Tag Archives: headaches

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

patchouli header

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Synonyms: P. patchouly, patchouli oil

Aroma: Rich, sweet, herbaceous, aromatic, spicy and woody balsamic. Patchouli gets better with age.

Colour: Deep orange red

Patchouli flowerPlant: Evergreen herb with large fragrant leaves and hairy square stems that grows to a metre tall. On axillary and terminal stems flower spikes of clusters of tiny white to purple flowers form. As these fade fine brown seeds form in small capsules like tiny knots on the spikes.

Main Growing Areas: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, India, Mauritius, East and West Indies, Paraguay, Vietnam

Major Constituents: patchouli alcohol, alpha and beta patchoulene may contribute to anti-itching properties of the oil, beta-caryophyllene – anti-inflammatory, beta-elemene – antitumour

Interesting snippets: In the 18th and 19th centuries Chinese traders travelling to the Middle East used patchouli to treat carpets and fabrics to prevent moths laying their eggs in the cloth and fungal deterioration.

In the 1960’s hippies used patchouli to cover the smell of burnt cannabis.

During the Vietnam War, American soldiers used patchouli to mask the smell of the graves of enemy soldiers killed in combat.

Dried patchouli leaves were placed amongst the folds of Indian cashmere shawls in Victorian times to protect them from moths.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Dried fermented leaves by steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: nausea, headaches, colds, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, haemorrhoids, cracked sore skin, eczema, psoriasis, tinea, acne, impetigo, herpes

Emotional and Spiritual: depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, nervousness

Patricia Davis writes that patchouli is especially valuable for dreamers and people who tend to neglect or feel detached from their physical bodies. Patchouli helps to ground and integrate energy and keep us in touch with our physical selves.

Robbi Zeck writes that the rich, musty, wood scent of Patchouli awakens within the soul a deep yearning for the comforting presence of peace, bringing Spiritual insights to all realms.
Patchouli’s slow peacefulness brings about a state of mind and wholehearted feeling where unification occurs with the soul on all levels.

Gabriel Mojay writes that patchouli is good for those who, due to excessive mental activity and nervous strain, feel ‘out of touch’ with their body and their sensuality.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Patchouli Insight card

UNITY
Feeling trapped in one of many areas of your life and feeling like those areas are not working together? Patchouli unites all levels of your existence, allowing you to focus and bring heart and head to work together, rising above self-imposed barriers and enjoying all that life presents. Patchouli awakens a sense of peace that reaches into all areas of your life. Don’t get ruffled and caught in the false ego. Stay self-assured, and realize your real strength lies in being you.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I feel a sense of peace in all areas of my life.

Contemplations for the Soul:

Patchouli CFTS

Is your mind on a continual loop making you unable to think clearly due to worry?
Have you imposed limits on what you think you can achieve?
Do you feel you have to be someone else to achieve your goals?
Do you long for peace in your life?
Realize that worry will not improve the situation and will banish peace from your life.
Try grounding yourself by going outside and putting your bare feet on the ground.
Breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer then look at what action you can take to reduce your worry.
Know that you can be yourself and still achieve your goals.
Peace be with you.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Davis P, Subtle Aromatherapy. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1992)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Patchouli Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.39 (2007)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

 

Caring For The Carer

caring for the carer

There are many men and women who are full time carers. They may be looking after someone who is physically or mentally ill. The person being cared for maybe a child or adult and is usually a family member.

There can be many challenges in looking after another but many rewards as well. The trick to remaining healthy so you can continue as an effective carer is to make time for yourself and ask for support when you need it.

I will talk about some of the physical and emotional challenges you may face and how to deal with them.

PHYSICAL CHALLENGES

Muscular Aches and Pains
Helping the person you are caring for with everyday tasks like getting in and out of bed, going to the toilet, showering, dressing and sitting in a wheelchair can all take their toil in back, neck, shoulder, arm and leg pain if not done correctly.

Carer

Learning correct manual handling techniques and the use of mechanical lifters can help prevent injury.

