Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils in the world with a healing potency so great it’s not surprising has so many health benefits.
Here’s 7 Lavendar Oil Benefits & Studies
1. Improves Mood and Supports Brain
In a 2013 study, lavender was found to protect against neurological damage of the brain & used to effectively treat neurological issues like migraines, stress, anxiety and depression.
An evidence-based study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice found that supplementing with 80mg capsules of lavender essential oil alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression. The study also found there were no adverse side effects from using lavender oil to treat anxiety, insomnia and depression – unlike pharmaceutical drugs, such as Prozac, which have known dangerous side effects.
Lavender oil has also been shown to reduce symptoms and development of Alzheimer’s disease. The journal Phytomedicine published a study highlighting that inhaling lavender essential oil vapour for 60 minutes a day was shown to prevent brain oxidative stress in rats with dementia.
Another study published in 2012 found that by diffusing lavender oil in the homes of 28 high-risk postpartum women, they experienced a significant reduction of postnatal depression and reduced anxiety disorder after a four-week treatment plan of lavender aromatherapy.
Lavender oil has also been shown to be a viable treatment option for stroke as found by a study published in 2012 in the Molecules journal.
Results from a study on people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) found that just 80 mg of lavender oil per day helped decrease depression by 32.7% and dramatically decrease sleep disturbances, moodiness and overall health status in 47 people suffering from PTSD.
To help relieve stress and improve sleep quality, add some essential oils into a diffuser placed beside your bed whilst you sleep at night, or in the family room whilst you’re reading or winding down for the evening. Essential oils can also be rubbed topically behind your ears for the same benefits.
2. Lavender Oil Skin Benefits
Lavender oil offers valuable antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, making it ideal to mix with aloe vera or coconut oil and onto your skin for great benefits.
Just add 10 drops per 30 mL of aloe vera or coconut oil to help soothe sunburn and bring accelerated healing to dry skin, minor cuts and scrapes.
Studies have also found its ability to speed up recovery of cancer sores and prevent allergic reactions.
To help reduce age spots, mix lavender oil with frankincense essential oil and put on your skin in the morning and just before going to bed.
3. Antioxidant Protection
Free radicals (AKA toxins, chemicals, pollutants, etc) are arguably the most dangerous and common risk factor for every disease which are responsible for shutting down your immune system and known to cause unbelievable damage to the body.
Antioxidants can be used as a solution to counteract the damage free radicals pose. For the body, this is in the form of its ability to create antioxidant enzymes – especially glutathione, catalase and superoxide dismutase (SOD) – all which prevent free radicals from doing damage.
If the free radical burden is too great, the body can become deficient in antioxidants, which is quite common in our society due to poor diet and high exposure to chemical toxins.
Lavender oil has been found to be nature’s antioxidant hero too, with research from China demonstrating that lavender oil helps your body produce three of your bodies most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, catalase, and SOD within 22 hours of using lavender essential oil.
In addition, Romanian scientists have experienced similar results after just seven days of inhaling lavender essential oil vapour for 60 minutes a day. It was found that diffusing lavender oil protected cells from damage that can lead to cancer.
Diffusing oils, especially lavender oil, in the home or office offers great health benefits and are highly recommended.
4. Lavender Heals Burns & Cuts
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, lavender oil not only prevents infections forming and combats bacterial/fungal disorders, it has also been found to speed up the healing of burns, cuts, scrapes and wounds, as found in almost 100 studies.
Lavender oils’ antimicrobial characteristic was shown to be enhanced when blended with other essential oils, like clove, cinnamon and tea tree oil. When these oils were mixed in a ratio of 1:1, they were found to be most effective in fighting against Candida albicans and Staph aureus, both which are common causes for many fungal and bacterial infections that lead to respiratory pneumonia and skin funguses.
For burns or eczema, try mixing lavender oil with coconut oil in 1:5 ratio for rapid healing.
5. Lavender Oil for Headaches
Tension headaches and migraines are very common with lavender oil offering a great natural treatment alternative.
The European Journal of Neurology found those who struggled with migraine headaches experienced significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes.
An effective natural treatment for headaches is combining lavender oil with peppermint oil and rubbing these oils on the back of the neck, the temples on the lateral side of the forehead along with inhaling it. Generally 2 drops of each oil in the palm of your hand and then rubbed into these areas works well.
6. Lavender for Sleep & Insomnia
Lavender oil has been found to improve overall quality of sleep, including length of sleep, time it took to fall asleep, restfulness and reduced symptoms of insomnia.
To improve your quality of sleep, diffusing lavender oil before or during sleep can help, as can rubbing it directly on your neck, chest and temples, which is also effective.
Making a mixture of lavender oil, roman chamomile oil and magnesium oil provides the best overall combination to improve sleep. Alternatively, add 15 drops of lavender oil and 1 cup of Epsom salts to the bathtub to help improve sleep and relax the body.
7. Diabetes Treatment
In 2014, scientist for Tunisia conducted a study and found lavender essential oil treatment protected the body from the following symptoms of diabetes:
- Increase in blood glucose (feature of diabetes)
- Metabolic disorders (particularly fat metabolism)
- Weight gain (ever wonder why as diabetes continues to rise, so do our waistbands!)
