Two characteristics are often associated with lavender: its scent and its color. You may not be aware that both the lavender flower and its oil have a long history in herbal medicine.
Lavender is a Latin root that literally means “to wash.” It was first used in ancient Egypt. Lavender oil was used in mummification.
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Later, lavender was used as a bath additive in many regions including Persia and Greece. These cultures believed that lavender was good for the mind and body.
Lavender has many health benefits
Lavender has been used since ancient times to relieve symptoms and support multiple conditions. While many of the health benefits have been confirmed by modern science, others remain to be discovered.
These are some of the benefits that lavender may provide:
- hair loss
Side effects of chemotherapy
- Dry skin and eczema
- wound healing
- Mood issues
People with insomnia and other sleep disorders used lavender to help them fall asleep. To help people fall asleep faster and get better sleep, they used lavender flowers as pillows.
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Research suggests that lavender aroma may improve sleep quality. Inhaling lavender essential oil, according to a systematic review of 15 studies, has been shown to have positive effects on mild sleep disorders. Many smaller studies have also found benefits from lavender for sleep problems.
A 2015 study showed that lavender aromatherapy users felt more awake upon waking up. A 2010 study on patients with anxiety disorders found that lavender oil orally administered helped them to sleep longer at night.
People with anxiety may find support in lavender. A large meta-analysis of 2019 found that people suffering from anxiety experienced significant reductions in anxiety when they took 160-milligrams of lavender oil capsules. Similar results have been found in other studies.
One 2015 study involved 60 patients in a coronary Intensive Care Unit. Researchers found that lavender essential oil helped to lower anxiety levels and improve sleep quality.
A 2010 study compared lavender capsules with lorazepam to determine if the effects of lavender were similar to that of the prescription drug.
Alopecia aerata is a condition that causes hair loss in patches. Topical application of lavender oil may be a good option.
A 1998 study that included 86 patients with alopecia wereata found that 44% of them experienced increased hair growth after applying essential oils to their scalp for 7 months.
Although this is a promising study, it’s not clear if the lavender could have influenced hair growth.
A 2021 animal study also showed that lavender oil stimulated hair growth in a 28-day period.
Migraines and headaches
Lavender’s calming properties may be enough to ease a migraine or headache.
A 2016 study found that migraine sufferers who had received three months of lavender therapy were less likely to score lower than those who received a placebo.
Another 2012 study found that migraine sufferers who inhaled lavender essential oils for 15 minutes were less likely to develop headaches. These participants experienced a decrease in headache frequency and severity.
Side effects of chemotherapy
According to the National Cancer Institute, aromatherapy can be used to help patients with cancer deal with side effects. Aromatherapy using lavender may reduce anxiety related to cancer treatment.
Although the effects of lavender on depression are not as well-documented as those on anxiety and other mental disorders, research is encouraging.
A 2016 study of postpartum women showed that lavender aromatherapy helped to reduce stress, anxiety and depression.
A 2015 small study focused on people with kidney disease. Researchers found that people who inhaled lavender fragrance for one hour during hemodialysis had lower levels of stress and depression than those who didn’t.
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In a small 2020 study, older adults who consumed lavender tea twice daily for two weeks experienced lower levels anxiety and depression.
Lavender oil is a gentler treatment than more aggressive ones due to its ability kill bacteria.
A 2013 study showed that a combination of aloe vera gel and lavender oil effectively inhibited one strain of bacteria that causes acne.
Traditional burn treatment with lavender has been around for a long time. Some older research suggests that there is scientific evidence to support this claim. A 2009 study found that lavender’s antimicrobial activity may also be helpful in preventing infections following a burn.
Conditions of the skin
Lavender contains two inflammation-fighting compounds called linalool and linalyl acetate. These compounds may offer relief for skin problems such as:
- Wound healing
The soothing properties of lavender might also be used to heal skin injuries.
20 studies were reviewed and found that lavender oil increases the rate of healing wounds, promotes the growth of collagen, and boosts the tissue remodeling process.
Naturally, lavender begins as a plant that produces bright purple flowers. It has a pleasant scent in its original form. The buds can be added to food, used in potpourri, or brewed in tea. To freshen your linens, you can dry them and put small sachets inside your drawers.
Aromatherapy uses lavender a lot. You can enjoy the calming scent of lavender oil by simply holding a bottle to your nose and taking in its aroma.
You may want to diffuse a few drops of oil in a diffuser for a longer-lasting experience. This will allow the oil to spread throughout the room.
Side effects and safety
The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health states that it is safe to consume lavender in amounts similar to those used in food. Enjoy your lavender tea, honey, and muffins!
Safety is also assured for short-term oral supplements such as lavender capsules.
Your skin’s tolerance will determine whether lavender can be used as a topical or inhalable oil. Lavender oil can cause an allergic reaction in some people. Before you apply lavender oil to your skin, always use a carrier and test it on a small area.
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It is still unclear if lavender is safe for pregnant women or nursing mothers. Talk to your doctor if you have any questions about lavender treatment.