Massage can help relieve aching muscles. Investing in a monthly massage can help by relieving the physical pain and giving you time for yourself. If you are unable to book a massage you can make the following blend yourself and massage the affected muscles.

relaxing aroma massage

Relief for Aching Muscles
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) 3 drops, lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 2 drops, rosemary 1 drop in 10mls cold pressed  vegetable oil.

Aches and pains
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) 5 drops, peppermint (Mentha piperita) 5 drops, ginger (Zingiber officinale) 5 drops in 30 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil.

Headaches
The stress and worry that can come from always being on the alert to the needs of another can lead to tension headaches. Indian head massage is an easy and effective way to lessen the build-up of stress and tension headaches. Massaging the area with an essential oil massage blend is also effective.

Woman with Headache

Tension Headache Be Gone
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 2 drops, geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 2 drops, peppermint (Mentha piperita) 1 drop in 10mls  cold pressed vegetable oil. Massage neck, shoulders and temples with the blend. You can then massage the scalp without the blend if you wish.

Physical exhaustion
Driving to doctors and other appointments, lack of sleep, shopping and preparing special foods, making sure medications are taken on time and the other myriad of things that must be done when caring for another can all take their time and lead to physical exhaustion.

It is really important that you make time for yourself throughout your busy day. Do something just for you even if it is only for 10, 15 or 20 minutes. This could include going for a short walk around the block or garden, listening to your favourite music, having a massage, drinking a cup of tea or coffee in your garden really slowly and enjoying it, reading a few pages or chapter of a book or newspaper. If you are feeling physically exhausted the following blend along with getting some sleep may help.

listening to music

Wake up and Go
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) 2 drops, eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) 2 drops, rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 2 drops in a diffuser.

Lethargy blend
Blend rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) 2 drops, geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 2 drops and peppermint (Mentha piperita) 1 drop in a burner or vaporiser.

Sleep
It can sometimes be hard to get to sleep or stay asleep when caring for another. They may need you during the night or you may be physically exhausted but still find it difficult to sleep. Stress and worry is another reason for sleeping difficulties. It is important that you get enough sleep so you can stay resilient and able to cope with caring for another.

Some tips to help you get to sleep.

  • Try drinking a warm glass of milk or a cup of chamomile tea an hour or two before bed time.
  • Visualization – Imagine a very relaxing scene. Make sure you involve all your senses.
  • Have a warm bath with 3 drops of lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and 2 drops of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil in a half cup of full fat milk added to the bath. Play relaxing music to further relax you.
  • A chest massage using 3 drops of lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and 2 drops of geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential in 10mls of cold pressed vegetable oil.
  • Place a few drops of lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) or other relaxing essential oil on a tissue and leave near your pillow so you can breathe in the aroma.

Sleep easy blend
Add sandalwood (Santalum album) pure essential oil 1 drop, frankincense (Boswellia carterii) 1 drop and lavender  (Lavendula angustifolia) 8 drops to 10 mls cold pressed vegetable oil and massage your neck, shoulders and chest.

Lack of exercise
If you are lifting the person in and out of bed, showering, dressing and sitting them in a wheelchair and doing other physical work connected with caring you may be getting plenty of exercise.

If your caring doesn’t involve a lot of the above you may not be getting enough exercise. Exercise is important to help you maintain strength and flexibility, reduce stress, sleep well at night and keep up your energy levels.

Exercise

You don’t need to go to a gym. Walking, swimming, tai chi, yoga or gardening done 3 times a week for 30 minutes maybe all that you need to keep you healthy.

Eating Well
It may be a challenge at times to eat well but a healthy diet is essential if you are going to be able to have the energy and stamina to do all you need as a carer. Take time out occasionally to have a relaxing meal or catch up with family and friends.