- Liver and kidney antioxidant depletion (another reason why diabetes is lethal)
- Liver and kidney dysfunction (again, lethal to diabetes)
- Liver and kidney lipoperoxidation (when free radicals “steal” necessary fat molecules from cell membranes)
In addition, the radical-scavenging antioxidant activity of lavender was found to be more robust than ascorbic acid.
Although this is only one study, the results are promising and we look forward to more research on this topic as a potentially natural treatment alternative to diabetes.
Five Lavender Oil Uses at Home
1. Non-toxic Air Freshener
Lavender oil is a great natural toxic-free air freshener alternative, whether it’s by spraying lavender oil around your home or diffusing it in your diffuser.
To help create a relaxing atmosphere in your bedroom before you fall asleep, spray some lavender oil and water mixture directly onto your bed sheets or pillow. Similarly, this can be done in your bathroom on your bath towels too.
2. As a Natural Perfume
To help further reduce your toxicity exposure, lavender oil is ideal to use as a scent for both women and men too. Try rubbing pure oil directly to your skin (2-3 drops), or you can dilute the oil in some water for a more subtle scent (2 drops with ½ cup water in a spray bottle).
3. Stomach Discomfort Remedy
Lavender oil helps soothe the stomach when feeling nauseous and travel sick too. Spraying some lavender oil on your skin and clothes or rubbing it into your temples, neck and palms is ideal.
4. Natural, Chemical-Free Lip Balm
Lavender oil is excellent to help prevent sunburn on the lips and heal chapped, dried lips too. Combine a couple of drops of lavender oil with shea butter, jojoba oil, coconut oil/coconut butter, or another “carrier oil” and then rub it into your lips for protection when in the sun. You can also use the same method to heal the skin more quickly on other areas of the body that are burned, which can help prevent itchiness and peeling that can result after a bad sun burn.
5. Secret Flavour Booster in Healthy Recipes
Lavender oil is a beautiful flavour enhancer in recipes such as muffins, slices, teas and even salad dressings. Lavender oil is edible, however you will only need to use a very small amount in your recipes since the oil is very potent. Try adding as little as 1 – 2 drops of lavender oil to your recipes for a surprising flavour boost.
Lavender oil pairs really well with ingredients such as: cranberries, dark cocoa, balsamic vinaigrette, pure honey, black pepper and apples.
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Potential Side Effects of Lavender Oil to Consider
As a general finding, most people are able to use lavender oil without any problems, however there is limited scientific research done on lavender oil interactions with other medications, or for its use by pregnant women, so please take care in such situations.
For those already taking any prescription medication for depression or sleep related disorder, take care of the fact that lavender oil can increase the effectiveness of these medications. This includes even over-the-counter sleep aids or any type of sedatives (cough or flu medicine). Lavender makes people sleepy and even a bit drowsy, so it is preferred not to combine lavender oil with other medications or sleep-related supplements. For those planning on having surgery or undergoing anaesthesia in the near future, it is encouraged that you avoid using lavender oil.
Pregnant Women and Children
There has been insufficient research done at this time to demonstrate that lavender oil is completely safe for pregnant women or women who are nursing. Lavender oil can have a relaxing effect on muscles and can also affect hormones. Consequently, women who are in their third trimester are not recommended to use lavender oil. Since it has not been guaranteed that any essential oils are safe at this time, it’s best to speak with your doctor about use of any of these.
Lavender oil is considered generally safe for children to use, however lavender’s potential effect on hormone levels is of some concern for boys who have not yet gone through puberty. Despite there not being strong evidence for lavender being a hormone disrupter (only 2 small studies completed), parents are encouraged to use caution if using lavender oil frequently on young children.
Ingesting Lavender Oil
There is minimal research formally done to look at the effect of ingesting lavender oil, however most people experience no negative symptoms when consuming it. Because of its high levels of antioxidants it is recommended to keep this to a minimum and take care if you have a sensitive digestive system. There are no known food interactions of lavender oil at this time.
- Sebai H, et al. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diab etic rats. Lipids Health Dis 2013; 12(1):189.
- de Rapper S, et al. The In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil in Combination with Other Aroma-Therapeutic Oils. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med 2013; 2013:852049.
- Amorati R, et al. Antioxidant activity of essential oils. J Agric Food Chem 2013; 61(46): 10835-47.
- Hancianu M, et al. Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats. Phytomedicine 2013. 15; 20(5): 446-52.
- Hichem Sebai, et al. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Lipids Health Dis 2013; 12:189.
- Wang D, et al. Neuroprotective activity of lavender oil on transient focal cerebral ischemia in mice. Molecules 2012; 15; 17(8):9803-17.
- Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract 2013; 17 Suppl 1:15-22.
- Conrad P, et al. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman – a pilot study. Complement Ther Clin Pract 2012 Aug; 18(3):164-8.
- Uehleke B, et al. Phase II trial on the effects of Silexan in patients with neurasthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or somatization disorder. Phytomedicine 2012; 19(8-9):665-71.
- Altaei DT, Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration. Am J Dent 2012; 25(1):39-43.
- Kim HM, et al. Lavender oil inhibits immediate-type allergic reaction in mice and rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 1999; 51(2):221-6.