Lavender ~ derived from the Latin word lavare meaning “to wash”.
Lavender is a perennial herb indigenous to the Mediterranean and is part of the mint family. It has been used for centuries to provide support in curing headaches/migraines, insomnia, anxiety, burns, insect bites, acne and allergies. Lavender is widely known for its bluish-purple color but can be found in other colors including blue, purple, white, pink, and yellow.
Lavender has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties making it useful in both complementary therapies as well as western medicine. Lavender was used in hospitals during World War I with the oil on bandages as well as soldiers being given pouches of lavender seed to put into wounds on the battlefield to prevent infection and promote healing. As much as the essential oil from lavender showed effectiveness on wounds, it is said that lavender honey (honey made from bees that feed on the lavender plant) has the best effect on uninfected wounds. Caregivers also use lavender in patient rooms as it has calming properties to help alleviate anxiety and stress. Many commercial products are now on local shelves that include lavender scents, such as pillows, stuffed animals, air diffusers, and even socks.
You will find lavender used for landscaping (although considered a weed in parts of Spain), as a culinary herb, and as an essential oil.
In 2012, a study was submitted and published in 2013 regarding lavender and the nervous system. The following are just 2 pieces of information from this study
There is growing evidence suggesting that lavender oil may be an effective medicament in treatment of several neurological disorders.
It has been shown that foot massage using lavender essential oil in 100 ICU patients of whom 50% were receiving artificial ventilation was effective in lowering blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, wakefulness, and pain.
This study shows that lavender is an important for many areas of healthcare.
I want to share this information so that therapists can begin to study the effects of lavender as well as other essential oils that can be a part of their practices.
As a reflexologist who works with people suffering from anxiety, stress, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, I find the use of lavender to be an effective and promising means of use with clients. Of all the essential oils, lavender is currently at the top of my list.
Therapists should also take care when buying lavender as there are currently no regulations in Canada to prove the strength and pureness of essential oils. Try and purchase Lavender oil that is pure and free of any additives. Lavender oil that is extracted through the steaming distillation is best.
Lavender is an important tool that every complementary therapist should learn about and have in their arsenal. However, I do encourage professional continuing education training of some sort in essential oils or becoming an aromatherapist in order to have the best possible knowledge for your clients. Using essential oils should not be taken lightly and used blindly. Careful thought should be done prior to considering the use of essential oils. They are powerful and beneficial but their power can also be dangerous. In reflexology, lavender oil should not be used in pure form but should be mixed with a carrier oil. It should also be noted that woman who are pregnant or breast feeding should avoid lavender as the effects on pregnancy have not been studied and are unknown at this time.
 Peir Hossein Koulivand, Maryam Khaleghi Ghadiri, and Ali Gorji, ?Lavender and the Nervous System,? Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 681304, 10 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/681304