Healthy diet

EMOTIONAL CHALLENGES

Stress and anxiety
Perhaps the biggest emotional challenge for the carer is dealing with the emotional feelings that can arise from caring for an extended period of time. There may be feelings of never having a moment for themselves, the idea that this will never end and they are stuck in this role for life, suggesting ways the person they are caring for can help themselves and being ignored and feeling guilty for wanting things to change.

Stress may show up as frustration, sadness, feeling unable to cope with everyday things, loss of hope, poor or no appetite, restlessness and difficulty in sleeping. Other symptoms may include tiredness, apathy, digestive problems, headaches, impatience anger and resentment.

Tips to help with stress
Difficult as it maybe accept that this is the way things are now and look for ways you can get help and support.

Ask your family and friends for support. Perhaps they can take over your role for a few hours while you take time for you. It may be so you can go to the hairdressers, have a massage, play a round of golf, see a movie, sit in the park or simply doing nothing and enjoying that feeling. It doesn’t matter how you spend the time. All that matters is that you spend it just for you so you can rejuvenate yourself.

support

Know that whatever comes your way you have the strength and ability to cope. You may need to look at another way of doing something but you will get through it.

Take care of yourself physically, eat well, make time for exercise and get a good night’s sleep.

Spend time with family and friends. If you don’t have time to do it in person, speak to them on the phone.

family support

Ask for assistance from charities, government agencies or your local council with showering and looking after some of the physical needs of the person you are looking after if appropriate.

Use essential oils in the form of massage or in a room vaporiser to help you relax. Make sure you choose pure essential oils to get the benefits.

Anxiety blend
Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 2 drops, palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini) 2 drops, geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 1 drop in 10mls cold pressed vegetable oil for massage or in a diffuser to vaporise.

Calm anxiety down blend
Basil (Ocimum basilicum) 3 drops, geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 5 drops, cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) 3 drops in 20 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil. Use as a body massage or to massage the solar plexus (where the rib cage makes a V-shape).

De-stress blend
Add sandalwood (Santalum album) 1 drop, lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 3 drops and sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) 2 drops to a vaporiser to help calm you down.

Stress relief blend
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) 3 drops, sandalwood (Santalum album) 3 drops, lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 2 drops in a vaporiser.

Uplifting blend
Blend sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) 4 drops, lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 3 drops and geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) 2 drops in 20 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil. Gently massage a small amount of the blend into the back of the neck, onto the chest and over the solar plexus (where the rib cage makes a V-shape).

Fear and anger
Cedarwood atlas (Cedrus atlantica) 4 drops, sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) 3 drops, lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) 3 drops in 20mls cold pressed vegetable oil or in vaporiser.

Caring for Yourself
Too often as a carer you are so busy caring for another that you neglect your own needs and health.

Once you begin caring for a parent, spouse or child the relationship between you can change. This can result in more conflict and frustration on both sides. One may feel they are being told what to do and have little say in their treatment and life. The other may feel their advice is being ignored or they are being taken for granted with little or no time for themself.

They may both worry about finances and how they will pay for doctors, medication and other bills connected with their illness and living expenses.

medication

Following the advice above about eating well, exercising regularly, getting a good night’s sleep and getting help when you need it will all help you cope with the demands placed on you by caring.

Find someone you can talk to when it all gets a bit too much. This could be a family member, friend or professional counsellor. Join a Carer Support Group in your area where you can talk over your experiences and get tips and support from others who are going through similar experiences.

Most importantly give yourself the gift of time for yourself to do the things that you love or need. One of the fears that carers have is losing themselves and forgetting who they are on a deep level. Another is putting their life on hold. By taking sometime for yourself each day you stay in touch with you and your wishes and desires. You can remain strong whatever happens as you are nourishing yourself on a deeper level emotionally and spiritually.

young-woman-on-mini-retreat

Being a carer is not easy but the challenges you overcome can strengthen your relationship with yourself and the one you are caring for.

