This post was published in memory of Wendy Akin, longtime MOTHER EARTH NEWS contributor and gardener from Texas, who knew the value of life as a learner and teacher.
Lavender is perhaps the most useful of all essential oils, and everyone should have at least one small bottle. Some of the most common uses for lavender include: treating headaches, calming the mind, relieving burns, and, most importantly, neutralizing the toxins from insect bites. Lavender is one of the few essential oils that can be applied to the skin undiluted.
For stress. Lavender oil is wonderful in the bathroom, whether mixed with sea salt or simply as a few drops in a warm bathtub. It soothes, relieves stress and anxiety, and helps with insomnia and exhaustion.
For headaches of all kinds. Lavender can provide relief. Especially with tension headaches, just put a drop on one ring finger (your weakest finger), rub against the opposite ring finger and then massage the temples in a circular motion where you can feel the pulse.
For mosquito bites, bee or wasp stings and spider stings as well as scorpion stings. Apply lavender oil as soon as possible. Apply it generously! When I was bitten by a black widow spider, I ran to the bathroom, opened a bottle and literally dipped my hand into it. In this particular case, you are of course advised to see a doctor, especially if the person bitten is a child, elderly, or has a weakened immune system.
In my case, the bite never swelled or broke open like others. Even if you spot a bite if it swells, keep applying lavender in hopes that you caught it in time.
For skin care. Lavender helps remove blemishes. Lavender in hand and body creams and soaps cares for and soothes the skin. In the case of sunburn or stove fire – any fire – lavender helps the skin to heal. It is used in burn clinics for severe burns but should be left to a doctor.
Where to find Lavender Essential Oil I buy Lavender 40/42 for everyday use. My oil comes from an area south of Sault in central Provence in France and this is reliable oil. It is a mixture of several fields, similar to a mixed wine.
Expect around $ 40 to $ 45 a pound for this oil and expect a minimum order amount from the better suppliers.
A warning when choosing an essential oil: if it sounds too good to be true, this is it! You don’t want to buy oils from multi-level marketing or “pyramid” companies.
Two vendors that I trust and that are reasonably priced are Rainbow Meadow, Inc. and New Direction Aromatics. Lavender and eucalyptus oils are pretty common, and I’m happy with these oils from Bulk Apothecary and The Chemistry Store. You may find other essential oil suppliers that you like very much. There is much more today than there was about 20 years ago.
Note that the more reputable essential oil suppliers offer a Certificate of Analysis that includes a summary of gas chromatography, a test used to determine the purity of the oil.
A word of warning
Do not put essential oil in your mouth or nose unless specifically recommended by a knowledgeable doctor. Most essential oils are for external use only.
Guitteny, M. (1996). Lavender. Societe Agar; Lawless, J. (1995). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils. Element books; Maria, D. (2000). Making aromatherapy creams and lotions. Storey publisher; Whitton, S. (1995). Essential oils and essences. Apple Press; Worwood, VA (1991). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy. New world library.
Wendy Akin was a lifelong learner and teacher who was happy to share her years of knowledge of traditional skills. Over the years she has earned many state ribbons for pickles, delights, canned goods and special seasonings and even some for bread. Read all of Wendy’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS Contributions Here.
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