Date: Fri, 17 May 1996 10:05:41 EDT
From: Craige Roberts <croberts.MAGNUS.ACS.OHIO-STATE.EDU>
Subject: Burns, lavender oil
Lavender oil is one of the very few essential oils which can be safely used neat (Tea Tree is another) (these days neat use of both is discouraged - Henriette, May03). Most are far too strong to be used this way, and should be diluted in a carrier oil (usually a food quality oil like olive, almond, avocado, etc.). If in doubt, place one small drop of the oil on the skin of the forearm, in the crook of the elbow, and watch for any redness or itching. If none after 20 minutes or so, you shouldn't have a problem. I've never heard of adverse reactions to lavender oil.
The famous story about the scientist dipping his burned hand in lavender oil is about the pioneer of contemporary French aromatherapy, Gattefosse. Jeanne Rose's The Aromatherapy Book contains the following from his 1937 book Aromatherapie:
". . .In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, my hands were covered with a rapidly changing gas gangrene. Just one rinse with Lavender oil stopped the gasification of the tissues. This treatment was followed by profuse sweating and healing began the next day. (July 1910). . ."
Susanne Fischer-Rizzi reports a slightly different story in her book Complete Aromatherapy Handbook (I don't have Gattefosse myself, so can't check to see if these are different incidents, or what):
". . .during a laboratory experiment, he seriously burned his hand. Immediately he immersed the hand into a bowl of liquid sitting on a table near him. The liquid was lavender oil. The pain quickly went away nd the wound healed in a short time without scarring -- easy demonstration that lavender oil is good first aid for burns. In aromatherapy it is suggested that the oil be applied undiluted and treatment repeated several times a day. Lavender oil mixed with St.-John's wort leaf or aloe vera oil also very effectly treats sunburns."
Michael Moore, in Medicinal Plants of the Pacific West, and Howie Brounstein, in the MedHerb FAQ, both mention St. John's wort for burns (Moore: "moderate burns"). However, be aware that some folks (it's controversial) think St. John's wort oil may be photosensitizing, i.e. make one more prone to burn when exposed to sunlight. I haven't used St. John's wort oil for burns, myself, so can't report.
From: Robert Seidel <RSYES.AOL.COM>
Oil of Peppermint can also be used in an emergency for burns. It can be applied neat. The menthol within helps reduce pain and inflammation. This is first aid only.
From: Melissa Weaver <Lalalawyr.AOL.COM>
>Lavendar oil - it's one of my favorite essential oils.
>What do you use it for. I find the aroma so strong that we cant use it for much.
In addition to the aforementioned use of lavendar oil for burns, it is usually considered very calming (although Robert Tisserand's book on Aromatherapy says it is actually balancing, with both sedative and tonic effects, which acts to "neutralize" moods).
I have a friend who keeps a little bag of lavendar in her car to sniff when the traffic gets to her, when she is running late and a bit jangled, etc. She "recharges" the lavendar buds with lavendar oil from time to time. And it's good at bedtime, either in a diffuser or in a pre-bed bath or on a tissue by or under your pillow. Also good in a massage oil (it's one of the main essential oils in a commercial kids' massage oil I often use on my daughter at bedtime).
Tisserand notes that lavendar oil is also good in skin care, as it helps heal a large variety of skin problems, such as eczema and acne. He also lists quite a number of other things it can be used for, but these are the main common uses (skin problems and calming effect).
Perhaps in a combination oil, or diluted in a carrier oil, you might tolerate the scent a little better, but scent likes and dislikes are obviously one of those things which are highly individual. It's certainly not the only essential oil that can help these areas, so if you don't like it, you can just find another that you do. In other words, it's an essential oil - but not THAT essential ;-)