Lavender essential oil is the concentrated liquid containing
volatile aroma compounds steam distilled from the lavender
plant. Lavender has been used for centuries to help heal
various ailments from minor cuts, bruises and burns to
chronic diseases like rheumatism, asthma and dermatitis.
The immediate attraction and use of lavender essential oil
is in the perfume industry for its fresh, sweet and slightly
fruity floral smell.
This essential oil, like most others, is usually used mixed
with a base or carrier oil like sweet almond, grapeseed,
jojoba, avocado and others, unless it is for your bath, when
you can simply add a few drops in your bath water. Use this
oil for a pleasant fragrance or aromatherapy with an oil
burner or vaporiser. In aromatherapy, it is often used to
combat depression, stress, and fatigue. Always consult an
authorised practitioner when using lavender essential oil
as a health remedy or for aromatherapy.
Undiluted essential oils
Do not apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin except in an emergency; for example to cuts, burns or insect bites. A single drop of undiluted Lavender, Tea Tree or Chamomile Roman oil can be used to soothe and protect from infection – but you should only apply them neat once or twice. Some individuals can become sensitised to the oil if it is applied repeatedly.
Never use undiluted oils on children under the age of 3. Their under-developed and delicate organs cannot excrete the oils or deal with their metabolites efficiently.
If you are pregnant you should seek the advice of a medical practitioner, mid-wife or aromatherapist before using any essential oils. Once the use of essential oils has been endorsed by the medical practitioner, midwife or aromatherapist then they should be used only after the first trimester, and at a 1% concentration only, being half the normal strength.
It is a good idea to seek the advice of your supplier or aromatherapist to ensure that the essential oils you are thinking of using are not contraindicated during pregnancy. There is a lot of misinformation about precisely which essential oils should not be used and some aromatherapy books produce a huge list of contraindicated oils that are completely out of proportion to the facts.
Much of this misinformation is based on the internal use of the plant in herbal preparations, and this is certainly not the same as the external use of a diluted essential oil in massage. Most essential oil experts argue that since many contraindicated essential oils are used as food additives they can hardly be considered dangerous.
If you have a history of miscarriage do not use any essential oils at any time during your pregnancy.
Essential oils best avoided throughout your pregnancy include:
- Camphor (Cinnamomum camphora)
- Rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Savin oil (Juniperus sabina) – Never use in aromatherapy
As already stated, never use any essential oils undiluted on babies up to 3 years old.