It often happens to be conditioned in what we do by the environment in which we find ourselves: even in the workplace, if we are in a well-aired and perhaps even fragrant space, we are automatically more productive.
In the same way, in environments with not too pleasant smells we tend to be more nervous or irritated.
Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment that allows the achievement of a high state of physical, mental and emotional well-being by exploiting the highly concentrated and perfumed essential oils extracted from flower petals and other parts of the plants.
Essences and oils are not only used to perfume our home or for body care but, according to some people, they also have healing functions.
They seem to provide benefits to our health thanks to their facilitated access to the nervous system that allows them to act not only on our mood, but also in the prevention of colds, headaches, bites etc...
Aromatherapy benefits are obtained by using perfumed essences at low doses both through the respiratory path and through the cutaneous one, that is in direct contact with the skin through scented massages or even in addition to relaxing baths.
The essential oils extraction takes place substantially through a process called "distillation" in which the perfumed essence is transformed into steam which is separated into water and essential oil, once cooled.
Why lavender is used in aromatherapy
How come among the most widespread fragrances in the both personal and home care products lavender is omnipresent and why is it used in aromatherapy?
The answer is simple: lavender with its small flowers is one of those evergreen aromatic plants in nature that emanates a so intense and engaging scent to let you have a feeling of immediate well-being.
Lavender properties and benefits
Lavender was already known in ancient Egypt, for the mummification of the dead and already known to the Etruscan people. In the age of Rome lavender, sacred to the goddess Vesta, it was believed to remove negative energies as it represented the purification of body and spirit.
In fact, the Romans used lavender flowers for this purpose (hence the Latin word "lavandus" which means to wash) as well as to perfume the thermal waters and to exploit their beneficial properties.
Lavender has multiple properties of which the best known are the sedative and anxiolytic ones that work on the nervous system relaxing body and mind and therefore proving very effective for problems of insomnia, depression, stress, anxiety and nervousness.
Other important properties are those antiseptic, disinfectant and anti-inflammatory to soothe bites, burns and redness of the skin.
How to use lavender
Lavender is a highly versatile plant used in many ways.
Being edible, for example, lavender is used mainly to make soothing herbal teas or thanks to its repellent properties it is used to keep away insects such as mosquitoes and flies or used as a fragrance in bags against moths.
Another sector in which lavender is used, as already mentioned, is that of aromatherapy through the extraction of essential oils from its plants.
When to collect lavender
Luckly for us lavender can be grown in pots, so you can have it even if you do not have a garden but only a small balcony.
In general, the sowing of the lavender takes place in spring and the bloom occurs during the summer months so the collection of flowers is indicated during the months of July and August.
How to make lavender essential oil
To create the homemade lavender essential oil you need:
- 200 ml of extra virgin olive oil
- 10 gr of dried lavender flowers (20 gr if fresh)
- 1 small transparent plastic bag
- 1 clean and well-dried jar with a transparent glass
- 1 gauze
- 1 rubber band
- 1 sieve
- 1 funnel
- 1 dark glass jar
- Put the lavender flowers in the transparent plastic bag and with a heavy object crush them and chop them to facilitate the release of the essence.
- Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into the glass jar, avoiding to reach the rim, then pour the chopped flowers from the plastic bag into the jar and stir.
- Cover the jar with the gauze and fix it to cover the jar with a rubber band without ever closing the can with the cap.
- Let it rest in the sun, or in any case in a warm and dry place for 3 weeks, then proceed with filtering using a pass and crushing the flowers to release more active ingredients.
- Using a funnel, pour the filtered lavender essential oil into the dark glass jar and store it in a cool, dry place. It will retain its properties for approximately 8 months.