Some carer resources in Australia

http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/
https://www.carersnsw.org.au/
http://www.carersvictoria.org.au/
http://carersqld.asn.au/
http://www.australia.gov.au/information-and-services/benefits-and-payments/carers\
https://www.carergateway.gov.au/what-is-respite-care?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIy6OQ26qF1wIVUh9oCh0ThgL-EAAYAiAAEgKgXPD_BwE

17 Ways to Lessen Work Stress

17 ways to lessen work stress

Stress is caused by being “here” but wanting to be “there”
Eckhart Tolle

When I worked in Japan in the late 80’s and early 90’s karoshi (death from overwork) was often talked about as many Japanese men would spend a lot of time at work, do overtime and then go out drinking with their boss and colleagues or go to language class. Most of this behaviour was due to peer pressure and cultural expectations.

nursesRecently I read in the newspaper that those working in health care, social services, shipping and construction are dying because of it. Many young Japanese women today are also victims of karoshi. When I speak of over work I’m not talking about a few hours overtime but up to 100 or 160 hours of overtime in the month before their death. Karoshi not only includes death from heart attack and stroke but also suicide from those who can no longer cope with the insane hours and stress placed upon them.

Here in Australia few people die from work stress but many are unhealthy and unhappy because of it.

It is not only stress from overwork that can kill you but studies have shown that failing to take your annual holidays puts you at a greater risk of dying of a heart attack. It’s also a good idea to take the weekend off from work. Turn off the phone, ipad, android or laptop and spend some time with your family and friends so you can go back to work feeling refreshed and better able to deal with whatever work throws your way.

The time to relax

Symptoms of work stress
symptoms of work stressWork stress may not end in death or suicide due to depression but there are many other symptoms that can indicate work stress is affecting your health. These include apathy, anxiety, loss of interest in work, elevated blood pressure, insomnia, digestive problems, dizziness, nausea, headaches, migraines, tight, stiff neck and shoulders, drug and alcohol abuse, trouble concentrating, not being able to rest even when you do take time off, withdrawing from family and friends.

17 ways to lessen work stress
It may not be possible to stop work stress but you can help negate some of its effects by improving your physical and emotional well-being before stress and overwork threatens your health. Try to do at least 5 of the following regularly. Your body, mind and spirit will thank you for it.

Prioritizing your work dayLearn to communicate better with your boss and co-workers.

Prioritize your work day and do the most important tasks first.

Whenever possible delegate tasks.

Exercise each day for e.g. walking, swimming, playing tennis, football, dancing.

Having a good laughSpend quality time with family and friends.

Spend time in meditation or visualising something that represents peace for you.

relaxing aroma massageHave a regular aroma massage – clients having monthly massages find they are better able to handle both work and life stresses.

Take a few deep, slow breaths when stress and anxiety threaten to overtake you.

Greeting the dayDo yoga or tai chi regularly.

Vaporize relaxing or uplifting essential oils like lavender, sweet orange, Roman chamomile, grapefruit, petitgrain, spruce, frankincense.

Watch comedy shows or read funny books and have a good belly laugh.

listening to musicListen to music.

Play with your children and animals.

Get enough sleep. Essential oils that can help you relax and get to sleep include lavender, Roman chamomile, sweet marjoram, neroli, valerian, sandalwood.

Healthy foodEat regular healthy meals. Don’t skip meals as this can leave you tired, anxious and irritable as well as being unable to concentrate.

Leave for work earlier in the morning to avoid traffic jams or crowded trains.

Take time away from work and use your weekends to refresh yourself.

Essential Oils and Anxiety

Essential oils and anxiety

AnxietyAnxiety is a mild form of fear where we react to a perceived threat. Fear is a necessary aspect of our lives as it alerts us to real danger and gives us a sense of self-preservation.

On the other hand anxiety is a reaction to an emotional threat that we don’t want to face such as grief, anger, embarrassment, perceived failure or guilt. Anxiety is our reaction to these emotions we believe will cause us harm and can manifest as a lack of self-confidence, a sense of apprehension or a feeling of insecurity or emotional unease. Some short term anxiety is natural as in the case of exam nerves or going for a job interview. Anxiety is only an issue when it becomes chronic or escalates into an acute state such as panic attacks where there is no real physical danger in most cases.

