Lavender Oil Benefits and Uses
Lavender is an herb native to northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. It is also grown for the production of its essential oil, which comes from the distillation of the flower spikes of certain lavender species. The oil has cosmetic uses, and it is believed to have some medicinal uses.
Lavender essential oil, in contrast to the plant form, is toxic when swallowed.
Fast facts on lavender
- Lavender is grown in northern Africa and the Mediterranean mountains, often for extraction of its essential oils.
- The medicinal benefits of using lavender to treat anxiety, fungal infections, hair loss, and wounds have been demonstrated.
- Evidence does not yet support the use of lavender to treat depression, high blood pressure, nausea, menstrual pain, or eczema, among other conditions.
- Lavender is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and should not be taken in place of approved and prescribed medicines.
The Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
1. For Muscle Pain
If you’ve ever stepped into a lavender-scented bath or used a stuffed eye pillow at night, you know how calming this wonder herb can be. While these relaxation and sleep-inducing benefits are important, lavender is also one of the best essential oils for muscle pain. As Authority Health Mag writes:
“The anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties in Lavender oil are effective for treating pains arising out of muscle stress and tension. Lavender oil will also ease swelling and improve blood circulation. It is excellent for relieving the muscle spasm caused by mental stress and anxiety.”
For most, lavender essential oil can:
- Ease muscular swelling
- Improve blood circulation
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Induce the calming response of the parasympathetic nervous system
- Mildly sedate the body
Use lavender oil for migraines, tension headaches, and other pain conditions. You can use this oil by:
- Inhaling it while breathing deeply
- Mixing a few drops into a carrier oil, like coconut oil, and massaging it into the sore area
- Adding it to a diffuser before sleeping
- Adding 10-15 drops into a warm bath
2. Reducing anxiety
According to the principles of aromatherapy, breathing in the scent of lavender essential oil or applying lavender essential oil to the skin transmits messages to the limbic system (a brain region known to influence the nervous system and help regulate emotion). Proponents suggest that lavender essential oil may help alleviate anxiety in part by inducing a calming effect on the central nervous system.
One popular approach involves combining lavender oil with a carrier oil (such as jojoba or sweet almond). Once blended with a carrier oil, lavender essential oil can be massaged into your skin or added to your bath.
How to Use Lavender Essential Oil for Anxiety and Stress
- Inhalation: Rub two to three drops of lavender essential oil in your palms then take a deep breath. The scent quickly enters your bloodstream and provides an instant feeling of relaxation. It’s perfect for use while traveling, in the office, or in crowded spaces.
- Headache Relief: Rub one to two drops of lavender essential oil into your temple to experience relief from a tension headache. If you want to enjoy full-body relaxation, rub a couple of drops on your feet as well as your wrists.
- Stress Relief Blend: Mix four drops of lavender essential oil, two drops of lemon essential oil, two drops clary sage oil, and three tablespoons of carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut, or moringa oil and use it as a body moisturizer or body massage oil.
3. For Sleep
If your beauty sleep is in need of a serious boost, we've got just the remedy: essential oils. Sure, they smell amazing, but their benefits go beyond their scents. These incredible concoctions provide an all-natural alternative to the average sleep supplement.
No list of the best essential oils for sleep would be complete without lavender oil, one of the most widely reputed natural sources for inducing a peaceful slumber. Lavender oil is safe to apply directly to the skin, but test a small amount on your hand first before applying in larger amounts. Dab a little on pulse points before bed or rub a bit between your palms and inhale with a few deep breaths. Adding a couple drops to a bath is another great way to unwind after a long day.
4. Promotes Healthy Skin and Hair
Most likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential mixed with a carrier oil (like coconut, jojoba or grapeseed oil) has profound benefits on your skin.
Using lavender oil topically can help to improve a number of skin conditions, from canker sores to allergic reactions, acne and age spots. Its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help to ease skin conditions and reverse signs of aging.
To use lavender oil for skin health, combine 3–4 drops with ½ teaspoon of coconut or jojoba oil and massage the mixture into the area of concern. You can also add lavender oil to your face or body wash. I also recommend mixing lavender oil with frankincense essential oil and applying it to your skin first thing in the morning, right after you shower, and right before bed. This will help to reduce inflammation and signs of aging, like dark spots.
Studies also show that lavender oil, along with other essential oils like thyme, rosemary and cedarwood, can significantly improve alopecia areata and hair loss when massaged into the scalp daily.
