Essential oils are indispensable to me...I'm absolutely hooked and totally head-over-heels in love with them. We owe gratitude to the early geniuses who found how to capture the essences of plants by distillation, etc.. By essential oil, I mean only pure essential oil, not a scent or fragrance which one sees at fairs and festivals, mall stores, sometimes even in health food stores, etc. Grrrr....as if they do any good. No, pure EO and nothing less.
The essential oil is the essence of the plant. Some say it is the plant's hormonal fluids. However that may be, the essential oil contains all the plant chemicals in the exact proportions of the living plant. It reveals to us the plant's "signature," all its uniqueness in an elixir of awesome power. I feel it contains the basic being or thought of that plant, too - its emotional stamp, its intentions (and I know I do sound kinda wacky here). I can't help but conclude that these plants intend something. They are alive, right?
The EO for me is a living imprint of all that particular bit of life and bears its vitality, its singular beauty and perhaps even its purposes. Thus when I reach for essential oils, I do so with a reverent and quiet universe (my universe, myself). I observe and listen. And I do perceive what I've just described. Perhaps some of the most loving, generous communication I've ever been privy to. Pay attention in this way when you reach for and use essential oils. I feel that there are simple messages there.
Whenever you dispense an EO, keep in mind its concentration: a tiny bit goes a looong way. Sometimes, massive amounts of plant matter go into making an essential oil. A field of roses might distill down to just a few pounds of rose EO; thus its ouch-y price. But any essential oil is a very concentrated essence. You just don't need a lot. For the elderly and children, about half of what otherwise you'd use. With babies, a tiny, tiny bit. (Notice myDreamBaby™ products are not at all as strong in scent as other baby products. I'm not trying to please the mother's nose...I'm making what's safe for an infant.)
Essential oils have virtually limitless uses in the home, fortravel, for health, hygiene and well-being, for pleasure and perfumery, you name it...an EO can handle that area. With knowledge, one can create safe EO blends. Without both wide andspecific, practical, time-tested knowledge, I honestly wouldn't try it. Such knowledge is available, happily, but do acquire it first.
I'd love to pass on some info to you guys — I do have lots of hints and good uses to share with you. Let me know when you're done how you like all this, OK?
One EO in particular has almost universal use. That's lavender.Gentle, amazing lavender. I would not do without it in my home and purse. I keep some in my kitchen and bathrooms. Lavandula angustifolia. although there are other varieties, is my fav. Only organically grown since pesticides permeate a plant and thus the EO. Wildcrafted is usually the strongest in plant chemicals.
Lavender has more uses than just about any other plant and here,without my spending much time now to research or double-check, are some of them. To me, it's feels motherly, like a loving, caring, calming, reliable mother. Lavender makes you feel better mainly because it encourages a healthy, flowing nervous system and immunesystem, it helps regenerate and heal, and even smelling asbeautiful as it does, it cleans up a storm.
While lavender is useful for nearly any- and everything, if you, for any reason do not like its scent, then this is not the oil for you to use, as ubiquitously as I suggest, anyway. Your sense of smell - what you like and don't like - is an indisputable guideand you're well advised not to push past it.
You can use lavender, a drop alone or mixed as so: two dropsof lavender, one of peppermint... a bit of that mixture, to dissipate a headache, even a migraine. Place it around your head and neck. You can use up to three drops or so on your pillow or hankie placed within smelling-distance to help you fall asleep at night. You can help calm children or anyone stressed or acting hyper by diffusing some lavender. If someone has a contagious illness, diffusing lavender purifies the air incredibly effectively... lavender is one of the very most antimicrobial, antiseptic, anti-yuckies essential oils that exists.
Example: I keep a sponge or wash cloth for washing dishes clean by washing it out with dish soap, rinsing and wringing out as much moisture as I can, then dropping one or two drops of lavender on it, mooshing the cloth all around to spread the EO evenly through it. Lavender moves the cloth's cleanness up from passable to good to awesome. Then, to keep bacteria from growing in it, I let the cloth air-dry by hanging it or placing the sponge tilted againstsomething so that air gets all around it. If this seems silly for me to mention, then you already let your kitchen sponge or cloth air dry. Any moisture left in it is a perfect breeding ground for yucky-poos.
