Flower Power: Lavender
By Kirsten Antony R.N. ~
Certain fragrances have a way of transporting us to different places and time. Lavender is a timeless fragrance that has the power to commandeer our senses. It may carry us off to a dreamy landscape where we may frolic through the fields of purple and bask in the warm summer sun. Lavender has a beauty and grace that speaks of purity, silence, serenity, calmness and healing. To empower the plant kingdom with specific meaning and symbols is known as the language of flowers. People for millennia have been using gifts of flowers to show affection and convey appropriate sentiment through color, fragrance, shape and arrangement. Flowers carry distinct energy frequencies. If you listen closely, you can understand the message they communicate.
Across the ages, lavender has been used in many cultures such as in Egypt for its essential oil properties and in Roman times its use was popular as a perfume and tonic. The word lavender is derived from the Latin word lavare which means “to wash”. It is a versatile herb which is typically a beautiful shade of purple and is associated with the crown chakra. The whole plant can be utilized for a myriad of healing properties, but one of the most common uses is for its aromatherapy properties.
Aromatherapy, the science and art of using extracted plant essences for therapeutic use, has been used throughout history and is currently a popular healing modality. Through a distillation process, lavender can be used as an essential oil. The essential oil is the liquid essence of the plant obtained from pressing or distillation. The essential oil (EO) may come from the flowers, leaves, fruits, grasses or wood of the plant. It takes about three pounds of lavender flowers to extract only ½ ounce of essential oil.
When inhaling the fragrance of lavender, the scent directly passes to the limbic system of the brain. The olfactory senses connect to the brain center where our memories, mood and emotions are directly affected. This olfactory response works with all essential oils and all aromas, pleasant or not. Lavender, for many people, conjures up a sense of relaxation, love and comfort. The aroma may connect us with fond memories and also may be affecting the physical body therapeutically.
Studies have shown that lavender essential oil can help reduce anxiety and insomnia and increase relaxation. Lavender products are often marketed to assist those looking for a good night’s sleep. Aromatherapy diffusers, lotions, sleep masks, pillows and sachets are a few popular lavender-scented products that can help ease us into slumber. Lavender is also a great multi-purpose EO to have on hand. It is shown to have antiseptic, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. From applying to bug bites to helping relieve headaches, lavender EO has a multitude of uses.
In using any type of plant medicine, there are precautions to take and interactions to be aware of. Not all EO’s should be directly applied to the skin. A carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil can be used to dilute the EO. Certain plant medicines can have drug interactions and may affect the body adversely. It is always a good idea to research any new herbal therapy you may be trying as well as contact your physician when concerned about adverse reactions. When purchasing an EO, look for a high-quality, therapeutic-grade oil. Be aware of purity, quality and safety when buying products.
Outside of medicinal properties, growing lavender in the garden is healing not only to us but also for the natural world. The bees and butterflies love it and it beautifies the world. English lavender is one of the most popular varieties in North America. Besides traditional lavender-colored flowers, English lavender also can bloom in white, pink and blue. Other varieties of lavender are Spanish, Green, French and Spike. Lavender loves the sun and requires at least 4 hours of sunlight a day to be happy and healthy. Also, lavender prefers well-drained soil.
The plant world provides us with so much healing potential as a medicine and decorates the earth in beauty. Please remember to walk through the world in awe of nature and give reverence and thanks for all she provides.
Interested in learning more about lavender? Listed below are some lavender festivals to visit in the Denver area this summer as well as some lavender farms located around Colorado.
Lavender Festival at Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield Farms, Littleton, Colorado-July 15th & 16th, 2023
Colorado Lavender Festival June 23rd-25th, 2023 Palisade, Colorado
Busy Bee Lavender Farm, Fort Collins, Colorado
Sage Creations Organic Farm, Palisade, Colorado
Belli Fiori Lavender Farm, Grand Junction, Colorado
This content is not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician and/or another qualified healthcare provider with any questions you have regarding a medical condition.
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and Holistic Health Care Practitioner. She offers in-home services of foot care, reflexology, sound healing and healing touch to those in the Denver Metro Area. For more information please visit: www.kirstenantony.net or www.facebook.com/soultosoleholistichealthcare or call 303-668-8992.