Balance is the key word to keep in mind when you’re working with Lavender essential oil. Lavender’s actions are complex, sometimes seemingly stimulating while at others calming, at times encouraging circulation and thus warming, while simultaneously seeming to cool. At first glance, lavender is a paradox amidst the world of essential oils.
From an Ayurvedic perspective, lavender is associated with the Heart chakra. As an agent that supports heart-centered energies, lavender helps provide balance to the entire system. It brings balance to the doshas, offering a mild decreasing effect on Kapha while balancing Pitta and Vatta. Therefore, it’s indicated for all constitution types as a balancing agent. From an energetic perspective, lavender works by helping one to integrate and make use of all experiences through the heart center.
As a balancer of the emotions, lavender is often included in blends to ease anxiety and agitation, such as with run-away thoughts and fears. It can also help ease mood swings and depression. When emotional conflict is at the core of the disharmony, lavender essential oil helps to bring a cool, level and contained approach to the resolution. As an agent of the heart (the seat of the mind in both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medicine practices), lavender aims to strengthen weak areas, cool heated conditions, and instill a sense of relaxed confidence that allows one to integrate and make good use of all experiences, including the traumatic ones.
Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners use lavender essential oil to nourish the yin, activate the Qi, and calm the Shen while potentially clearing heat. It is considered cooling to neutral and is related to the Wood and Fire elements. As a yin nourisher, lavender helps to support the heart center and calm the mind. This can mean easing states of depression, anxiety, palpitations, and incessant mind activity similar to those of adolescence, peri-menopause, PMS and menopause. Lavender is particularly called for when those states are accompanied by signs of empty heat, such as hot flashes and night sweats, insomnia or fatigue, and headaches. While those symptoms may be related to times of hormonal growth or transition, they can also be related to other conditions, such as fever and flu type, cold illnesses. In general, lavender helps release constraint, releasing the Qi and promoting harmony in the Shen. This can aid with disharmony related to the liver and help move lung Qi.
Many herbalists often include lavender essential oil in their formulas for its anti-microbial and relaxing qualities. Lavender can help ease tension that contributes to headaches and muscle pain, reduce the inflammation of arthritis and similar inflammatory conditions, and help fight off flus and similar bacterial or viral illnesses. It can also help improve circulation and strengthen the heart while easing high blood pressure and relaxing the circulatory system in general. It’s often used to help with bronchial spasms and coughing while clearing the chest and opening the bronchial pathways, thus supporting the respiratory system overall. While lavender is busy doing all that, it’s also helping to stimulate the immune system and calm the nervous system, which can be quite helpful in cases of shock and long-term illness.
I have often used lavender essential oil in formulas designed to ease intense, impassioned emotional states. Fiery individuals who can easily launch into passionate fits of one sort or another, most especially those who have tender, sensitive hearts, benefit from lavender paired with a grounding agent like cypress or cedarwood and maybe a little citrus to ease the depression to which they’re often prone, when the heat of their emotions has abated.
In times of illness, such as with flu and colds, I like to pair lavender’s anti-microbial nature with tea tree and eucalyptus, both of which are classic choices for fighting bacterial and viral infections and opening the internal pathways while protecting one’s boundaries. If illness is lingering, I like to add a few drops of orange or bergamot and possibly a grounding mover like ginger essential oil. They can help stoke the internal fires and assist lavender in strengthening the body and easing the mental and emotional drain that comes with being ill for any length of time.
Cautions: No known cautions for most folk. A few people are allergic to lavender or can develop allergies with overuse, so it is wise to test to ensure no sensitivities are present before using lavender essential oil.
- Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics. Volume 1: Principles and Profiles by Peter Holmes
- Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green
- Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: A Guide to Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance Through Essential Oils by Gabriel Mojay
- Annette Zoe Fallian, L. Ac.