Certain fragrances have a way of transporting us to a different place 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.
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. The use of the lavender shrub for healing purposes also dates far back in history. 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.
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.
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 20th, 2019 botanicgardens.org
2nd Annual Lavender Festival Indigo Blooms Botanicals and Lavender Farm, Elizabeth, Colorado- July 6th, 2019 indigobloomsbotanicals.com
Busy Bee Lavender Farm, Fort Collins, Colorado
Sage Creations Organic Farm, Palisade, Colorado
Belli Fiori Lavender Farm, Grand Junction, Colorado
Best wishes for a beautiful summer!
Kirsten Antony is a Registered Nurse and holistic health practitioner.
Kirsten is certified in many healing modalities and offers her services in the Denver Metro area at a variety of facilities as well as making house calls. For more information please visit www.kirstenantony.com or call 303-668-8992. Visit us on Facebook for promotions and integrative health information.