The Essentials of Lavender Oil

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On September 4, 2019

What Is Lavender

Lavender is a plant in which the essential oil is extracted from its flowering tops. The flowers are what give the oil such a sweet, yet powerful scent. The purple flowers grow in on a “spike” sprouting from the bottom of the plant. The entire plant can grow to be about 3 feet tall. This plant is native to England, France, Tasmania, and Yugoslavia. Herbalists from across the world have used the plant cure head pains, fainting, and cramps for ages. Many zoos use the scent to calm ferocious animals.

What Are The Health Benefits?

Lavender essential oil is helpful for and aids in soothing burns, inflammation, cuts, wounds, eczema, dermatitis, fainting, headaches, influenza, insomnia, hysteria, migraine, nausea, nervous tension, infections, bacterial conditions, sores, ulcers, acne, boils, asthma, rheumatism, and arthritis. Lavender upholds the spirit by bringing a sense of deep relaxation, and supporting compassion and tenderness towards others.

Lavender May Also Help With:

Pain Relief

Some people reach for over-the-counter pain relievers when dealing with acute or chronic pain. And depending on the severity of pain, you might seek a prescription from your doctor.

Before going the traditional route to help ease pain, try aromatherapy with 2 percent lavender essential oil that is diluted in water. One study found lavender to be an effective remedy for postoperative pain. It can function as a pain reliever because the oil contains linalyl acetate and linalool anti-inflammatory components that are found in many essential oils.

Reduce Blood Pressure & Heart Rate

Chronic high blood pressure puts added stress on the heart, increasing the risk of health complications like stroke and heart attack. But a small study published in 2017 in the Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research found that when 40 people inhaled lavender essential oil after open-heart surgery, they reduced their blood pressure and heart rate, suggesting the oil had a positive effect on their vital signs. Yet the authors note more research is needed on this possible benefit — namely, a randomized controlled trial, the gold standard for medical research, with a larger sample size.

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Also 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.

Help Combat Fungus Growth

There are also a number of studies highlighting the potential anti-fungal activity of lavender. Studies suggest that lavender essential oil may be effective in inhibiting the growth of certain types of fungus, such as C. albicans. The oil could also act as a remedy for treating athlete’s foot and ringworm, which are also caused by fungus, according to previous research.

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.

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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 affect hormone levels, use lavender with caution in your third trimester. It’s best to speak with your doctor about the 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 disruptor (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.

A Final Word

From its anti-aging properties to its role in alleviating stress or improving cognition, the benefits of lavender essential oil explain its popularity in society throughout the years. Incorporate the use of lavender essential oil into your daily routine.

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