Recognized as the most versatile essential oil, lavender oil is also one of the most widely used. Many experts say if you only use one essential oil, it should be lavender oil.
The use of lavender oil began more than 2,500 years ago. The ancient Egyptians used lavender oil in cosmetics and embalming. The Romans bathed with it. Lavender oil is also mentioned in the Bible, though it is referred to as “spikenard” or “nard.”
Extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant, lavender oil is produced using steam distillation. With more than 40 species of lavender, not all lavender is created equal. The most common form of lavender used in essential oils is Lavandula Angustifolia (also known as True Lavender, Bulgarian Lavender or English Lavender). Other variations of lavender are:
- Lavandin: a hybrid version used primarily in the fragrance industry
- Spike lavender (Lavandula Latifolia): a lavender plant grown at lower elevations that has a medicinal aroma and applications
- French lavender (Lavandula Stoechas): Also called Spanish Lavender or Topped Lavender, this type of lavender is dramatically different from other versions of lavender oil and should only be used with or by a trained practitioner.
Table of Contents
- 1 Lavender Oil Benefits and Uses
- 2 Where to Buy Lavender Oil
- 3 Precautions When Using Lavender Oil
- 4 Conclusion
Lavender Oil Benefits and Uses
Touted for its antioxidant, antimicrobial, and calming properties, lavender oil has numerous benefits and uses. How you use lavender oil will depend on the benefit you are seeking. Therefore, the benefits and uses are combined below so you get the specific benefit you are seeking. Because essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin, mix lavender oil with a carrier oil before applying it to your skin. Some of the best carrier oils are coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil.
1. Reduce Anxiety
In a study published in Phytomedicine, lavender oil was shown to be as effective as lorazepam (Ativan) in treating anxiety. The study measured the effectiveness of a lavender oil capsule called silexan in treating Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) compared to lorazepam. Additional studies supported the benefits of silexan in treating anxiety.
2. Fall Asleep Faster
The calming effects of lavender are well-documented, and many people use it to fall asleep at night. Several ways to accomplish this are described below.
3. Treat Skin Conditions
Because of its antimicrobial properties, lavender oil is used to treat acne, eczema and other skin conditions.
4. Slow Hair Loss and Relieve a Dry, Itchy Scalp
Lavender oil can help with dandruff and a dry itchy scalp, and a Scottish study found that more than 40% of alopecia patients experienced increased hair growth after regularly applying a mixture of essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood) in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed).
5. Treat Cuts and Burns
The antimicrobial properties of lavender oil make it an excellent choice for treating minor cuts and burns. Different techniques are described below.
6. Support Brain Function
We’ve already discussed how lavender oil can help you sleep better and reduce anxiety, but there is evidence that inhaling lavender vapor can help prevent dementia and treat postpartum depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). You can also inhale lavender vapor to get relief from headaches.
7. Repel Insects and Treat Bug Bites
Lavender oil can repel insects such as mosquitos and can be used to treat insect bites and stings.
8. Relieve Motion Sickness
Along with other essential oils (such as ginger, spearmint, and grapefruit), lavender oil can help relieve motion sickness and nausea.
9. Reduce Menstrual Cramps and Other Pain
A 2012 study published in Pain Management Nursing found that using lavender oil as an aromatherapy massage oil significantly reduced cramps caused by menstruation. You can also use it to relieve muscle pain. A study by Hong Kong Polytechnic Institute found that a lavender oil massage helped reduce back pain by as much as 39%.
Where to Buy Lavender Oil
Many companies produce and sell essential oils. Several of the largest are multi-level marketing (MLM) organizations (such as Young Living and DoTerra) that are considered somewhat controversial. Here are a few of the non-MLM companies (listed in alphabetical order) where you can purchase lemon oil.
- Eden’s Garden: Offering 100% pure therapeutic grade essential oils without bases, fillers, or additives, Eden’s Garden offers an unconditional guarantee and sources products from organic growers and distillers as much as possible. Certificates of analysis, specifications, and MSDS are available upon request. You can enroll in the Aroma Notes rewards program to earn points that can be redeemed toward purchases.
- Mountain Rose Herbs offers high-quality products and leads the industry in environmental stewardship and commitment to organic agriculture. The company also adheres to strict principles and protocols that ensure fair treatment and compensation for their workers and suppliers and farmers.
- Plant Therapy: This family-owned company prides itself on offering high-quality products as well as excellent customer service and fast, free shipping.
- Rocky Mountain Oils: Founded in 2004 by a group of wellness enthusiasts, Rocky Mountain Oils is a leading non-MLM purveyor of 100% pure, natural and authentic oils and related products. They also offer a satisfaction guarantee.
Precautions When Using Lavender Oil
When using lavender oil, be sure to follow these usage and safety guidelines.
- Don’t apply lavender oil directly on your skin. Instead, dilute it with a carrier oil (such as coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil). You should also do a patch test to ensure that you don’t have an allergic reaction.
- Lavender oil boosts the effects of sleep medication and anti-depressants. Therefore, be cautious when using lavender oil if you take these types of medications.
- Although safe to use during pregnancy, experts recommend caution during the third trimester.
- Lavender oil is not recommended for use with young boys as it has been linked to abnormal breast development. (This is also true for tea tree oil.)
- When diffusing essential oils, limit exposure to 15 to 20 minutes.
- Avoid contact with eyes and mucous membranes.
- Keep essential oils away from children.
Derived from steam distillation of lavender flowers, lavender oil has numerous benefits and uses, including reducing stress and anxiety, helping people fall asleep faster, reducing menstrual cramps, and treating minor cuts and burns. Lavender oil is also used for skin and hair care. Many experts say that if you only use one essential oil, it should be lavender oil. This means lavender oil should definitely have a place in your essential oils toolbox. How have you used lavender oil? Let us know in the comments!