Medicinal Benefits of Lavender

Mar 14, 2017

Health Benefits of Lavender

The sweet and gentle scent of lavender seems to find a pathway straight to the brain to relax away our pains and anxieties as naturally as can be. Indeed, Lavender and Lavender oils offer a variety of natural healing options for those with sleep issues, anxiety, a need to relieve stress, and other health conditions.

Used internally and by olfaction (smell), lavender has been used for centuries as a treatment for anxiety, depression, insomnia, and gastrointestinal distress.  Lavender has also been valued for its antibacterial and antifungal effects.

Lavender, Lavandula angustifolia or officinalis, is a beautiful flowering plant with lilac-colored blossoms that grows natively around the Mediterranean but is now cultivated in sunny locales around the world. It has long been used in soaps and skin creams, but lavender is equally prized as an essential oil that can be rubbed into the temples to relieve migraine or headache pain, into muscles to relieve soreness, or used in aromatherapy to relax body and mind.

In classical Latin, the word lavender means "to wash".

Lavender flowers and leaves alike are used in medicinal preparations (including lavender tea) that can offer relaxing, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic benefits. Lavender oil should be kept sealed in order to avoid oxidation that can cause allergic reactions when applied to the skin.

10 Health Benefits of Lavender

Lavender's medicinal benefits derive primarily from linalool, an alcohol compound that shows some promise in fighting cancers. Lavender is also effective against insomnia, can relax bronchial passages, and has shown positive results in studies targeting alopecia areata.

1. Lavender for Anxiety

Several clinical studies have investigated lavender essential oil, in the supplement form of Silexan (made from steam distillation using lavender flowers) for anxiety, restlessness and agitation. A once daily dose of a supplement containing 80 mg was given to the subjects. Results from the study showed that taken orally, lavender extract can be as effective as low-dose benzodiazepines for lessening anxiety.1

2. Lavender for Sleep Issues

Studies have also shown that simply adding drops of lavender oil to an essential oil diffuser placed near a bed at night can improve sleep quality in those with mild insomnia.2  For those who don't have a diffuser, simply adding a few drops of lavender oil to a pillowcase can help in regulating sleep.

3. Lavender for Skin Problems

Lavender essential oil can be used topically to treat eczema, ringworm, psoriasis, acne and hives. If you are treating a larger area of skin, add lavender to a carrier oil like coconut oil, which is also helpful for many skin conditions.

4. Lavender for Asthma

Due to its calming and anti-inflammatory lavender essential oil has been found to have promise in treating asthma.3

One drop of lavender can be applied to the palm and the palm cupped gently over the mouth and nose. The lavender is then gently inhaled. A drop of lavender can also be added to a few ounces of water and taken orally.

5. Lavender for Improving Cognition

Studies indicate that lavender can improve cognition in a variety of ways. Via aromatherapy, lavender can help improve accuracy in mathematics. Additionally, lavender aromatherapy was found to improve cognition of dementia patients.

6. Lavender for Pain

In a day when prescription pain medication is overprescribed and potentially dangerous, natural alternative to pain are critical. Lavender is one of many effective alternative to pain medication. One study found that foot massage with lavender essential oil reduced blood pressure, wakefulness and pain!3

7. Lavender for Burns

Keep your lavender essential oil handy in your kitchen. It is wonderful for burns! If you burn yourself, first cool the burn with cold running water to remove the heat. Then apply lavender essential oil “neat” (without diluting) unless you are sensitive to lavender essential oil.

8. Lavender for Gallbladder Attacks

Another reason to keep lavender essential oil handy is to fight a sudden gallbladder attack. One drop of lavender essential oil is added to a glass of cool water and sipped. You can also apply 2 drops of lavender essential oil to your skin, above your gallbladder, where you have pain.

This remedy is also useful for other digestive problems like vomiting, gas, bloating and upset stomach.

9. Lavender for Insect Bites

You may need to have two little vials of lavender essential oil. It is an excellent remedy for bug bites. Keep a little bottle of lavender in your back pack or purse. (But don’t leave essential oils in your hot car; heat can degrade the oils!)

10. Lavender Baths

At the end of the day, a warm bath with Epsom salt (1 cup) and a couple of drops of lavender essential oil will help sooth sore muscles, relax the mind and prepare you for sleep. Be sure to brush your teeth before your bath. You will want to get right into bed after this soothing bath.

Lavender Cautions

As wonderful as lavender may be, it not suitable for everyone. Some people are allergic to lavender. Prolonged use of lavender has been linked to premature hormonal changes in children. Keep in mind that essential oils are very concentrated medicines. It should be used by the drop.

While many can use lavender “neat” (using it topically, without diluting) others will find it too strong. In this case, lavender should be diluted in an appropriate carrier oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. (Do not use hydrogenated oils for carrier oils. In fact, it is best to not use hydrogenated oils at all!)

