Lavender, The Best Essential Oil for Beginners
In my first Essential Oil Element series on Bridle & Bone, I am focusing on lavender. Widely considered to be the most popular of all essential oils, it is often a person’s first foray into aromatherapy.
The use of lavender has been documented for over 2500 years. The fragrant smell, mild effect, incredible medicinal benefits mean lavender is popular among many species and for many uses. As a result, lavender is one of the best essential oils for beginners. If you are interested in working with aromatherapy, this is a great place to start.
What is Lavender?
While lavender is the common name, the plant is scientifically known as Lavandula, a member of the mint family. The variation most commonly found in essential oils is Lavandula angustifolia.
Where is Lavender Found?
Lavender is found native throughout many parts of the world including: Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun and in many areas can grow so wild as to become invasive.
The most common lavender is English Lavender or Lavandula angustifolia. The Discovery Channel made a video regarding the making of lavender oil and “floral waters” or hydrosols and you can view it in depth here.
Properties of Lavender Essential Oil
- Anti viral
- Anti inflammatory
- Anxiety Relief
Lavender essential oil is often used for skin conditions, to reduce the appearance of eczema or ringworm, burns, frostbite, or as a calming aid.
This oil has a wide array of uses from healing salves, dry skin creams, bath and beauty products, and even food. Because of it’s skin healing properties and calming fragrance it serves many functions and is usually the “go-to” essential oil in any collection.
How to Apply this Essential Oil
Lavender may be applied:
- Orally in water or food.
- Topically, directly on the skin or indirectly using a cotton ball.
- Air diffusion.
Essential oils are condensed and a little goes a long way. They should be diluted with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil, almond oil, or shea butter for best results. The smaller the animal, the more diluted the oil should be. According to The Animal Desk Reference (<-affiliate link) by Melissa Shelton DVM , the general rule of thumb is 1 drop per 20 lbs. weight for dogs and 1 drop per 200 lbs. for horses.
Cons of Lavender
As always it is best to start small with oils and increase gradually as needed. In some cases, the oil may cause skin irritation or headache.
In the Event of a Negative Reaction
A negative reaction to essential oils may appear as circling, whining, attempt to rub the site of contact or in rare cases vomiting and diarrhea. If this occurs, you may rinse your pet in that spot with milk to counteract the oil. If symptoms persist, please contact your veterinarian.
Lavender is one of the easiest essential oils to use because it is has so many medicinal properties and is used for a wide variety of problems. Lavender is generally safe for dogs and horses, however, you should buy Certified Therapeutic Grade essential oils that are harvested sustainably. Buying from a company such as doTerra (Wellness Advocate ID 3184569) , Young Living, or Mountain Rose Herbs is best.
* Disclaimer: Before you use essential oils contact your vet to determine if there are any complications with your animal’s medications. This article is for educational purposes only. Massage professionals are not qualified to diagnose, treat, or prescribe medication.
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