A cold lavender compress can relieve headaches or reduce inflammation, and it is a simple home remedy for many injuries. A warm compress with lavender essential oil is useful for muscle aches and pains and for menstrual cramps.
How to Make a Cold Compress
Fill a bowl with cold water using the coldest water you can get from the tap, and add ice cubes to the water if you can. Add 4 to 5 drops of lavender essential oil into the ice cold water and dip a small towel into the bowl. Squeeze out the excess water and place the towel over the painful area. You can secure it into place with a piece of cling film or cover it with another towel to prevent it from soaking your clothes. As soon as the compress warms up to body temperature, remove it, dip the towel again into ice-cold water and repeat the process.
Cold compresses are useful for
- headaches: place the cold lavender compress over the forehead
- as a first aid to acute injuries with swelling, like a sprained ankle or other swollen, “hot” injuries
How to Make a Warm Compress
Fill a bowl with water that is as warm as you can bear on your skin. Add 4 to 5 drops of lavender oil and follow the process as described for the cold compress above. Leave the compress on its place until it cools down.
Warm aromatherapy compresses are useful for
- period pain: place it on the lower back or on the lower abdomen
- back pain, neck pain and other muscular aches and pains
Lavender essential oil (Lavandula angustifolia) is just one of the many oils you can add to the compress, but it is the safest and most versatile oils in aromatherapy. Lavender can be used to relieve headaches, to ease muscular stiffness and aches, to relieve inflammation in injuries, to ease menstrual cramps and to reduce pain. Some other useful oils include
- peppermint (Mentha piperita) for headaches, on its own or combined with lavender; peppermint is stimulating and lavender is relaxing
- marjoram (Origanum majorana) or chamomile (Anthemis nobilis) for period pain
- rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), marjoram and ginger (Gingiber officinalis) for muscular aches and pains.
If you add other essential oils to the compress, keep the total number of drops the same.
Sources: Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy, an A-Z (Random House, UK, 2004)
Photo: Ken Irwin (Wikimedia Commons)