Monday, April 07, 2008

I love lavender - and new study says you should, too


One of my earliest scent memories is the fresh, uplifting scent of lavender soap. I know I liberally splashed on Yardley English Lavender cologne from about age 10 or so, when I got my first bottle. Always floral, herbal and clean, it's always has made me smile. It's one of the few "unisex" scents meaning men and women use it with no thought associations that it is more relevant to the opposite sex. For example, many men may balk at wearing a rose scent, but not lavender.

I have about 20 different extracts of lavender in my perfumer's organ: organic essential oils from South Africa, England and the United States; conventioanlly farmed essential oils from all over the world; high altitude from the French Alps; absolutes and concretes from several different countries and several different species other than the most common one I'm discussing here, which is Lavandula vera aka L. angustifolia. I dilute them out to evaluate them, and I find one emotional thread running through all of them - they relax and inspire me, they make me feel ten years old again, and I love them.

I have yet to use lavender in one of my perfumes, but I do plan to in the future. The fragrance will be set like a crown jewel in a mossy, tender background.

A report out of Japan bolsters lavender's use in aromatherapy. They found that sniffing lavender may enhance antioxidant levels in the body, and also may lower the dreaded hormone cortisol's levels. No wonder I feel young when I sniff it - that's just my unscientific anecdotal opinion to bolster my belief in the study ;-)

I cannot find the study cited on the RealAge site, and if anyone can, please let me know.

Robert Tisserand cites a study here, but it's not the same study. I have found other studies on infants and monkeys, but not the study on co-eds.

Just a soft little blog on a beautiful Monday morning, a love letter to lavender, and I'm off to sniff some now, maybe make a light massage oil.

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