14/08/2014 16:32 BST | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

The Wonders Of Lavender

Elizabeth I ate it in jam, Queen Victoria used it as a deodorant and thanks to scientist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, it helped nurses treat soldiers during the First World War. In fact, lavender has been used as an antiseptic, air-freshener, insect-repellent and food for hundreds of years. So - how has it become "the mother of essential oils"?


The fact that lavender is the most versatile and adaptable of the essential oils has a lot to do with it, as Geraldine Howard, President & Co-Founder of Aromatherapy Associates explains. "Lavender is a fantastic, multi-purpose essential oil, that is not only comforting and uplifting, but also contains antiseptic and antibacterial properties".

This makes it a great product for fighting against infection, but it can be brilliant at tackling skincare issues too. "It's great for on-the-spot relief for problem skin, which is why we have included it across our Mattifying collection", Howard told us. That's not forgetting its distinctive scent, which also has plenty of its own benefits.

Love it or hate it, lavender is renowned for aiding stress, calming the mind and promoting sleep (and has since become a favourite ingredient in many beauty and aromatherapy products). Suzanne Colston-Lynch, head of training at Neal's Yard, recommends the scent for its emotional benefits.

"Lavender helps lift low spirits and revive you when you feel emotionally depleted. Its calming properties make it a good remedy for insomnia as this normally stems from stress", she told us. It can also relax the respiratory system, help to cure dry scalps and aid digestion thanks to its ability to remove bad bacteria in the stomach.

And how should we introduce lavender into our daily routines? "It's a delicious addition to a tea blend and is also often used in making cakes and even cocktails!", says Colston-Lynch. There's also no shortage of beauty products to choose from. Whether you prefer soaps or candles, here's a few of the best lavender-scented buys (including a delicious pot of honey...)