Lavender Essential Oil

LavenderOne of the first essential oils I ever got was Lavender.  Besides being one of my favorite scents, it’s been my go-to in many different ways for a few years now.  It’s known to be the most versatile of all essential oils with many healing and restorative properties.  Lavender oil is extremely concentrated; it takes 27 square feet of lavender plants to make one 15ml bottle.  And it’s fairly inexpensive at $30 retail for a bottle of around 240 drops – plus, it’s easy to make one drop go really far and still be effective.

Each night, I use a mixture of coconut oil and lavender as my face moisturizer.  I keep a glass cosmetic container of it in my makeup drawer all ready to go.  One jar will easily last me a couple of months as a little goes a very long way.  I simply warm coconut oil to bring it to a liquid state and then add a few drops of lavender oil – I use about a 1 Tablespoon coconut oil to 1 drop lavender ratio.  Once you put it in the jar, it will harden back up (this also helps it from going rancid) and the warmth of your skin will re-liquefy it as you apply.

Since I implemented this moisturizer into my routine, I have noticed my complexion improve a great deal. Lavender’s many properties make it really effective towards any type of skin irritations, so I have found that it both helps prevent acne (by fighting the bacteria that causes blemishes) and helps promote healing.  There’s been many a morning that I woke up to discover my face blemish-free after not being so the night before.  It is also extremely moisturizing and is quite helpful at relieving dry skin.

The other great benefit to applying lavender to my face each night is that it promotes sleep.  It calms and relaxes – diffusing it by my bed also helps me fall asleep quickly on those nights that my mind can’t seem to settle down and give into the tiredness of my body.  The calming effect is also helpful with reducing anxiety or stress after work and has helped relieve headaches that I’ve had caused by that tension.

Lavender is also a staple in my medicine cabinet.  I keep it handy for minor cuts and burns as it promotes healing and provides relief.  There is simply nothing more soothing than applying coconut oil + aloe + lavender to a sunburn. And it is fantastic for those annoying, little paper cuts… with all the use our hands get, I always find those take so long to heal, but with lavender, I often find they close up in just a few hours!  It’s also helpful at relieving the pain and inflammation for a bug bite or sting or can altogether help prevent – apply lavender to your exposed skin to repel mosquitoes.

Most recently, I discovered how much lavender could help act as an anti-histamine during allergy season.  Usually cedar season really gets me down, but it was so much more manageable this time.  I was applying and diffusing lavender constantly to reduce my inflammatory response.  Lavender is also really effective with respiratory issues; when I had a sinus infection over Christmas, I noticed how much it helped with my congestion. The stimulating nature of the oil makes it help loosen things up in the respiratory system.

One last note to leave you with is from a bit of personal experience – after great success with my first bottle of lavender, I went to go buy more at the grocery store.  Started using it again and much to my surprise, it didn’t work at all anymore. I was baffled.  A couple years later, I began researching more about essential oils and realized that not all essential oils are made equally.  Many (usually cheap ones at the grocery store, unfortunately) are not pure and/or have fragrances added, so they will not be beneficial beyond just smelling good.  After a lot of research, I’ve decided to purchase my oils from only a couple of brands, one being Young Living.  Learn more about essential oils and how to purchase here.

Have you used lavender before? What has it helped you with? I love hearing personal success stories!

Note: The above testimony is purely from personal experience.  I am not a doctor and none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA.

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7 Ways to Control Your Allergies Naturally

There’s nothing better than waking up, checking the forecast & seeing this:

Weather Forecast

But then, I check the other forecast.  The one that tells me if I can actually go outside and enjoy the beautiful weather…

Allergy Forecase

This time of year is awful for my allergies.  The cedar gets me the worst… can anyone else relate?

I used to reach for allergy medicine or anti-histamines to get me through, but after many years rotating through, they eventually stopped working. And I don’t know about you, but anti-histamines make me feel sleepy and sluggish so it’s hard to get up and go to work.  Plus, the purpose of those is to dry you up, so they are dehydrating.  In search for something that would help provide some relief, I’ve discovered a few ways that have really helped me control my allergies:

Allergy Relief

1. Use a nasal rinse.  This will clear your sinuses of allergens & bacteria.  Plus, it moisturizes your system, thinning the mucous to keep it moving through the system and reducing post-nasal drip. The saline mixture added to warm, distilled water works wonders for clearing my nasal passages and keeping me from getting too stuffy. I use this kind – you can find it at nearly any drugstore.

EO Allergy Blend2. Essential oils have worked miracles for me with my allergies.  In particular, I use a combination of Lemon, Lavender & Peppermint (aka the LLP bomb). I put them in my diffuser, put 3 drops of each in a capsule to swallow or put them in a spoonful of local, raw honey.  There are also a few other oils that can be super helpful with symptoms of congestion – RC & Breathe Again – or sinus headache – Copaiba.  Read more about how essential oils can improve your health here.

3.  Nothing relieves my itchy eyes better than Can-C Carnosine Eye Drops.  It is the best eye drop out there; even though it’s not specifically for allergies, it is a great moisturizer and completely safe. On a side note, I’ve read stories that it has even helped people improve their vision or cataracts.

4. I recently discovered a homeopathic tincture called Allergena.  They have blends for specific regions (Texas is Zone 5), or for allergies to pets, mold, dust, and several others. You put a few drops under your tongue every 10 minutes as long as you feel symptomatic until you don’t.  It works super fast to provide relief for sneezing, runny nose & itchy eyes.

5. A couple of times a day, I take Natural D-Hist. My doctor recommended it originally for my stress hives last year, but it also helps with seasonal allergies.  The blend of healthy ingredients helps relieve irritation from increased histamine response.  Although it doesn’t provide fast relief, I have seen a lot of benefit by taking it consistently every day.

6. While it’s not realistic to always stay inside, it helps to keep your indoors an allergy-free environment to give your system some reprieve.  Take a shower each night and wash your hair to get the pollen out. Put your clothes in a hamper when you get home for the day. Leave your shoes at the door. Wash your sheets and vacuum often. Close your doors and windows. Run an air purifier to remove those particles from the air – this is the one I use.

7. Eating a healthy diet is a crucial way to reduce inflammation & mucous production.  Organic fruits and vegetables will help provide vitamins and antioxidants.  Avoiding dairy and sugar will help lower your body’s inflammatory response and keep your immune system functioning properly.  Staying hydrated is also important; water helps control levels of histamines in the body.

Do you have any other ways that help you control your allergies naturally?  Thinking about trying any of these out? I would love to hear feedback on how these work for you!