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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My Health Journey

Strawberry PickingI’ve been battling intense allergies for the past two weeks, so I’m sorry it’s been so long since my last post.  I have to admit that I became a bit discouraged, starting to believe that this new healthy lifestyle wasn’t helping at all.  But I realized that I need to reflect a little and remember how far I really have come with my health. Since I haven’t shared my story with you yet, I thought this would be the perfect time…

For as long as I can remember, I have been sick or in pain most of the time.  While it’s never been anything super serious, I’ve definitely had a few debilitating days.  For the most part, it’s simply just kept me from enjoying life to the fullest.  Throughout my childhood, I got sick pretty often, mainly suffering from respiratory illnesses, and I’ve always had nearly constant back pain.  I moved to Austin at age 6 and developed allergies and asthma, often developing into a sinus infection, pneumonia, bronchitis, you name it, and then of course, taking lots of medicine. I always complained of back pain as a kid and my parents did everything they could to discover the cause: taking me to multiple doctors & specialists, having MRIs & xrays and doing physical therapy.  No one could figure it out. When I reached middle & high school, participation in sports only made it worse, and I started to have shoulder pain as well.  Doctors prescribed muscle relaxers, Advil or physical therapy to manage the pain.  Then, with the onset of puberty came acne (and other hormonal problems).  My dermatologist prescribed an antibiotic for the acne, which I proceeded to take for only the next 8 years.

In college, everything got even worse.  I was sick with bronchitis for the entire second semester of my Freshman year.  Then, winter of Sophomore year brought even more illness.  It started with my typical holiday seasonal allergies, developing into an apparent sinus infection compounded with bronchitis.  Over the course of a month and a half, I was prescribed 6 courses of antibiotics and 3 steroid packs.  Since I had a fever every day, the doctors also suggested Advil every 4-6 hours… for a whole month.  My back pain became so intense that one doctor even said I “probably” had ovarian cancer… I didn’t.  I saw 10 different doctors, trying to figure out what was actually wrong.  No one could diagnose me.  By March, my stomach became so inflamed from all those medications that I couldn’t keep any food down or sleep.  It eventually culminated in a trip to the ER and a week-long stay in the hospital for gastritis.

I was furious, depressed and hopeless…  I still didn’t have any answers and doctors were making me worse, not better.  This was my turning point.  As a last straw, I made an appointment to visit an “alternative doctor,” who immediately put me on probiotics to rebuild my immune system and my gut.  She gave me some vitamins and changed my diet from the bland, carb-heavy “sick diet” to lots of protein and vegetables.  Within a week, I was a different person, and continued to get better and better.  That experience made me realize that there had to be something to this alternative, holistic medicine thing.

Since that time, I’ve been healthier – staying away from fast food, eating more veggies and taking vitamins.  But, I still felt like my immune system just wasn’t performing up to par… it takes me awhile to get over being sick, I’ve suffered from hormonal issues (girls, you know) and I struggled with back pain daily.   After watching a couple of great documentaries and reading some surprising health articles, I realized that even this was not normal and that I didn’t have to live this way.  Providing even more motivation, after getting married a year ago, I inevitably began to think about my future children.  I certainly didn’t want my kids to be sick all the time, and, I was frightened by the epidemics of food allergies and autism in kids today, not to even mention the possible (again, epidemic) fertility problems I could face trying to get pregnant someday.  If you know me, you know I don’t accept “well, that’s just how things are” very easily.  I was going to find answers.

Now, I read books, watch lots of documentaries, and keep up with new research and articles.  I learn something new every day that I can put into practice immediately.  Now, my healing comes from food that I can buy from a local farmer, not from medication – it’s much more delicious and there’s no long list of terrible side effects! I know that it may take my body a while to recover from all the toxins I put in it for so many years, but I have complete confidence that it will rebuild itself.  God designed our bodies to heal themselves given the right nutrients. I’ve already seen a huge difference – pain and sickness are now in the minority in my life and I’m feeling better every day.  Plus, I’m giving my future children a real chance to be healthy, and that will be the most rewarding result of all.