Lavender oil has been used since ancient times , its fresh fragrance makes it preferred both to enter the world of aromatherapy and for cosmetic use in perfumery.
It is a natural painkiller par excellence, in turn you can take advantage of its properties on the skin by placing a few drops in the hands, rubbing it and massaging it.
Options for using lavender essence in very simple and accessible recipes or home treatments will be described below.
Its use will depend on each person since it has multiple properties, so its dosage and uses will be determined individually for best results.
Lavender oil can be extracted at home but it is a tedious process because of the minimum that it is obtained, due to this it must be mixed with a base oil to perform the extraction.
Is lavender oil safe?
In general, the essence of lavender is one of the safest in its therapeutic use , so it is of choice when it comes to experiencing a holistic lifestyle in communion with nature and life. However, as it is an essence, proper care must be taken as a general rule. But still its use is safe.
Lavender essence can be applied directly to the skin, since despite its high concentration it is not irritating and therefore its level of toxicity or damage is low. It is recommended that in large areas of skin such as massages throughout the body, use a base oil of natural origin for dilution and application.
The use of any essence deserves to be sensitized , so it is advisable to test the essence on a small area of the skin and check that you are not allergic to it in order to have complete peace of mind and confidence in its use.
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How to make lavender oil?
The main extraction methods for essences is steam distillation , but there is also expression and maceration, solvent extraction, among others.
What is the steam distillation process?
The Steam distillation process is the placement of large amounts of plant material in a large container of water, which must be brought to a boil to produce steam from which the essence or oil will be extracted.
This extraction of the oil from the steam emitted by boiling is carried out through a cooler where it condenses, then when the resulting content is collected, the oil and water are separated, which must be separated.
Not all essential oils are obtained through this process , but lavender oil or essence is extracted through steam distillation.
The expression method
The expression method refers to the mechanical action that occurs when squeezing a plant material to obtain its essence . It is used in cases such as orange, lemon, tangerine, lime. The essences contained within the plant materials are squeezed out and collected for use after going through the filtering process.
What is maceration?
Maceration does not produce pure essences, since vegetable oils must be used for their extraction. They are called carrier oils, that is, they transport the other essences for use.
In this method, quantities of plant materials must be collected and chopped, which are placed in a container that must contain another oil such as olive or sunflower. Mazeration consists of letting the mixture rest for a certain time, between which it must be stirred and mixed every few days.
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After the time has elapsed, the vegetable content is eliminated and the resulting oil is filtered to eliminate any particles from the plant. After carrying out this process, the resulting oil contains the properties of the essence of the chosen plant. So you can take advantage of its properties and benefits.
An example of this type of oils made with the maceration process is the one used in the kitchen when, for example, basil leaves are placed in olive oil, obtaining the smell of basil with the maceration.
Solvent Extraction Methods Explained
Very delicate plants cannot be extracted by steam distillation or by mechanical extraction.
So there is the solvent method , which is done by placing quantities of flowers or plants in a container from which the essence is to be extracted. This container must rotate and must also contain a solvent, which at the time of movement allows the solvent to mix with the plant, which allows the release of the essence, color and wax of the chosen plant.
The solvent in this case evaporates leaving a substance called concrete , which contains the essence, pigment and fragrance of the plant.
The process that follows is to filter with alcohol to separate the wax from the oils , so the alcohol must be distilled, resulting in absolute alcohol. So it is not uncommon to find “Absolute” on essences bottles that use this chemical extraction method.
The essence resulting from this process is not entirely pure due to the use of chemical solvents for its extraction. The absolute indicates that it is a highly concentrated fragrance and is much more than that achieved with any other extraction method.
The plants from which the essence can be obtained through this method are those of roses and jasmine, among others.
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How to extract homemade lavender oil?
To extract homemade lavender oil, the dried flowers or branches of lavender must be acquired, the lavender stems are cleaned and cut approximately 15 cm or more. The use of dry branches with thick stems such as wood should be avoided. The use of fine branches is preferable to take advantage of its fragrance.
Sufficient lavender should be used, even more than is convenient, to be able to extract a small amount. It’s the downside of the process, but lavender’s endless properties are worth taking advantage of.
If the lavender twigs are the product of their own harvest, they should be put to dry, the twigs are prepared by making bunches joined by elastic rubber or cord and they are placed to dry preferably where sunlight reaches it in an indirect way since if it is placed directly in the sun could affect its properties.
This drying process is important since it must be foreseen that the plant wilts but not that it becomes crunchy to avoid damage in the drying as in the manufacture of its essence.
In a homemade way, it must first be placed in a jar with oil, crush the flowers and crumble them with your hands and produce with this process that their fragrance is released, then place them in a jar where oil will be placed to cover the flowers.
It is recommended to use almond, olive or safflower oil, or any oil preferably that does not contain aroma that can interfere with the final result of the oil.
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At least 1.25 to 2.5 cm of space should be left at the top of the oil-free jar for it to expand smoothly.
After covering the bottle, it must be macerated, it must be placed in a place where sunlight can reach, and stir from time to time and evaluate the aroma that you want to obtain with the mixture. When you don’t want a strong aroma, only 48 hours of maceration are enough to perceive its faint aroma.
