorders, jaundice and dropsy. Roman soldiers used it as for its antiseptic qualities on war wounds, an application also used during the first world war with moss poultices when bandages ran short.
By the 19th century lavender was promoted as a virtual ‘cure-all’.
It is one of the few essential oils that can generally be applied directly to the skin undiluted, or with a carrier oil, and it perhaps best known for its ability to instil a feeling of all round well being and confidence. Lavender is also excellent aid for a restful night’s sleep, and some claim will help ease snoring!
It is known as having a calming and restoring effect, especially good for the treatment of stress or nervous tension.
Lavender is thought to relax the body through calming cerebro-spinal activity, easing depression, irritability, insomnia amnesia and shock.
Its analgesic properties ease migraine, muscle pain, neuralgia, sciatica and rheumatism. The calming effect helps high blood pressure and palpitations.
The antiseptic properties of lavender are far reaching. As a first aid remedy it can be used on abrasions, wounds, burns, sunburn, insect bites and stings.
Lavender is also an excellent insect repellent.
It is said that lavender may also help dermatitis, eczema, acne, psoriasis and scarring.