Lavender is an invaluable essential oil in both perfumery and aromatherapy. The therapeutic benefits of Lavender are varied and many. It is perhaps the most versatile essential oil, used for many conditions affecting the digestive, respiratory and nervous systems and in the treatment of muscular and joint pain. Last but not least, Lavender is highly esteemed for treating skin disorders as well as for use in skin care and cosmetics. It is one of the very few essential oils that can be used neat (undiluted) on the skin to treat burns, wounds and scars, etc. It is used in skin care and for keeping insects at bay as well as to ease their bites. Lavender is used in facial care, soaps, foot care, deodorants and powders for its aroma and therapeutic benefits.
Lavender originated in the Mediterranean region, and from there spread to all of Europe. In the 13th and 14th centuries it was cultivated extensively in the gardens of monasteries for both its visual appearance and medicinal properties. It is now grown for distillation in France, Spain, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria, Australia and New Zealand. Because of its antibacterial and insect repellent properties, sachets stuffed with the dried buds are used around the home to scent clothes and drawers, and Lavender waters are used to scent linens and sheets.
Lavender’s effect on the mind is incredible - it is both stimulating and calming. A little Lavender can be applied to the pillow or sprayed on the sheets to induce a restful sleep, and it is also immensely effective in relieving headaches. The stimulating effects and antiseptic properties of Lavender make it particularly suitable for scenting soaps and fragrant waters and other toiletries and hygiene products. Its reviving qualities become even more effective when paired in synergies with stimulating essences such as Rosemary, Eucalyptus or Lemon.
Aside from Lavender waters, in the perfumer’s hand Lavender holds special reverence. There is an entire genre of perfume based on the Lavender note - Fougere - which takes its characteristics from the contrast between herbaceous Lavender and the bitter-sweet notes of coumarin and Oakmoss. The solvent extraction yields a turquoise-colored Lavender Absolute with a velvety smoothness, and an ink-like dark green from the Lavender Seville Absolute, which has an herbaceous wine-like depth and raspberry-like undertones. The essential oil is used in Lavender waters, fougeres, citrus, and cologne-type formulas. The absolute is used almost exclusively in fougeres, but can also be used creatively in oriental, floral and chypre compositions.
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