Hidden beneath the pleasing scent of lavender is a fierce natural medicine and formidable protector. Used since antiquity, lavender was a significant guardian against some of the most deadly infectious diseases of all time – the great epidemics of plague sweeping across Europe throughout the Middle Ages and into the 17th century.
The protective aspects of the plant were discovered when tannery workers who utilized the oil in manufacturing, and those who tended lavender fields, appeared to be immune to the disease. Unbeknownst at the time, lavender is an exceptional bactericide and also stimulates the production of white blood cells, thereby creating a robust defense against harmful invading pathogens.
Fight Off Infectious Disease Using Lavender
Today, with the threat of H1N1 influenza and antibiotic-resistant superbugs, foregoing hazardous vaccinations and heading toward the lavender aisle instead is a wise choice. Here are six methods for using the oil which can keep you healthy during the flu season and beyond.
Hand sanitizer – This offers convenient and portable protection. In a small, leak-proof bottle, combine 1 tablespoon aloe vera gel, 3 tablespoons grain alcohol and 10 drops lavender essential oil. Shake thoroughly and use liberally throughout the day.
Direct application – A therapeutic grade lavender oil can be your best friend this autumn and winter. By placing a few drops of the essential oil on the skin several times per day, the immune system is primed and ready to tackle cold bugs and flu viruses.
Antiseptic soap – Wash your hands frequently and enjoy one of the best practices for deterring illness. Even better, use a natural germicidal soap. In a mixing bottle, add 20 drops of lavender essential oil per 8 ounces neutral liquid soap (such as castile). Shake vigorously to combine. Transfer to a hand soap dispenser and use often.
Disinfectant – Utilizing lavender essential oil as a disinfectant spray will help keep your environment free of breeding pathogens. Add 40 drops of the oil to a medium spray bottle and fill with 2 cups water. Shake well before each use and generously spray countertops, toilet seats, handles and knobs along with the telephone and any other high traffic surfaces.
Air sanitation – This is a simple practice which minimizes infectious disease at home or in the office. Place several drops of lavender essential oil in a pot of simmering water or use a nebulizer. Diffuse for 30 minutes. With this method, the air is naturally disinfected and the immune system enhanced.
Additionally, the following is an adaptation of a blend said to have been used by grave robbers during the Black Death in the mid-14th century. It provides significant antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-infectious properties. According to Mountain Rose Herbs, the oil will stimulate the immune, circulatory and respiratory systems and offers a powerful defense against sore throats, influenza, colds, pneumonia and bronchitis.
Combine the following in a dark glass bottle:
- 45 drops clove essential oil
- 35 drops lemon essential oil
- 25 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops cinnamon essential oil
- 15 drops lavender essential oil
- 10 drops rosemary essential oil
For ultimate potency and safety, use only organic essential oils. The blend must be diluted before application – six to eight drops per ounce of carrier oil, such as almond, apricot kernel, olive or jojoba. The diluted oil can be massaged into the feet and sore muscles or dabbed onto the skin several times per day for immune support and illness prevention.