5. Lavender Oil For Acne
Unlike harsh over-the-counter chemical-based acne treatments, natural plant-based oils are a much better and safer alternative. Being a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory lavender oil is great for unclogging pores and reducing inflammation caused by acne, naturally.
Lavender oil also helps to improve circulation which brings nutrients to the skin to accelerate healing.
How to use lavender essential oil for acne:
Laundry detergent can be full of not-so-good-for-you chemicals, which is why essential oils are great as a booster for your dirty clothes. “I love adding essential oils to my washing machine for a fresh scent,” says Panton. “Use 10-20 drops—lavender and frankincense are a great pair.” While this is great for t-shirts and everyday clothing, don’t add EOs to the wash when you’re cleaning your intimates.
To sum up some points before with one picture:
7. Use your diffuser
Of course, using the relaxing scent of lavender aromatherapy is great at nighttime. “Lavender’s incredibly soothing,” says Panton. “As part of your bedtime ritual, add 10 drops of the essential oil to a diffuser on your nightstand and shut the door.” She advises to do this about an hour before you go to bed, so by the time you fall asleep your room’s its own little oasis.
Click the picture to get VicTsing diffuser on Amazon.com
8. Insect Repellent
Many flying insects dislike the smell of lavender, making it a safe alternative to other topical insect repellents. Plant lavender around windows and doors to prevent bugs from entering your house. Hang bags of dried lavender in closets or stow them in drawers to repel moths. Rub on skin infected with burrowing mites (scabies) then follow up daily by treating skin with a mixture of lavender oil and rubbing alcohol. Sprinkle lavender oil on a mattress to ward off insects in the bedroom.
9. Treats Respiratory Disorders
Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infection, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. It can be put in in an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser or alternatively, it can be topically applied to the skin of neck, chest, and back. It is also added to many vaporizers and inhalers that are commonly used for cold and cough. The stimulating nature of lavender essential oil can also loosen up the phlegm and relieve congestion associated with respiratory conditions, thus speeding up the recovery process and helping the body naturally eliminate phlegm and other unwanted material. The vapor of lavender essential oil also has antibacterial qualities which can battle respiratory tract infections.
10. Improves Blood Circulation
Lavender essential oil is also good for improving the circulation of blood in the body. Researchers from the Department of Cardiovascular Science and Medicine, Chiba University in Japan suggests that aromatherapy using lavender oil has beneficial effects on coronary circulation. It also lowers blood pressure and is often used as a treatment for hypertension. This means that not only do the organs increase their levels of oxygenation, promoting muscle strength and health, but brain activity can have a noticeable boost, skin remains bright and flushed with blood, and the body is protected from the risks of heart attack and atherosclerosis often associated with poor blood circulation.
Lavender Oil Side Effects and Precautions
For most people, lavender oil benefits are all that you’ll experience and using lavender oil is completely safe; however, there has not been an extensive amount of scientific research done on lavender oil interactions with other medications, or for its use in pregnant women, so there are certain situations where you will want to use caution.
- Medication Interactions: If you are already taking any prescription medication for sleep-related disorders or for depression, be cautious of the fact that lavender can increase the effectiveness of these medications. Even if you use an over-the-counter sleep aid or any type of sedatives (even cough or flu medicine), keep in mind that lavender makes many people sleepy and even somewhat drowsy, so it’s best to not combine lavender oil with other medications or sleep-related supplements. If you are planning on undergoing anesthesia in the near future, you will also want to avoid using lavender oil.
- Pregnant Women: Lavender oil is generally considered safe for women who are pregnant and nursing. Because it can have a relaxing effect on muscles and can also effect hormone levels, use lavender with caution in your third trimester. It’s best to speak with your doctor about use of any essential oils when pregnant, since it has not been guaranteed that these are safe at this time.
- Children: Lavender oil is considered generally safe for children to use, although there is some concern that lavender’s effect on hormone levels could be harmful for boys who have not yet gone through puberty. Although there isn’t strong evidence for lavender being a hormone disrupter (only 1–2 very small studies were ever completed), parents are told to use caution if using lavender oil frequently on young children.
- Ingesting Lavender Oil: Studies have primarily looked at the effects of using lavender oil topically on the skin or through inhalation. There have been no negative symptoms found when three drops of oil are mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin. A 2013 evidence-based article, however, highlighted that lavender can be ingested at a large dose of 80 to 160 milligrams without adverse effects, except for minor gastrointestinal symptoms. To avoid gastrointestinal irritation, keep internal use to a minimum and be careful if you have a sensitive digestive system. There are no known food interactions of lavender oil at this time.