Lavender water: This is not the plant water called "hydrosol"produced by distillation - it's my loose term for water with a bit of lavender EO in it, a disinfectant wash. You can make lavender water by filling a pint bottle with water (I use purified) and adding a drop or two of lavender EO. You really don't need any more EO in there unless you're taking on a really blecchhy job. But this is enough for a lovely job of disinfecting the dinner table, counters and stovetop and knobs, cupboards, faucets, walls, refrigerator door, etc. Lavender is less solvent than a citrus oil so a very light mix such as this is also great for dampening a dust cloth and if only slightly damp (you know how that goes) safe for furniture (or so it has been for me). I have a thing about window sills and windows collecting dead bugs and such. Not fun to look at. So I put a bit of my lavender water on a paper towel to pick them up and wipe the sill down.
For laundry, use Astonishing!™ Household SuperClean Powder. It's more powerful by a lot than only lavender EO added to some other laundry soap. But here's a great laundry tip: if you hand-wash a wool dress, for example, use Astonishing in your cold or cool water to clean it, rinse well and then fill the sink with water to which you add one drop of lavender EO. Now soak your garment in this lavender water. When it is dry, the lavender will help ward off moths, make the wool feel softer, be less prone to smell even if you do underneath it, etc.. Astonishing itself would have that effect, but wool clothing needs special tending to, so the extra lavender can't hurt.
Here is another benefit: lavender wards off ants and many other bugs. (So do peppermint and several others; I can tell you more another time.) Routinely cleaning with just this tiny bit of lavender dropped on the towel does a lot to dissuade bugs from taking up residence. I also might fill the EO bottle's cap with a a small amount of EO and drip a few drops from the lid directly onto areas where bugs might dare to venture.
When you travel, how about fill a smaller bottle of lavender and bring it along in your purse? I always have some lavender on hand If you feel dizzy, overtired, anxious, tummy-achy, virtually anything bad, open it and take a whiff.
Hope you don't mind me mentioning public toilets, bathroom door handles and such. I'm not squeamish, I just like cleanliness and am realistic. Lots of people do not wash their hands after going potty these days...notice that? Before you go to the toilet, first geta bit of toilet paper, put about one drop of lavender on it (anotherreason to keep some in your purse) and wipe the flushing thingee. If you have to sit on the toilet, even if you cover it with a seat cover or toilet paper, first get some TP (enough not to have to touch anything, ewww), apply two or three drops of lavenderto it and wipe the seat. Now cover the seat with the paper. The paper is not particularly effective but the lavender is.
Lavender is useful also for wiping your hands if you cannot otherwise wash them or even if you did but you need even more assurance of having zapped germs. Simple soap handles germs adequately. But maybe the soap bar is in an icky, germy setting. Do NOT use antibacterial soap. It is dangerous! Since lavender is one of only two essential oils safe to apply directly to the skin (the other is tea tree oil, melaleuca alternifolia), you can get some lavender from your little bottle and rub a drop or two all over your hands, around your nails, etc.
And guess what? It's excellent for beautifying your skin, too! If someone doesn't know which DreamSoap™ to get, my first suggestion is lavender and it is the variety we put into skincare Intro Kits. That's because it helps every skin type and situation. Say midday, you've been in air conditioning or out getting sweaty or whatever, and you feel your skin either dry, oily, dirty, as the case may be. The solution that makes for the most complexion improvement is to use my Skin Perfection Mist™. Keep that in your purse (get the one-oz. bottle, keep the bottle and sprayer when done,wash 'em out and fill from your larger bottle to take in your purse). But let's say you're camping or traveling and don't have the mist near. Take a cloth, get it wet with pure water (do not expose your gorgeous mug to chlorine) and a wee bit of lavender, one drop should be enough, and wipe over your face. Very good for a skin pick-me-up. Breathe in the oil, too.
Lavender wards off mosquitos and other pests. There are even more potent bug-repellant mixtures you can make with essential oils but you're traveling light and lavender will do the trick. Take some onto your fingertips and wipe over ankles, behind knees, wherever you find mosquitos bite you. They will not. I have put this to the test. Under our house (which is up on stilts) is the laundry room. Moths love to visit as do mosquitos, spiders...we've entertained there some of the natural world's most illustrious luminaries. :-D If I don't apply lavender during mosquito season, a trip to the laundry room will leave me badly bitten. If I want to wade through the tall grass in my backyard (I know, I know, we need to cut it more often!), I apply lavender to my feet and legs. I never get bitten when I use lavender. Just don't splop it all over you...it can be a bit much for the body to deal with a lot of it. It's skin-safe but in small quantities and fact is, you don't need a lot. EO's are strong.