Because essential oils are so popular, you will find many different brands. Essential oils sold in multilevel markets tend to be pricey, though quality is often high as well. But you will find many essential oils that are quite reasonably priced that will work well for your needs. Beware of very inexpensive oils or oils that do not smell fresh.

When buying essential oils, look for organic oils. Chemicals and pesticides tend to be concentrated in the fat, so non-organic oils may be quite concentrated in chemicals.

Continue reading to see how our readers have benefited from lavender!

Have you used lavender for a health problem? Please send us some feedback!

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References:

1.  Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al. Efficacy and safety of silexan, a new, orally administered lavender oil preparation, in subthreshold anxiety disorder—evidence from clinical trials. Wiener Medizinische Wochenschrift. 2010;160(21-22):547–556.

2. Lewith GT, Godfrey AD, Prescott P. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2005;11(4):631–637

3. Ueno-Iio T1, Shibakura M2, Yokota K1, Aoe M1, Hyoda T1, Shinohata R1, Kanehiro A3, Tanimoto M3, Kataoka M1. Lavender essential oil inhalation suppresses allergic airway inflammation and mucous cell hyperplasia in a murine model of asthma. Life Sci. 2014 Jul 17;108(2):109-15.



Burns  

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Posted by Maria (Montreal, Quebec) on 01/22/2012
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Use lavender oil (preferably pure) to relieve pain from burns, also speeds up healing process and leaves burn area with no or almost no scarring.


Posted by Lynn (Lake Havasu City, AZ) on 05/20/2006
5 out of 5 stars

The essential oil of lavender applied directly on to the burn immediately eases the pain and if you are consistent with applying it, will not peel.


Cold Sores  

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Posted by Anne (Portland, OR)
5 out of 5 stars

Lavender oil works wonders on cold sores. It stops them turning to a blister, if caught early enough and treated enough with the oil.


Posted by D (NJ)
5 out of 5 stars

I control hsv2 outbreaks with healthy diet and exercise. Exercise helps me to relieve stress, thus keeping outbreaks at bay since stress is a major factor in having outbreaks (for me). When I feel an outbreak coming on I apply lavender oil to the area that tingles and within hours the feeling is gone and no outbreak occurs. I've had the same success using tea tree oil. Believe it or not, on an established sore, neither oil hurts, but rather relieves the itch and pain and speeds up the healing process. I've also used lysine supplements as well as an echinacea and goldenseal combo while pregnant.


Fleas  

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Posted by Pamela (Granite Falls, Washington) on 08/02/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Yes...to LAVENDER for flea control. I recommend lavender castile liquid soap to bath them in and diluted essential oil lightly applied to their coats between baths. Initially, I started using lavender because I am so sensitive to chemicals. Now, I use it because it works so well.


Posted by Shirlena (Oakland, MO) on 02/27/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Using Lavender essential oil does get rid of fleas on the dogs just like others have said. It will also keep them from getting fleas in the first place. If they do come in contact with them outside, they won't stay on them long.

Here's what I do. I make an all-purpose cleaner for most of my house cleaning that keeps all bugs out. Here's the recipe:

1-cup alcohol
1-cup distilled water
5 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops peppermint oil

Mix in a 24 to 32 oz. Spray bottle. Shake to mix then spray on and wipe with soft cloth, if needed, use a different dry cloth to buff. Use on just about anything and most surfaces.

My dogs, since they were puppies have slept in a wire cage each. They go to bed at night at the same time and they stay in their home cages while I run errands. They feel safe and secure there. I clean the wire cages with this mix and there have been no bugs on or in the cages. We've not had one bug of any kind (not even spiders) in our house since I started using this mix.Bugs of all kinds hate lavender. This recipe can be altered without any problems. You may use only lavender oil and omit the peppermint oil. You may use different amounts of any of the ingredients and it will still work fine. Also by using this mix, everything will be sparkling clean.

Thanks for a great site.


Fungus  

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Posted by Happy Nail (Whitefish, Montana) on 08/22/2009

After my immune system was lowered during recovery from surgery, a fungal infection took off in my big toenail. It started as a white mark and progressed into a nasty condition very quickly. I went to a foot doctor and he thought it was not recoverable and was getting ready to do some surgery. However, I opted first to try the medicated nail varnish. This didn't seem to do very much, so in addition to filing the surface of the nail to make it thinner and using the penlac, I started adding a few drops of lavendar oil on a fabric bandaid and would place this on my toenail every day. Very soon I could clearly see new nail starting to grow. This cured the problem! It took a long time, but the bandaid with lavendar oil was quick to do in the morning, and after the months it took for the nail to grow out, it worked and I now have a healthy toenail again :)

EC: Penlac is a topical prescription medication for nail fungus...

