Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils out there for some solid reasons. The steam distilled extract from the petals of Lavandula is called lavender oil. While the genus remains common, the oil can be extracted from multiple species like angustifolia, latifolia, stoechas and intermedia. In this blog, we will look at common and uncommon uses and health benefits of Lavender Essential oil. We’ll also decode various studies and research around this topic to have a science-backed understanding.
Lavender Essential Oil Benefits
You might mostly know this oil for its relaxing and floral aroma, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. Let’s look at the 10 most prominent Lavender essential oil benefits.
Lavender Essential Oil For Diffuser & Aromatherapy
It is almost impossible to find someone who doesn’t like lavender oil’s aroma, it also has a relaxing effect on our nervous system when used in a diffuser. Using Lavender essential oil for diffusers can help reduce stress and can also improve the quality of sleep. A study published in the International Journal of Psychiatry Clinical Practice found that lavender oil can help reduce anxiety and improve mood up to 60%. Another study conducted with 31 people showed that lavender increased the percentage of deep sleep in both men and women. Better slow wave sleep (SLS) also led to better vigour in the morning, thus improving the overall quality of life. The same study also showed that inhaling the aroma of lavender essential oil reduced Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. It is a great option to try if you are having trouble falling asleep or just wind down after a long and tiring day. To improve sleep quality, simply add 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil to your diffuser or pour one drop under your pillow.
Strengthens Immune System
Lavender essential oil can prevent up to 93% of bacterial growth. A study done by H M A Cavanagh1, J M Wilkinson showed some preliminary data on the antibacterial and antifungal properties of lavender oil. This information further paves the way for the understanding that it can help strengthen the immune system and support the body’s defence mechanism. These studies need deeper development as proper identification of oil continues to be a challenge.
Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil On Skin
It is common to find lavender oil on the ingredient list of multiple skincare and cosmetic products. That is because of the numerous benefits it has for the skin. Most importantly, it is anti-inflammatory and controls blemishes. It soothes irritated and disturbed skin. A study conducted on Lavandula angustifolia showed that low and controlled quantities of lavender essential oil can reduce skin inflammation and irritation. The same study also showed that higher doses of this oil can potentially cause or aggravate irritation.
Creates A Shield Against Free Radicals
Lavender oil is an antioxidant powerhouse. The natural compounds present in it help fight free radicals and create a protective layer against external agents like pollution. It even protects our cells from oxidative stress. Believe it or not, free radicals don’t just affect the appearance of our skin, they can severely damage the inner functioning of our organs. While some quantity of them is vital for the effective functioning of our body, an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants can cause serious harm. When used in skincare, there is so much that lavender essential oil can do for the face. It can control the signs of premature ageing and add a healthy glow.
Balances Women’s Hormones
A study conducted on women aged 45-55 years showed that aromatherapy with lavender essential oil results in reduced insomnia and helps release the hormone acetylcholine which slows the heart rate. It might be associated with reducing cortisol levels which are often associated with stress. While the research continues to evolve, many aromatherapy practitioners believe that along with stress, it is a good idea to use lavender essential oil for anxiety as well.
Might Help Reduce Pain
Lavender essential oil is considered to have natural analgesic properties. It might help reduce pain and the stress associated with it. A 2007 study conducted on patients post-surgery showed that that inhaling lavender oil after the surgery significantly reduce the need for analgesics in patients. Another study conducted on younger adults and children with burns showed stabilized respiratory and heart after inhaling lavender oil. Such research findings point towards the understanding that the aroma of lavender can significantly reduce pain or at least the perception of it. This also creates a way to explore its uses as an alternative pain-reducing treatment in future.
Benefits Of Lavender Essential For Hair Growth
In 2016, researchers conducted a very interesting study on female mice. They decided to test out whether lavender oil can help hair growth. Experimental groups of mice were applied with different concentrations of the oil. The results were then studied and published. It was found that the group which had lavender oil applied showed a greater number of hair follicles, deepened hair follicle depth, and thickened dermal layer.This study concluded that lavender essential oil could be considered an effective hair growth promoting agent. While more in-depth studies are required to prove its efficiency, many natural skincare companies already use it in their products. It is popularly used in anti-hairfall shampoos, conditioners, masks, serums and oils.
Controls Insect Infestation
Most insect repellents available in the market have harmful chemicals and inhaling or being exposed to them can cause harm to you and your loved ones. This creates an opportunity for natural options to keep insects away. Lavender essential oil has a reputation for not just repelling insects but also preventing them from coming back. D Setyaningsih and M R Alfiansyah from the Department of Agroindustrial Technology in IPB University, Bogor, Indonesia studied the effectiveness of oils like lavender in keeping mosquitos away and found positive results. They also explained to get optimum results you need to keep using the oil every one hour. Another study done in 2019 found that essential oils like lavender can be explored as natural, cost-effective and viable alternatives to expensive chemicals.
