Saturday, 12 October 2013

Lavender blues

I love essential oils.  I've been using them to cure all manner of ills for years. For those who don't know much about essential oils, they are not the same as a scented oil which are often synthetic. Essential oils are natural plant oils which are extracted in different ways according to the plant. For example, lavender and eucalyptus are steam distilled whereas orange can be cold pressed.  The resulting oil carries all of the healing qualities of the oil and must be used with caution because it is highly concentrated and very toxic in the wrong applications/amounts.

The one I turn to the most is lavender.  For twenty years I have used lavender for many purposes... to cure the children's ear infections, in conjunction with other oils for a chest rub, sometimes added to sandalwood and eucalyptus in a vaporiser when the kids had a virus and I often apply it to cuts and grazes. All my children and even my husband will come to me with their injuries and request lavender.
I have used neat lavender directly on burns many times. I often seem to burn myself on the oven. I am always amazed that, not only does the lavender not sting, but the burn heals incredibly fast! Lavender has properties which encourage cell regeneration.

For the last couple of years it has been my threadworm treatment as well. If anyone is showing signs, I rub a couple of drops on all the little tummies just before bed. Within a day or two, all signs are gone. I continue the treatment for seven days. Isn't that a wonderful and gentle solution! 

Needless to say, with all these incredible and varied uses, I am a HUGE fan of lavender!

So the reason for my blues?  I've been having trouble with a nasty skin condition for the last three months or so.  I've never been a sensitive person. In fact, I pride myself on my hardiness. A couple of days ago, the penny dropped on the cause of my rashes. I have become allergic to lavender!
The first rash was on my hand, second on my neck and third on my tummy.  It was the stomach rash that helped me work it out. It's such an unusual place for a rash that it wasn't hard to work out that it was from the lavender I had applied to the kids tummies the previous night. When I finished I rubbed the remains on my tummy to be on the safe side!
When the thought occurred, I looked back to realise that the rash on my hand began when I scratched myself with a rose. When it began to look nasty, I applied some lavender to ward off infection. Next thing I knew I had an angry, itchy hand for a month.  So then what did I do?  I made a hot poultice with calendula and... you guessed it!  Lavender.
As for my neck, I often apply any residue from my hands to the back of my neck because it smells good and it's reputed to be a calming oil. The neck rash was around the time of our fair food event and a speech I had to give for our environment group.  Both of these events had me feeling a bit strung out, so it's also highly likely that I deliberately applied lavender to the back of my neck in an effort to achieve calm. It was at this time that my neck rash was at it's worst. It became so bad that the doctor was thinking about doing a biopsy because we couldn't work out what was causing it.

While I'm glad I discovered the cause, I'm so very, very sad to lose my number one natural remedy! I now need to find new natural cures for my own use.

It seems ironic and incredibly unfair that, while I steer clear of all unnecessary chemicals, I develop a reaction to something I am so happy using. I don't even use shampoo or deodorant for goodness sake!  Could it possibly be my own fault through, ummm, overuse?!

I like to know two things from you. Do you have natural cures you turn to again and again? And have you ever developed an allergy to something you have used for years?


Linda said...

I've only got the one - and no allergies, as I don't use much of anything. My one is aloe vera - just break off a leaf (bit of a strange word, it is so think) and apply fresh to stings, bites, scratches and rashes.

Joy Belle said...

I too only have 1 - I use onion juice and sugar as a cough syrup for nasty tickly coughs. Usually only for myself - no one else the my household will take it with any regularity.

My eldest is allergic to aloe vera and teatree, so we have to be very careful about what she uses on her skin.

Crunchie's Mum said...

We use hydrogen peroxide 3% as an antiseptic for wounds on ourselves and our pets. Works amazingly well. We've saved animals with horrendous wounds using this.

Kim said...

I had a similar thing happen. My friend makes the most gorgeous aniseed /lavender essential oil soap . The smell is delicious and I love the soap so much. But , then I started getting rashes on my arms and after a process of elimination it turned out to be lavender oil in the soap, my favourite of all essential oils. I can tolerate a little now, but not much.
My 'home remedy ' to all cuts and scratches here for animals and people is 'Milton ' the stuff you soak the babies bottles in. If any one has an injury here on the farm, they head straight to the cupboard and dab on some milton.

rabidlittlehippy said...

Joy, I also make onion juice although I use raw honey in place of the sugar - it adds extra anitbacterial properties.
We too use lavender for many things although not the oil of lavandula angustifolia which is standard lavander oil. I use lavandula officinalis instead. It smells totally different but utterly glorious. Just mentioned as maybe the allergy won't stretch to the officinalis oil.