The aromatic lavender plant does far more than just smell wonderful. The oils from this shrub, a native of the western Mediterranean, also offer a number of surprising health benefits.1
Although there are almost 40 plants in the mint family that fall under the common name “lavender,” the one most of us think of when we hear the name is English lavender or Lavandula angustifolia.
This popular plant’s tiny sweet-smelling purple flowers can now be seen growing throughout Europe, Australia and the United States.
Top 7 ways to use lavender essential oil
The oils extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant can be used for a variety of medicinal purposes.
1. Alleviate anxiety:
Traditionally lavender scents, and specifically lavender essential oil, has been used as a remedy to relieve anxiety, and studies do indeed suggest a massage with the aromatic oil can be beneficial.1
One recent study takes that even further, finding that a capsule preparation of the oil can act in much the same way as some anti-anxiety medications!2
To create massage oils, a few drops of lavender oil can be combined with a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba.
2. Get a better night’s sleep:
It turns out the same capsule preparation researchers studied for anxiety may be so effective at reducing restlessness that it could improve both the quality of your sleep and how long you sleep.1,3
Try adding a drop of essential lavender oil to your pillow at bedtime or use a lavender infused eye pillow to both block out light and support restful sleep.
3. Help hair to grow:
Want healthier hair? A study suggests that massaging your scalp every day with lavender essential oil may help ward off hair loss from the autoimmune condition alopecia areata.
Even more exciting, the oil also appears to be able to encourage NEW hair growth!4
4. Fight fungus:
A recent study reveals common skin and nail conditions might not stand much of a chance against lavender oil.The oil was shown to have a strong action against nail fungus and can even attack fungal cells at the cell membrane level.4
5. Support healthy circulation:
The scent of has long been popular for its relaxation effects, but now a recent study suggests aromatherapy with essential oils including lavender may also support normal circulation, while also helping to balance your cortisol (a hormone released during stress) levels.6,7
6. Pain relief:
Some research suggests aromatherapy with essential oils may be useful in pain control, such as after an operation.Another study finds foot massage with lavender essential oil may help in dealing with symptoms of chronic pain.8,9
7. Skin smoothing and protection:
In addition to being a remedy for skin fungus, lavender also supports overall skin smoothness to help you retain a fresh, radiant complexation.Plus lavender oil’s naturally high polyphenol content also offers ongoing skin protection.10
Lavender benefits go beyond the oil
It turns out it’s not just the oil of the lavender plant that’s good for you. The flowers themselves can also be useful.
In Germany, a tea using lavender flowers is a common remedy for addressing “insomnia, restlessness, and nervous stomach irritations.”1
Lavender has also become a popular ingredient in some gourmet foods such as chocolate. And if you happen to grow lavender in your own garden you can used the flowers in sachets to scent pillow cases and clothing.
Do you know of any other uses for lavender? Be sure to share them with us in the comments below!
1“Lavender,” University of Maryland Medical Center, www.umm.edu
2″A multi-center, double-blind, randomized study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder.” Phytomedicine. 17 (2).
3″Efficacy of orally administered Silexan in patients with anxiety-related restlessness and disturbed sleep – A randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” European Neuropsychopharmacology.
4″Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata.” Archives of Dermatology. 134 (11).
5″Zuzarte, M. et al. Chemical composition and antifungal activity of the essential oils of Lavandula viridis L’Hér.” Journal of Medical Microbiology.
6″Shiina, Y. et al. Relaxation effects of lavender aromatherapy improve coronary flow velocity reserve in healthy men evaluated by transthoracic Doppler echocardiography.” International Journal of Cardiology. 129 (2).
7″ Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects.” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
8″ Evaluation of Aromatherapy in Treating Postoperative Pain: Pilot Study.” Pain Practice. 6 (4).
9″Lavender and the Nervous System.”Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
10″Polyphenols: skin photoprotection and inhibition of photocarcinogenesis. “Mini Rev Med Chem. 2011 Dec;11(14):1200-15.
Dr. Edward F. Group III has his Naturopathic Doctorate, Clinical Herbalist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Clinical Nutritionist certifications, and is a Diplomate of the American Clinical Board of Nutrition and the American Board of Functional Medicine. He founded Global Healing Center Inc. in 1998 which has earned recognition as one of the largest alternative, natural and organic health resources on the Internet.
A dynamic author and speaker, Dr. Group focuses solely on spreading the message of health and wellness to the global community with the philosophy of full body cleansing, most importantly colon cleansing, consuming pure clean organic food, water, air, exercise and nutritional supplementation. Visit GlobalHealingCenter.com to learn more about living green and healthy!
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