Balances Blood Sugar Levels
It is interesting to note that some studies have shown lavender essential oil to be efficient with metabolic support as well. In a study conducted in North-West of Tunisia, a group of rats showed antidiabetic nature when given lavendula oil. The study began when researchers observed that lavender oil has been extensively used in folk medicine for various ailments of central nervous system. Traditional healers used it for getting relief from migraine, epilepsy, cardiac disease and eczema.The study first established the core compounds of the oil as D-Fenchone and α-pinene. It concluded that lavender essential oil is efficient in protecting against diabetes and more studies continue to explore it in further detail before it can be used in mainstream medicine.
Reduces the Frequency Of Headaches
Modern lifestyle makes us susceptible to external stressors and frequent headaches. Using medicines continuously can cause more harm. This is where natural and herbal solutions come in. Lavender essential oil is one of the most studied oils for headache and migraine relief. It has shown promising results in reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches in multiple studies. One such study published in Medical Association of Thailand in 2012 observed a significant reduction in heart rate and autonomic arousal after inhaling lavender oil. Another study with forty-seven migraine patients found that inhaling lavender oil for even 15 minutes. can significantly reduce the severity of migraine.The next time you have a headache, consider diffusing a few drops of lavender oil.
Lavender is a versatile oil that has numerous applications beyond its aroma. Make sure to get a good quality oil that is 100% pure and natural. You can also buy the oil directly from a manufacturer or wholesale supplier to make it more cost effective. The right oil ensures you get the most benefits irrespective of the use. Look for an option that comes either in dark glass bottles or in aluminium bottles as exposure to sunlight can affect the quality of oil. Now, let's focus on some of the common and unique ways to use lavender essential oil.
Natural Laundry Deodorizer
A great natural way to make your clothes smell amazing is to add a few drops of lavender oil during the rinse cycle. It will give a soft floral scent to the clothes without any harsh chemicals. This works particularly well on linens and bedspreads. The scent will linger throughout the day and will keep everyone guessing the secret behind it.
This is a unique yet effective way to use lavender essential oil. Take any of your porous stones or beads and dip them in the oil. Let them soak the oil for at least 5-10 mins. You can then use them as usual. The oil will make your jewellery smell amazing and will also work synergistically with the therapeutic properties of the stone. Using gemstones to enhance aromatherapy practice is an upcoming field that many holistic practitioners have started looking at.
DIY Cellulite Massage Blend
Lavender essential oil for the skin is nothing less than a blessing. Create a massage blend by mixing a few drops of lavender with jojoba or almond oil and massage the affected area. This will increase the blood circulation in the affected area and will slowly lighten the cellulite.
Make Your Own Linen Sleep Spray
The aroma of lavender works as a mild sedative and can be a great natural way to tackle insomnia. You can use lavender essential oil to make your own sleep spray and use it on linens.
All you need to do is take a dark-coloured spray bottle and fill it with witch hazel or distilled water. Now add 10-15 drops of lavender oil and shake properly. You can spray it on your linens to make them smell fresh and floral. It will also help you feel more relaxed and sleep better.
Sunburn Soothing Mask
It is also believed to have cooling properties and hence you can use it to create a simple sunburn soothing mask. The anti-inflammatory properties of lavender will help calm any skin irritation and redness. Take some aloe vera gel (preferably fresh and organic). Mix 1-2 drops of lavender oil in it and apply the paste to the affected area. Leave it for 3-5 minutes and rinse with water. It is soothe and heal the affected skin.
A great way to use lavender essential oil on feet is to simply add a few drops of it to warm water and soak your feet in it. It will help reduce fatigue and the antibacterial properties of lavender will leave your feet squeaky clean. You can alternatively also mix lavender oil with coconut oil and massage your feet with it before sleeping. Not only will it nourish your skin, it will also help you sleep better.
Possible Side Effects & Safety Precautions
Lavender essential oil offers a wide range of uses and health benefits and is truly nature’s gift to mankind. But just like all natural products, it is important to learn the possible side effects and safety precautions to avoid any adverse reactions.
It is a potent and concentrated oil so always dilute is with a suitable carrier oil before using it on the skin. Start with a patch test on your elbow and wait for 24 hours. Continue using it if you do not see any redness or itching.
If you have pets in the house, diffuse the oil in well-ventilated spaces only. Watch for any unusual symptoms and immediately consult the vet. Store the oils away from pets and avoid ingestion in any case. Cats in particular can have liver toxicity if they ingest the oil or get exposed to it in undiluted form.
Pregnant and lactating women should avoid using it completely. While a lot of practitioners consider lavender to be a safe choice during pregnancy, it can cause an imbalance in hormones.
Lavender Oil is one of the most popular essential oils and it offers a wide range of uses and health benefits. While its scent continues to create magic in the world of perfumery, researchers have started looking into its medicinal and skincare applications.
From reducing headaches to balancing hormones and assisting in better sleep, it is an all-rounder oil and a must have in every household.
Whether you are a newbie or an essential oil expert, lavender essential oil will come in handy for various uses like DIY soaps, skincare, insect repellents, room sprays, foot soaks and so much more.