Relaxing with Lavender
by Jeanne Rose©
Aromatherapy is the use of the
scent of plants and particularly their essential oils in healing.
The effects of the aroma on the human body are two-fold. They are
effective physiologically - they directly affect the organ or
tissue; - and they are psychological, that is they act through the
sense of smell on the mind and emotions. The effectiveness of
aromatherapy varies enormously from individual to individual. A
person living a more simple life and eating pure and simple foods
often has a more acute perception. Essences can be inhaled or
ingested and even the simple eating of flowers in foods or salads is
a way of using the essence of plants in healing.
For massage, Mrs. E.B.C.
McPherson says that aromatherapy is an original method of
application of essential oils with a therapeutic massage technique
based on new points and Chinese connective tissue massage. Applied
to the skin, essential oils have a great influence in regulating
activity of the capillaries and restoring vitality to the tissues.
In an aging skin the oils restore muscles to a healthy condition,
soften tissues to get rid of excess fluid and waste materials or on
the contrary to help them hydrate. They will also act as a blood
regulator by improving circulation by the pressure on nerve centers.
HOW TO EXTRACT SCENT from
Lavender: There are many methods that one can use to 'get' the
scent out of a plant and these have been detailed in several books
including my own Herbal
Body Book. One method is as follows: Fill a large
jar three-quarters full of a light Olive oil, fill it up with
flowers of the Lavender (and some Calendula). Small flowers should
be chosen, and they should all be stripped of their stalks and
leaves to leave room for as many flowers as possible. Leave them to
macerate for twenty-four hours in the oil, then pour the contents of
the whole jar in a double boiler and heat the oil just to boiling.
Let it cool and then strain. You will need a strainer lined with
silk (or panty hose). Let the oil drip through without a lot of
squeezing. If you want the end result to be a one flower oil then
you must start and finish with the same flower. This formula yields
an infused oil. There is an art to the extraction of scent from
flowers and this art is much older than distillation. Distillation
is generally used for the herbaceous plants but home methods will
yield a good quality infused oil if care is taken.
HOW TO APPLY SCENT: There
are several modes of application of the scents, including: direct
inhalation of odors; direct application of oils on acupuncture
points; indirect application of oils using the infused method and
gentle forms of massage; internal application of oils through
ingestion; and indirect application using the entire plant (herbal
baths, inhalations, facial steams).
INHALATION of Lavender oil
will be relaxing and soothing. Make sure that you use only the most
softly scented Lavenders for your infusions and inhalations. Check
out the Lavender collection in the Flight
of Lavender kit for the best of these essential
oils and hydrosols.
Other Uses: The oil and
spirit are good when taken internally for all sorts of pains in the
head and for the brain, as a restorative and tonic against faints,
weakness, giddiness, spasms, colic, vertigo -and with oil of
Rosemary for loss of memory or for anti-aging. Lavender relieves
melancholy and raises the spirits. Externally, a few drops in a hot
footbath is used for fatigue, or neuralgia. A hot compress relieves
toothache, sprain and rheumatism. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the
temples for a nervous headache. The Lavender hydrosol is sprayed on
the face for skin care, to relieve eyestrain, for cooling and
soothing the temper. It works just as well on seniors or for babies.
A tea brewed from the tops is excellent to drink to relieve a
headache caused from excess fatigue or exhaustion or for a slight
stimulation to wake you up. Fomentation of Lavender in bags can be
used as an analgesic to relieve pain or as an therapeutic mask for
Hydrosol of Lavender can be gargled for hoarseness, added to teas
for flavor. The hydrosol is an antiseptic for swabbing pimples,
wounds, acne, or sores. The hydrosol is used as a wash for puffy
eyes, bruises, bites, and other minor external sores or blemishes to
normalize the sebaceous glands and reduce puffiness, and as a hair
rinse to reduce oiliness.
The dried plant is added to baths
and facial steaming herbs to stimulate the complexion, cleanse the
skin, and act as an aromatic astringent; it can be mixed with any
other herb, especially Rosemary, Comfrey and Rose. It is commonly
use in potpourris and sachets.
For more information, please
Herbal Body book or
The Aromatherapy Book
by Jeanne Rose. She can be reached at www.jeannerose.com,
use e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
or write to
219 Carl St. San Francisco, CA 94117. Phone 415/564-6785 or fax
All rights reserved 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. No part of this article may
be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.
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