A native of the Mediterranean, Lavender has been used for centuries as a disinfectant and deodorant. Its use has been recorded in Ancient Egypt in perfumes and incense, and in medieval times it was sprinkled around castles to freshen the air.
These days lavender is used by aromatherapists in a number of different blends. It's sweet subtle blend of aromas is both relaxing and uplifting.
Although lavender is now grown in Tasmania, Spain, Italy, England and China, the finest lavender essential oil in the world is reputed to come from the Grasse region of southern France.
The oil itself is around 40% linalyl acetate and 30% linalol. Linalol is a form of terpene alcohol that is non-toxic to humans, naturally germicidal. The linalyl acetate provides the pleasant, sweet aroma.
The combination of antimicrobial properties and sweet aroma help to make this essential oil so popular and effective in both cosmetics and aromatherapy.
It is very adaptable, with aromatherapists finding a variety of uses for it. It can be mixed with a sedative floral blend to make it more refreshing and uplifting, but if it is added to an invigorating, herbaceous blend it will tone it down, making it more soothing.