For many people anxiety is a future-oriented mood state in which they imagine all the negative scenarios and how they will react to them. For many this is a coping mechanism to deal with upcoming difficult situations or events. We don’t usually feel anxious if we are envisioning a positive outcome.

Worry is carrying

Anxiety may manifest physically as an elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, upset stomach, diarrhoea, muscle tension, headaches, tiredness and difficulty falling or staying asleep.

STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH ANXIETY
Meditation is a no cost or low cost strategy that allows your body to relax, release the fear and anxiety and repair and heal itself. Meditation can be as simple as going outdoors, taking off your shoes and socks allowing your feet or body to rest on the grass, sand or other natural surface and breathing slowing and deeply for 5 or 10 minutes

Tap into your wise all-knowing self. Sit quietly and ask if this is a situation you really need to worry about or can you trust that all will be fine.

Nourish yourself by eating well, exercising, getting enough sleep, maintaining healthy relationships, spending time in nature or the outdoors and doing the things that bring you joy.

Essential oils help you to relax as they go straight to the limbic brain the centre of our basic emotions and calm it down. They ground and calm you bringing you back to your body. You can try meditating with essential oils, vaporising them, using them in the bath or as a spray mist in your aura or on your physical body.

ESSENTIAL OILS FOR ANXIETY
Bowl of frankincense tearsFrankincense (Boswellia carterii) deepens and slows the breath calming and centring the mind. She is particularly useful when the mind is overwhelmed by thoughts of what can go wrong. Frankincense will help you to access your wise all- knowing self allowing insight into your anxiety.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is a balancing oil useful for anxiety and panic attacks. Overachievers and perfectionists who worry about the outcome or not being good enough can benefit from this oil.

Jasmine flowers

Jasmine (Jasminum officinalis) calms the nerves, releases tension and uplifts the mind. Jasmine can be of particular benefit when anxiety alternates with depression.

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis/angustifolia/vera) is an oil that is readily available and is known as an aromatic “Rescue Remedy”. She eases nervous tension and can help ally feelings of panic as well as calm any strong emotions that threaten to overwhelm the mind.

Marjoram (Origanum marjorana) calms the mind when thoughts are going round and round in circles. She offers a sense of self nurturing especially when you are thinking that nobody cares.

Neroli flowerNeroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) reminds us that we always have a choice. She helps us to face painful emotions such as guilt, shame, hurt and anger and to find peace of mind once we have done so.

Rose (Rosa damascena) can assist those who suffer from deep anxiety caused by insecurity and a fear of losing control. Rose helps to heal deep emotional wounding and despair.

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)

Palo santo header

Palo Santo belongs to the same family as elemi, frankincense and myrrh.

Family: Burseraceae

Synonyms: Holy wood, incense tree because of the resemblance of the twigs of the tree to incense sticks.

Aroma: Refreshing woody scent with hint of frankincense

Colour: Clear to pale yellow

palo santoPlant: Grows in dry, tropical forests reaching a height of 4 to10 metres. It is densely branched with a smooth, non-peeling bark that is purple tinged but appears to be pale or silvery gray due to a covering of lichens.

 

Main Growing Areas: Indigenous to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) and the Pacific coast of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and the Galapagos islands).

Major Constituents: Limonene, terpineol, alpha-pinene, menthofuran, carvone, germacrene, carveol, juneol and pulegone.

Interesting snippets: The tree or limb must die a natural death and remain in the forest for 4 to 10 years to decay in order to produce a good quality essential oil. Cutting down the tree and leaving it to decay for the same amount of time will yield an oil of a poor quality.

The wood has been used in South America to make barrels for ageing wine.
The burning wood is used to repel various insect species and to protect cattle from vampire bats.

