LAVENDER

What are the Benefits??

Lavender Oil is said to be the most versatile and most recognised essential oil in the world, with properties ranging from analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, bactericidal, decongestant, hypotensive, insect repellent sedative and vermifuge. It can be summed up as calming, soothing and balancing.

It is native to Southern Europe, around the Mediterranean grown most notably in the Provence region of France. The use of Lavender has been recorded for more than 2500 years. The Egyptians, Phoenicians and Arabians are known to have utilized it’s alluring scent as a perfume, but also in their embalming process when mummifying their dead. It was used to cure everything from insomnia to back ache to insanity! By the surge of the Roman Empire it had already become a prized commodity. Once again its scent was its strongest selling point used in Romans baths, even deriving its name from the Latin verb “lavare”, or to wash. In Medieval times it was strewn across the floors of great houses as a disinfectant and natural deodorant. Throughout history humans have been utilizing its glorious scent to mask odours but most notably as an anti depressant and calming medicine. Ancients classified Lavender as a stimulant, tonic, stomachic and carminative. It was mentioned by Matthiole (the 16th century botanist) regarding Lavender as the most effective natural panacea, as a cure for epilepsy, apoplexy and mental problems.

In recent years there has been an increase in Lavender farms on the British Isles. It has been grown in British monastery gardens from the 1500s for medicinal purposes then later on translating into the perfect ingredient for soaps and perfumes.

Lavender is very highly scented and the content and quality of the oil depends greatly on the climate, soil and altitude where it is grown. French Lavender is rich in linalyl acetate and gives a fruitier sweeter note than its British cousins. It has a very complicated chemical structure and the proportion of various constituents will vary dependant on where it is grown. For example, after a dry summer the oil will have a higher level of esters in it than after a wet one.

The oil is produced from the flowers, but a less subtle scent can be derived from the stalks. The oil contains high levels of phenol making it a strong antiseptic and antibiotic. Very few people show an allergic reaction to Lavender which is one of the reasons it is still so popular. It is one of the three essential oils which most powerfully stimulate new cell growth thus aiding the regeneration of your skin. In terms of TJK haircare this is most relevant when looking at the scalp tissues. It is very good at soothing the skin and helping balance the over-secretion of sebum which the bacteria thrive on so making it an aid for most skin conditions notably eczema and psoriasis.