If there is not enough time or sun to carry out this process, the mixture of oil and lavender should be heated in a water bath in a slow cooker, in a period of time of 2 to 4 hours. Trying to maintain a constant temperature of 38 to 49 degrees Celsius.
This temperature is important so you must have a kitchen thermometer to control the temperature correctly. Too much heat could affect its aroma, as well as the shelf life of the oil.
After macerating or going through the heating process in a water bath, it must be filtered through a fine cloth, to be able to separate the flowers and branches from the resulting oil.
If necessary, it can be filtered again, a process that can create a stronger mash, it can be repeated up to 8 times.
To this essence you can add drops of vitamins , which increases the useful life of the oil. It should be stored in a cool, dark place (preferably a dark jar) for a longer shelf life.
Recommendations for making and using lavender oil
Lavender oils as already mentioned can be obtained with various techniques , among which they can result in pure essential oils or affect the properties of the final product. It is a delicate process with a high degree of work and difficulty.
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The mechanisms or methods that should be used for the home extraction of lavender oil are diverse, so you must have the precise knowledge of them to be able to choose which one is best suited to the conditions and material you have.
Homemade lavender essence extraction processes generally do not result in pure essences due to the use of base oils for their extraction.
If you choose to carry out the home extraction of lavender oil, you must prepare the containers that will be used for this purpose. A homemade alembic will be made. Therefore, a deep container with a lid, a strainer, and a small container should be provided.
When you have the utensils, choose the medicinal plant and place it in the large container with water. The strainer is placed on top and on top of it the smaller jar. The inverted lid is then placed on the first container.
Place the container over low heat until it boils. It is at this time when evaporation occurs that the evaporated water hits the lid and the steam will fall into the small container. One way to prevent steam from escaping and losing is by placing ice on the lid, each time it melts more ice is placed. Continue like this until the process is finished.
At the end of the process, the fire is extinguished. In the small container, the hydrolate should be evidenced as a result of the process carried out.
The hydrolate must be separated from the essential oil, for this you must use a decanter. To obtain a milliliter of essence, a minimum of 100 grams of the plant is needed.
If you do not have a decanter and you want to preserve the hydrolate, it should be placed in a dark container to protect it from light and allow the conservation of its properties.
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Among the modes of use and properties of lavender we can mention the most important that can easily be done at home, such as:
The effect par excellence of lavender is to produce relaxation, and it is an effect that it produces both at the muscular level and at the level of the central nervous system. Its relaxing effect on the musculoskeletal system is obtained with the use of a few drops of lavender essence on the area where relaxation is needed, perform gentle massages until the skin absorbs the essence and the results will be seen and felt in a surprising way In turn, the lavender fragrance will provide a state of relaxation and sedation that will lead to a good rest.
Avoid swelling and pain from insect bites
Lavender, in addition to being an excellent insect repellent, is in turn an anti – inflammatory of bites and a powerful natural antiseptic, so it can be used for its properties in bites and swelling and in turn protects the skin as a repellent.
The essence of lavender is essential to have a healthy and hydrated skin , its action and properties on the skin are infinite, returning the softness and hydration lost by the environmental factors to which it is subjected daily. Its application is simple, you just have to place a few drops of essence in the area where you want to have the effect or improvement, perform some massages until the skin absorbs it and that’s it, with constant application the skin will recover naturally your hydration.
The use of lavender as a skin regenerator is unique, it can be applied to chapped lips as a result of large exposures to cold, just by applying a few drops of lavender oil on them, restoring their softness and natural shine and in turn protecting them from cold.
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Repel moths and other insects
Lavender has been used since ancient times in bags inside closets, a practice that will produce a fresh fragrance to clothing, preventing moths and insects from damaging it due to its repellent action, it is an age-old custom and the benefits obtained are unmatched compared to any chemical product that is on the market.
Lavender is an excellent skin protector. Regenerate tissue damaged by sun exposure, almost instantly improving sunstrokes, it should only be applied to the skin and gently massaged in the area where the burn is located, it will produce a deep rehydration of the skin, improving its appearance from the inside out. outside.
Side Effects of Lavender Oil
The secondary reactions of lavender oil are the same that any other oil can produce in people who are sensitive to them or due to a bad application.
Lavender oil is one of the safest essences to use , since despite its high concentrations because it is an essence, it can be applied directly to the skin without causing irritability problems. However, it is recommended that if large areas of skin are to be treated as in the case of massages throughout the body, use a vehicle oil to dilute the essence and also take advantage of the properties of the vegetable oil that is chosen since together the essence of lavender enhances its action.
Side effects include headache, vomiting, chills, among other ailments such as dizziness or marked drowsiness.
In pregnant women, the use of any kind of essences is not recommended due to their high degree of concentration, which is why it should be avoided, since they can cause teratogenic effects to the fetus or marked muscular hypotonia in the uterus leading to an abortion.
It should not be mixed with drugs such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines and coral hydrate, as they enhance their effect and cause marked drowsiness and induce coma.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.