A burn is a type of skin injury caused by heat, electricity, chemicals, light, radiation, or friction. Most burns only affect the skin (epidermal tissue and dermis). Very rarely deeper tissues, such as muscle, bone, and blood vessels can also be injured.

Managing burns is important because they are common, painful and can result in disfiguring and disabling scarring. Burn injuries can be complicated by shock, infection, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, electrolyte imbalance and respiratory distress.

Essential oil of Lavender is one of the most effective treatments for burns, both major and minor. It can be applied neat to all minor burns, and if this is done very quickly after burning, blistering will not usually appear. Lavender is not only a very effective antiseptic, but is also analgesic (painkilling) and helps to reduce the pain of the burn. It promotes rapid healing, and will reduce eventual scarring. Lavender applied to a burn very quickly will often heal it with no scarring at all.

For larger burns, Lavender oil should be poured neat onto sterile gauze and applied to the burn, and renewed every few hours, though obviously if the burning is extensive qualified help will be needed. The patient may be in shock, and liquid loss may be severe, so do not lose time seeking help, but use Lavender oil as a very important first aid measure until help arrives.

Rene-Maurice Gatefosse, who coined the word 'aromatherapie' and initiated the revival of interest in aromatherapy in the present century, began his research into the properties of essential oils, especially in dermatology, after he had burnt his hand in a laboratory explosion, and plunged the hand into a beaker of Lavender oil which was the nearest liquid available. The almost miraculous healing of the burn, with no infection, little pain and no scarring was the spur to his subsequent research.

Dr Jean Valnet has used oil of Lavender to treat serious battlefield burns during the French-Indo Chinese war, and at least one hospital in the UK is currently working with Lavender oil in a burns unit.

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