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Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oils

Updated on October 4, 2014

Lavender Essential Oils

Lavandula officinalis and Lavandula angustifoli are the scientific names of lavender. This is commonly used in soaps, potpourri, shampoos and perfumes because of its aromatic fragrance. The name lavender comes from “lavare”, a Latin word which means to wash. Lavender might have gotten its named because it was frequently used with water to purify the body and spirit. This herb is also believed to give a natural remedy for a variety of ailments such as depression, mood disturbances, insomnia, and anxiety. Medical researches have proven that lavender can give a sedative, calming and soothing effect. Knowing how to use lavender essential oils will help you in curing a lot of medical concerns naturally.

Plant Description

Lavender used to be exclusively native to the mountains of the Mediterranean.  There, it thrives in sunny, stony habitats.  Today, lavender is already growing abundantly in Australia, Europe and United States.  Physically, lavender is a short shrub with heavy branches.  Its maximum height is 60 centimeters and it has a woody stock that has rod-like, green leafy shoots. The  gray-green leaves are oblong and tapered, covered by a silvery down.  The oil for lavender essential oil is extracted from its flower buds.  The lavender flowers are arranged in 6-10 spiral blooms which have spikes interrupting above the foliage.  The most essential part of the lavender is its flowers.

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Medicinal Indications and Uses

A lot of researches have shown that lavender essential oil can help in some medical conditions like insomnia, alopecia, anxiety, stress and post-operative pain.  Lavender essential oil can also be used as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent.  Furthermore, lavender can also be utilized in integrative medicine and treatments like massage, acupuncture and chiropractic manipulation.

Treating Insomnia
In the early centuries, the pillows were stuffed with lavender flowers to make those people who have problems in sleeping sleep soundly.  Recently, medical evidence has found that lavender can significantly slow down the activity of the nervous system, which improves the quality of sleep, promotes relaxation and lifts the mood of people who are suffering from insomnia.

Medical studies have also found out that massaging lavender oil on one’s body can stabilize the mood, improve the quality of sleep, reduce anxiety and increase mental capacity. Lavender flowers can also be used as tea to cure insomnia, restlessness and nervous stomach irritations.

Alopecia Areata
This is a disease that is characterized by an unknown cause for significant hair loss.  Studies have shown that people who applied lavender essential oil on their scalps for a period of seven months experienced a pronounced growth in their bald spots.

Other Uses
Most aromatherapists also use lavender to treat headaches, nervous disorders and exhaustion.  Herbalists also use lavender to treat skin problems like fungal infections, wounds, and eczema.  Lavender can also be mixed with water to give a healing bath for people who suffer from rheumatic ailments and circulatory disorders.

Available Forms of Lavender

There are lots of commercial preparations of lavender.  These preparations come in several forms such as:

  • Lotions
  • Infusions
  • Soaps
  • Whole, dried flowers
  • Extracts
  • Tinctures
  • Tea
  • Bath gels

Lavender Oil

Lavender for Children

Oral use of lavender in children is really not recommended.  Lavender can just be used on children if it is in diluted form already.  Lavender can heal minor cuts and scrapes which are very common among children.  Aromatherapy using lavender can also be used on children. Just add 2 to 4 drops in 3 glasses of hot water.  Let the child inhale the steam given off by the mixture if he or she is suffering from depression, headache or insomnia.

Lavender for Adults
For tea-lovers, you can put 1-2 teaspoons of whole lavender herb in a cup of boiling or hot water.  Steep the tea for 10-15 minutes.  You can drink the tea 2 to 3 times a day, depending on your preference.

For inhalation method, just add 2-4 drops of lavender essential oil in boiling water and inhale the vapours.  This method is believed to cure headache, depression or insomnia. For topical application, lavender can be applied neat (undiluted).  However, if you have sensitive skin, you can dilute the lavender oil with a carrier or base oil before applying it on your skin.  Using lavender oil internally is a big no-no.

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Safety Precautions

Although we all know that lavender essential oils and herbs are 100% natural, always remember that herbs still contain active components that can interact with other supplements or medications which can trigger harmful side effects. If you are under medication, pregnant or breastfeeding, it would be best if you consult your doctor first before using lavender essential oil or herb.

Although experiencing side effects or allergies from lavender is very rare, consulting a doctor first will help keep the allergies and harmful side effects at bay.  Consulting and getting the approval of your doctor will prevent unwanted results.  Individuals who have reported allergies to lavender experienced chill, headache, nausea and vomiting. 

Possible Interactions or Side Effects
For people who are taking CNS depressants for their medication, they might experience harmful side effects from lavender.  Although there have been no reports of interactions between lavender and conventional medications, there are relaxing qualities of lavender that are believed to enhance the effects of depressants.  These effects are believed to target the central nervous system.  If you are taking CNS depressants, do not use lavender unless you have already consulted with your doctor.

Alternative names:
Lavender comes in different names in different countries.  Knowing about their common names from some countries might be of help to you.  Here are some common names of lavender: Garden lavender, English lavender and French lavender.  Some countries have their own name for lavender, especially those that have their own language.  You can search the Internet or read botanic books about if you want to know the native name of lavender in some countries.  Being aware on how to use lavender essential oil will surely help you in easing certain medical conditions naturally.

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