The Incas and shamans in Central and South America used and continue to use it, as part of their sacred healing rituals to heal, remove or cast spells, and gaze into the future.
In Peru, shamans light palo santo sticks and use the smoke to fumigate the aura of ritual participants in order to clear evil spirits, patterns of misfortune, and negative thinking.

palo-santoPart of Plant used /Extraction: Steam distillation of the heartwood of aged, fallen trees.

Therapeutic actions: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, antiviral, diuretic, reduces fever, sedative, headaches, wound healing, joint and muscle aches and pains, sprains and respiratory symptoms, coughing, bronchitis, asthma, colds.

Emotional and Spiritual: Grounding, calming, anxiety, depression, emotional stress or trauma, panic attacks, clears negative energy.

Safety: Possible skin sensitization if oil is old or oxidized.

Sources: Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bursera_graveolens

Spike Lavender (Lavandula latifolia)

Spike lavender header

Spike lavender although not as well-known as true lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the first oil I reach for  in cases of respiratory and muscular issues.

Family: Lamiaceae, Labiatae.

Synonyms: Lavandula spica, Aspic lavender.

Aroma: Fresh, floral-camphoraceous, smells similar to rosemary.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Plant: Shrub grows from 30 to 80 cm tall. The flowers are pale violet on loose spikes at the top of tall, branchy stems that lean over somewhat.

Main Growing Areas: Spain, Italy,  France and  Portugal.

Major Constituents: 1.8 cineole, camphor, linalool.

Interesting snippets: Spike lavender grows at low altitudes whereas true lavender grows at high altitudes hence its high camphor content and aroma. Spike lavender is more stimulating than true lavender.
Spike lavender was used by the ancient Romans to scent their bath water.
The word Aspic comes from the Greek meaning “Egyptian cobra”. It’s possible that this name was chosen because the ancients used Spike lavender against the venom of the asp.

Part of Plant used/Extraction: Flowering tops. Steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: This is an excellent respiratory oil. Use it for bronchitis, laryngitis, headaches associated with catarrh and the onset of colds and flu with fatigue, chilliness, aches and pains. It is useful for  muscular spasms and cramps and sore overworked muscles as well as rheumatic pains and menstrual cramps. Relieves insect bites and stings. Helpful for shingles, chicken pox, wound healing and burns.

Emotional and Spiritual: Useful for nervous tension, anxiety and depression. It helps to ease frustration, irritability and moodiness in people who find it difficult to express themselves. Instils feelings of vitality and confidence while easing tension and anxiety in those with chronic fatigue.

Safety: Because of its camphor content it is perhaps wise not to use with epileptics whose seizures are not controlled by medication.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Guba R, The Really True, True Lavender Story. JAM Winter (2002)
Kerr J, Lavender Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.8 (1998)
Mailhebiau P, Portraits in Oils. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1995)
Mojay G, Spike Lavender Class notes

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Lavender header

When my eyes were closed, at night in my little room,
my favourite hill used to come to me,
and I would sleep under an olive tree,
enveloped in the scent of hidden lavender
Marcel Pagnol

Lavender is one of the most loved and widely used oils in aromatherapy. There are many different types of lavender including Spike Lavender which I will discuss in another blog.

Family: Lamiaceae, Labiatae

Synonyms: Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera, True lavender, French lavender, Tasmanian lavender

Aroma: Sweet floral, herbaceous and refreshing with a balsamic wood undertone

Colour: Colourless to pale yellow

Lavender BeesPlant: It is a small very fragrant shrub that grows to a metre tall with pale green spear shaped leaves and purple flower heads on a spike.

Main Growing Areas: France, Bulgaria, China, Tasmania, England

Major Constituents: Linalool, linalyl acetate, caryophyllene, lavandulyl acetate

Interesting snippets: The name lavender comes from the Latin lavare meaning to wash or bathe. It was used by the Romans in their baths, cooking and to freshen and disinfect the air as well as to cleanse and heal their wounds.

There is evidence that the 16th century glove makers who used lavender to scent their gloves were less likely to suffer from cholera and the Black plague.

