Lavender is one of the most versatile herbs. Lavender oil is extracted mostly from the flowers of the lavender plant, primarily through steam distillation. The flowers of lavender are fragrant in nature and have been used for making potpourri for centuries. Traditionally, lavender essential oil has also been used in making perfumes.
The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation, and treat respiratory problems. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its particularly pleasant aroma.
NOTE: Lavender is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it promotes menstruation and blood flow to the pelvic area. Pregnant and nursing women should consult with their physician before using this oil for any application.
Benefits Of Lavender Essential Oil
A powerful anti-bacterial herb, lavender oil can be mixed with natural surfactants to create more efficient household cleaners. Use a few drops of lavender oil to clean infected wounds, prevent infection, and promote faster healing.
2. Improve Complexion
Due to its anti-bacterial properties, lavender oil is an effective treatment for acne that also helps to balance sebum production and improve complexion. Add lavender oil to an all-natural cleanser or moisturizer to help clear up acne and reduce scarring. A few drops of lavender oil added to a carrier oil can help alleviate the itching and dryness caused by eczema. The same can be used to soothe minor rashes and other skin irritations such as those caused by excessive heat and humidity or environmental allergens.
3. Anti-Fungal Remedy
Rub a few drops of lavender oil on skin infected with ringworm. Repeat once per day until the fungus has been eliminated. Apply lavender oil daily on nails infected with fungus to moisturize and heal while the new healthy nail grows out. Soak feet in lavender-infused water to ease irritation from and help heal fungal infections.
4. Bug/Insect Repellent
The smell of lavender essential oil is potent for many types of bugs like mosquitoes, midges, and moths. Apply some lavender oil on the exposed skin when outside to prevent these irritating bites. Furthermore, if you do happen to be bitten by one of those bugs, lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory qualities that will reduce the irritation and the pain associated with bug bites.
5. Calm Nerves
Lavender oil or lavender-infused water can help to calm nerves and cure anxiety. Rub or spray on temples, forehead, and back of jaw to relieve stress or use as a preventative before entering a stressful environment.
6. Induces Sleep
Lavender essential oil induces sleep and is thus used as an alternative treatment for insomnia. Frequent studies on elderly patients have shown an increase in their sleep regularity when their normal sleep medication is replaced with some lavender essential oil being placed on their pillows. It has a relaxing impact on people; thereby, it often replaces modern medicines for sleep issues.
7. Treats Acne
According to dermatologists and aromatherapists, lavender essential oil is one of the most beneficial oils in the treatment of acne, which is a very uncomfortable and embarrassing condition that primarily affects young people as they move through puberty, but can also afflict adults. It is characterized by red, raised sores on the face and body that develop due to a bacterial infection near the sebum gland. When sebum cannot be properly secreted from the sebum glands on the face, it begins to build up, particularly because puberty stimulates extra sebum and bacteria feed off of it, creating a vicious cycle of irritation, infection, and visible sores that can result in serious scarring.
8. Boosts Immunity
Regular use of lavender essential oil provides resistance to a variety of diseases. Lavender has antibacterial and antiviral qualities that make it perfect for defending the body against rare diseases like TB, typhoid, and diphtheria, according to early research in the 20th century.
9. Treats Respiratory Disorders
Lavender oil is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infection, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. The oil is either used in the form of vapor or is applied to the skin of neck, chest, and back. It is also added to many vaporizers and inhalers that are commonly used for cold and cough. The stimulating nature of lavender essential oil can also loosen up the phlegm and relieve congestion associated with respiratory conditions, thus speeding up the recovery process and helping the body naturally eliminate phlegm and other unwanted material. The vapor of lavender essential oil also has antibacterial qualities which can battle respiratory tract infections.
10. Hair Care
Lavender essential oil is useful for hair care because it has been shown to be very effective on lice, lice eggs, and nits. Furthermore, lavender essential oil has also been shown to be very helpful in the treatment of hair loss, particularly for patients who suffer from alopecia, an autoimmune disease where the body rejects its own hair follicles. A Scottish study reported that more than 40% of alopecia patients in the study reported an increase in hair growth when they regularly rubbed lavender essential oil into their scalp. Therefore, lavender oil is sometimes recommended as a preventative measure for male pattern baldness.
11. Prevents Cancer
There is a significant research on the effects of lavender, in combination with other essential oils, as a way to prevent the occurrence of breast cancer in mice. This could be an indication of an increased chance of lavender battling carcinogenic effects and the presence of cancer.
12. Aids in Digestion
Lavender oil is useful for digestion because it increases the mobility of food within the intestine. The oil also stimulates the production of gastric juices and bile, thus aiding in the treatment of indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Side Effects Of Lavender Essential Oil
Following are the common side effects some people witness:
There are some risks to this potent oil. They are:
Pregnant and breastfeeding women: As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should avoid using lavender essential oil.
Diabetics: It is also recommended that patients with diabetes stay away from lavender oil.
Hormone disruptor: Regular exposure to lavender oil can work as a hormone disruptor as it leads to abnormal breast growth in young boys.
Allergy: It may also cause allergic reactions like skin irritation to people who have unusually sensitive skin.
Ingestion: Ingestion of lavender oil can cause serious health complications, characterized by blurred vision, difficulty in breathing, burning eyes, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg.