The Swiss Army Knife of Essential Oils ~ Lavender

12:47 PM Posted by jo

Lavender has often been called the "Swiss Army Knife" of essential oils due to it is such a versatile oil. It is a universal oil with many applications.  If your budget only allows you to buy one essential oil, then I recommend to purchase lavender. 

Place of origin
Lavender is grown around the Mediterranean area. France is one of the major areas where it is cultivated, but lavender is also cultivated in Spain and England.

Historical uses
The medicinal and perfume properties of lavender has been used for a very long time. The Romans used lavender for their baths and it was used to ward off evil spirits in the Middle Ages. Lavender derives from the Latin word lavare, which means to wash.

The higher altitude lavender grows on, the higher the ester content will be. The esters are soothing, antimicrobial and balancing. Lavender also has linalool ociemene, 1,8 cineole, octanone, camphor, caryopyllene, terpinene-4-ol.

Lavender is colorless or sometimes yellow to green oil with aromatic herbaceous and slightly floral scent.

The aroma is very calming and soothing to the mind. It is relaxing and balancing, both emotionally and physically. The top note is fresh, sweet, strong and herbal-floral aroma. The middle note is pleasant, clean with a sweet floral herbaceous scent with a woody undertone. The base not is perfumery. It is soothing, refreshing, slight herbal-floral. 


Mind and Spirit
Lavender is a sedative nervine and as such it has historically been a helpful oil for psychological and nervous disorders. Some conditions that have historically benefitted from the use of lavender are insomnia, hysteria, depression, migraine.  Lavender is also an analgesic agent, and its sedative and analgesic properties are said to help migraine and headaches. Lavender is also said to alleviate stress and may also be helpful in fearful situations.

Lavender is a very versatile oil and is a definite choice for the first aid kit. It is antiseptic and it has historically been helpful in flu, wounds, catarrh, cystitis, colds and coughs. It also possesses antispasmodic actions and it has traditionally been used to alleviate asthma and bronchitis.  Its antispasmodic, analgesic, and relaxant actions has historically provided relief in muscular pain and rheumatism.

Lavender has also historically been used to lower blood pressure and according to Battaglia, it also acts as a stimulating agent for someone with a weak heart. He also says it has emmenagogue actions and is therefore beneficial for scanty periods. Battaglia says lavender has low toxicity levels and is therefore a good oil for treating different childhood cuts, scratches, and infections.

I also learned that lavender has antihistamine properties and many have used lavender for allergies with great results. Learn more about essential oils and allergies:
Essential Oils & Allergies

Skin and hair:
Lavender has become the most useful oil when treating burns and it is even used by European hospitals. It has excellent healing properties on the skin. According to Battaglia, its analgesic and antiseptic properties will ease the pain and prevent infection of the burn. Its cytophylactic actions promotes rapid healing and reduce scarring. Lavender's anti-inflammatory and soothing properties are according to Battaglia, said to treat dermatitis, psoriasis, eczema, acne, and boils

Analgesic, antibacterial, antidepressant, antimicrobial, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, bactericidal, carminative, cholagogue, diuretic, emmenagogue, hypotensive, insecticide, nervine, sedative, stimulant, stomachic, vulnerary.

There are no known contraindications to lavender. Consult your physician if you're pregnant or under  a doctor's care. Lavender is safe for use on small children.

Possible skin sensitivity. If pregnant or under a doctor's care, consult your physician. 

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. AlsoRead this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 


Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 
Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

Photo Credit


Gary Young, ND (2006). Essential Oils, Integrative Medical Guide. Essential Science Publishing
Salvatore Battaglia (1995). The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion Pty Ltd
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