Lavender is antiseptic. Apply it directly to an ingrown toenail, a hangnail or paper cut, etc. Apply lavender to your skin for basically anything: burns, cuts, bruises, just about anything I can think of. Now, the products I created use lavender but include the other ingredients that assure even more effectiveness. So I don't want to dissuade you from getting these as I know you'll be blown away far more than using lavender by itself. Go to http://www.evansgarden.com/herbal-remedies.php and read testimonials for these products. We rely on these ourselves and I am downright proud of them! But isn't it comforting to know that you have some degree of help with plain ole lavender around?
What versatility! I gave a friend some help with her child who was tormented with severely itchy chicken pox. It was a tiny bit of lavender and German chamomile EO's added to calamine lotion....immediately effective and the next day, her pox were gone.
You can apply small amounts, as I said, to the skin, but avoid mucous membranes, eyes, ears, etc. You can put a few drops in a bath, diffuse the EO, put drops on a cotton ball or hankie, mix with a carrier oil for massage (about 5 drops to a teaspoon carrier oil — again, less for kids and the very elderly, far less for babies) and so on
Lavender is also helpful for heart problems! I am not a doctor. If you have this or any other body problem or suspect so, see a doctor, a naturally oriented one. Just know that the literature has lavender as having been beneficial for the heart: palpitations, circulation problems,;high blood pressure and other cardiac problems.
If your digestion needs some help, say, you have gas, nausea, diarrhea, constipation, or the like, lavender can help. Again, I tell you this for information to think with, not as a doctor. This is especially useful for children and the elderly, for lavender, while effective, takes a gentle approach.
Since lavender purifies the air, bring some along if going to the hospital. Also, I once created an EO diffuser blend as a gift for a & friend to help her through delivery. Its key ingredient was lavender. Lavender is reputed to make quite a difference in the speed, calm and relative comfort of delivery and would tend to be calming not only to the mom but to the staff and... to the baby! Slight amounts in a diffuser.
Also, for womanly discomforts, lavender has been found to help with PMS and menopause.
Lavender in its kindness is analgesic. It can help with pain even to breathe it. Sore muscles, leg cramps, inflammation, arthritis, strains, sprains, lavender can help. The best of all for this is (truthful but unabashed bragging here) the wonderful goop I created called ;All Better, Honey™. Read its testimonials (and there are lots more not up there yet). But lavender all on its motherly own does magic.
I feel like the "ginsu knives" guy! Wait, there's more! :o) Lavender stimulates the immune system. It can help protect or heal infections, viruses, bacteria, colds, sore throats, lung ailments...even asthma, and so on. You can boil some water, put it in a bowl, drop some lavender EO into the bowl (don't overdo how much, as even the loveliest EO can smell revolting when too strong for the individual at that time...it can vary, so check) and leave that in the room, somewhere safely out of reach. Of course, other EO's like eucalyptus, thyme, oregano, etc., can help vastly, too.
The reason I rely so often on lavender is that it is so versatile! If something else is going on unbeknownst to me, along with the known situation, lavender is likely to help that, too. Plus, it is so calming, reassuring and balancing.
The last thing to tell you about this plant I love so is that it is one of the few that can be used even around newborn babies. Just one word about that: a baby is very sensitive to smell so vastly reduced amounts are sufficient. Ask me for details if you want and I'll be happy to share the data.
I hope this helps widen your understanding and appreciation of lavender. Let me know, OK? and tell me your special uses and ideas!
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Disclaimer: I, Evan, am not a licensed practitioner and am not diagnosing, treating, prescribing or claiming specific knowledge in regards to any ailment or potential health situation of anyone.The above is indeed presented only as pure information not as medical advice. It is entirely up to the reader to pursue his own verification and to consult with a licensed natural health practitioner as he wishes, for we are each responsible for our own health. It is wise to learnabout time-proven herbal data as well as to use the resources and benefit from the experience and help of licensed natural health practitioners. Further, we at Organic Beauty, Inc. and Evan's Garden™ make no structural or functional or therapeutic claims of any kind whatsoever for any of our products, including the ones mentioned here. Readers are invited to try our products risk-free and to see for themselves what if any benefits they may experience. Results given in testimonials are from actual customers who have used our products but are not claimed as typical. Your own experience(s) may vary from those mentioned in the testimonials. If you have a medical condition, allergies or any health situation that might impact your safe use of any cosmetic product or ingredient, natural or synthetic, consult with your licensed physician before using our (or any) cosmetic product. Every effort is made to offer high-quality, safe and effective products for the consumer.
© 2008 by Evan S. Johnson. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.