Organic lavender oil is a thin, pale yellow essential oil that is steam distilled from organic lavender plants. Lavender oil is commonly used in aromatherapy to treat a number of conditions, including insomnia, anxiety, and skin conditions, in addition to being used as a form of pain control. It may also be used in skin care products, body care products, and perfumes, as many people enjoy the fragrance of lavender. While both organic and non-organic lavender oil is available, the lavender used to prepare organic lavender oil is grown according to organic standards.
Lavender plants are shrubs that produce clusters of small blue-purple, highly fragrant flowers. Lavender essential oil, like that produced from many other flowers, is a product of steam distillation. In the steam distillation process, steam is forced into the lavender flowers, which causes the release of essential oils from the lavender. The steam that carries these oils is cooled and condensed so that the essential oil of lavender can be extracted. Temperature control is important in steam distillation, because lavender is sensitive to heat exposure, and there is a risk of destroying important compounds if the temperature of the steam is allowed to get too high.
Lavender oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and is perhaps best known for its soothing and calming properties. Many people choose to inhale lavender oil in times of stress, and some research shows that lavender can have a calming effect on people, may assist people in falling asleep, and may help soothe dementia sufferers who become agitated. Lavender is also used to treat skin conditions such as rashes, cellulite, and alopecia areata, a condition that causes bald patches to form on the scalp.
The standards for what products can be labeled or certified organic vary by country, though the goal of organic farming is generally understood to be the development of a sustainable system of agriculture that respects and preserves the environment and local eco-systems. Contrary to what some believe, organic lavender oil, or indeed any product labeled as organic, may be made from plants that were treated with chemicals or pesticides during their growth, provided that these sprays or treatments conform to organic standards. When purchasing a product labeled organic, it is a good idea to ask the manufacturer about the organic standards under which the product was produced in order to fully understand the extent to which it may have been exposed to chemicals that a person wishes to avoid.