In 1970 it took 20 people four to five weeks to harvest four hectares of lavender compared to 1996 when two men and a tractor cut 30 hectares of lavender in three weeks.

Lavender oil was first distilled in the 16th century in England along with many other aromatic plants.

Dr Jean Valnet a french army surgeon who used lavender to treat serious burns and war injuries wrote that in the French Alps when the hunter’s dogs were bitten by snakes they would pick lavender, crush it and rub it onto the bites which immediately neutralised the venom.

There have been studies done showing that lavender can extend the sleep periods of people suffering from dementia.

LavenderPart of Plant used /Extraction: Flowering tops. Steam distillation. The quality of the oil can be affected by the weather, time of harvest, and the altitude. The harvested plants are left to dry for 2-3 days prior to distillation to remove most of the water content. The bulk of Lavender oil is distilled after around 20 minutes with the full distillation lasting around 40-45 minutes using dried or semi dried material. Because the amount of linalyl acetate in the essential oil is used to determine the quality and price of the oil there is always the temptation to adulterate lavender with linalyl acetate from either another cheaper botanical or synthetic source.

Therapeutic actions: Coughs and colds (I prefer to use spike lavender) wound healing, muscle spasm, minor burns, reduces scarring, eczema, measles, chicken pox, bruises, nappy rash.
Ron Guba describes lavender as a “first aid” remedy par excellence, treating a host of minor injuries, aches and pains on both the physical and emotional level.

Emotional and Spiritual: depression, insomnia, nervous tension, tension headaches, mental stress, cleanses and soothes the spirit relieving anger and exhaustion to help create a calmer approach to life. Calming, relaxing effects can help in reaching deeper states of meditation.

Gabriel Mojay writes that soothing the sense of trauma that inhibits self-expression, lavender is suited to the individual who is full of creative potential, but who is frustrated in fulfilling it due to self-conscious reserve. An aromatic “Rescue Remedy” it works to calm any strong emotions that threaten to overwhelm the mind.

Philippe Mailhebiau writes that true lavender prepares children stressed and disturbed by things going badly within the family environment for sleep and that it is the essential oil for preadolescent insomnia involving restless nights and grumpy, miserable awakenings often due to the mother’s absence at least mentally if not physically.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes when deep sadness covers the spirit like a suffocating blanket, lavender gently lifts the weight. When the inner tears fall, lavender wipes them away. When depression clouds the psyche, lavender blows it asunder. And for those with worries that trouble the spirit, lavender lifts the veil of despair.

Robbi Zeck writes that where there has been self-neglect and lack of self-care wearing away the health and energy of your body, Lavender brings nourishment and heartening reassurance.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:
NURTURING
Nurture yourself and your environment and step away from all that holds you back. Create your own “protected space” where you can feel uninhibited, safe and free to be all that you want to be. When you are feeling stuck emotionally or physically in life re-group your energies and start again so that you can feel strong and confident. Take the time to create your sanctuary where you can ask for and obtain all that you need.

Mother holding a baby surrounded by lavender(Courtesy of J. Jefferies & K. Osborn)

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I nourish my body and soul everyday.

Lavender affirmation

Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Lavender contemplation

What do you need to feel nurtured?
How do you nurture yourself and others?
Are you always giving to others but never to yourself?
If so why do you care so little for yourself?
Are you nurturing your creativity and talents or hiding them away because you’re shy or worried about what others may say?
If you are feeling stressed take a few minutes out of your busy day to nourish and nurture yourself.
Spend a little time giving to yourself.
This can be as simple as going for a short walk or buying yourself a little treat.
Taking time to relax and nurture yourself creates greater inner peace and harmony.
How will you nurture yourself today?

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic, safe to use with children and in pregnancy

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Guba R, The Really True, True Lavender Story. JAM Winter (2002)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr J, Lavender Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.8 (1998)
Kerr J, Lavender Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.31 (2004)
Llewellyn J, Lavenders of Provence. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.31 (2004)
Mailhebiau P, Portraits in Oils. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1995)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)