Replied by Linda Laconte
Washington State, Usa
05/21/2014
5 out of 5 stars

The last time I had problems with toe nail fungus, I had to have my liver checked because of the medication "could cause liver damage".. When the toe nail fungus returned, I took the advise of my brother and used pure lavender oil to get rid of my toe nail fungus. Worked GREAT!

We took our new rescue dog for his first check up today, coming home with a prescription for his ear fungus. I am wondering if a drop or two of my lavender oil would work just as well, or even better then the prescription medication. Does anyone know, or has heard of lavender oil getting rid of ear fungus in dogs?


General Feedback  

Posted by Lisa (Thousand Oaks, Ca, Usa) on 11/28/2012

Happy Holidays Everyone! While searching for homemade gifts, I came upon a great page for "13 Magical Things To Make With Lavender"! I love lavender and since it's a healing herb and most of us who come here to Earth Clinic are interested in natural remedies/ herbs, etc. , I thought this would be perfect. Personally, we have lavender all over our yard we planted, after being inspired by a trip we took a few years ago to the south of France. So, this is an easy one for me! Anyway, there are some fun and easy recipes that are beautiful gifts to give for the holidays.

http://www.revitaliseyourhealth.com/13-magical-things-to-make-with-lavender/

Enjoy! Lisa


Headache  

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Posted by Sonia (Los Angeles) on 08/25/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Lavender oil cures migraines and headaches. I use essential lavender oil under my nose so I can smell and breath it in. The smell clears your nasal passages and it much easier to fall asleep. I also use an ice pack over whichever side of the forehead I have the migraine. I fall asleep easily and the headache subsides.


Posted by Sonia (Los Angeles) on 08/25/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Lavender oil cures migraines and headaches. I use essential lavender oil under my nose so I can smell and breath it in. The smell clears your nasal passages and it much easier to fall asleep. I also use an ice pack over whichever side of the forehead I have the migraine. I fall asleep easily and the headache subsides.


Inflammation  

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Posted by Lovelyrita (Arvada, Co, Usa) on 07/03/2011
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My lymph nodes have been very swollen and tender recently, with a burning sensation. Blood tests have all been normal and doctors aren't quite sure what it is yet. To get relief, however, I have been applying topically Lavender Essential oil and rubbing it into my skin over the swollen areas with vaseline. It has really worked to relieve the pain! I'll apply some vaseline, then add 3-4 drops of Lavender oil and begin massaging the area. After a minute, I just feel so much relief. It feels like it has a real calming effect. It works incredibly well if you do this, and then apply mild heat to the area with a heating pad. This has saved me from so much pain while trying to heal my condition!


Sleep  

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Posted by Marilyn (Salt Lake City, Utah) on 03/12/2017
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I use lavender oil drops in my diffuser at night to help me sleep. A friend of mine who does aromatherapy consulting told me about it 3 years ago. I find it very soothing. I also mix it with some coconut oil and apply by rubbing it in circles slowly to my temples when I have a headache. It really helps prevent eye strain and headaches.


Stings  

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Posted by Georgia (Irons, Mi) on 04/26/2010
5 out of 5 stars

HUGE black Ground hornets & lavender essential oil:

My cat of 3 years old had a near death experience and although it took 2 days to figure out what had really happened I immediately had given an application of lavender oil (3 drops pure on my hand) and lightly brushed his arm and underside of paw with it as soon as I saw there was a problem. He definitely does not like the smell, but I insisted he get the treatment. He was incoherent, stumbling, all in 5 minutes & swelled to the size of golf balls where he was stung (6x) but in 12 hours was alive & well! He doesn't remember his brush with death, just loves me more! I thanked all above who stayed at his side, tho my vet did not believe in Mother Nature's cures, I'm blessed She once again saved another of my pet's lives. I was also stung by these bees 2 yrs. ago and their stings instantly attack your motor skills, altho I 'could not think' to use the oil on me. Hoping this story helps


Posted by Jennifer (Guelph, Ontario, Canada) on 10/05/2007
5 out of 5 stars

My 3 year old daughter was stung by a bee for the first time. She didn't have a big reaction but it hurt, a lot. I tried Chickweed which helped for a minute, then breatmilk and that did nothing. But then I put pure Lavander oil on it and it took the pain away instantly.


Posted by Sarah (North Vancouver, Canada) on 08/20/2007
5 out of 5 stars

We were just away at a ranch, lots of horse flies, wasps etc. My 7 month old grabbed a wasp in mid area and was stung in the inside of his finger... Right away he was crying in pain and we saw the wasp dead beside him and we knew he had been stung, his little finger was as hard as a rock and i was getting worried of what type of reaction he was going to have...his hand and arm started to quickly get red and swell...The people we were with had pure essential Lavender oil and we rubbed it on the finger and hand, I would have to say within 5 minutes the pain was forgotten red gone and swelling completely gone... I was amazed... someone older was stung also and we did the same thing and he said the pain was gone right away... We have our own now and keep it with us.



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