Top 15 Lavender Essential Oil Benefits & Uses

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Scott Johnson (AMP, CEEOS, CCMA, CPC)

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Lavender essential oil has many proven benefits, which include relieving stress and anxiety, reducing nervous tension, and decreasing pain. It is also used for skin and hair care purposes like disinfecting the scalp, boosting hair growth and preventing acne breakouts. Moreover, lavender oil helps in enhancing blood circulation and helps against respiratory problems. Lavender oil is used extensively in aromatherapy and works as a natural sleep aid. Its potent antibacterial nature makes it a wonderful household cleaner and deodorant.

What is Lavender Essential Oil?

The lavender essential oil is extracted from the flowers of the lavender plant (Lavandula angustifolia), primarily through steam distillation. Lavender flowers have a calming fragrance and are used for making potpourri for centuries. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”. This is because lavender flowers and lavender essential oil have been used since ancient times by the Romans, Persians, Greeks, and Egyptians as a bath additive and perfume.

The lavender essential oil is pure oil and differs from certain commercial lavender oils which may be diluted and are often sold as perfumes. Lavender perfume and body sprays are popular due to their fresh and floral scent. On the other hand, the pure lavender essential oil is frequently used in various forms including aromatherapy oil, in gels, infusions, lotions, soaps, baby products, and candles. It is also used to make tea, lemonades, syrups, aromatic beverages, and baked dishes.

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Lavender Essential Oil Uses & Benefits

The powerful health benefits of the lavender essential oil include the following:

Promotes Wound Healing

The lavender essential oil is an excellent essential oil to have on hand as it helps heal minor cuts, bruises, and burns. According to a 2016 study published in the BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine journal, it boosts the synthesis of collagen and heals skin tissues.

Rub a few drops of lavender essential oil on the bruised area or on burns to increase blood circulation and healing. It can also be used to soothe skin irritations, razor bumps, and sunburn.

Two bottles with lavender oil and a bowl of sea salt with lavender flowers on a wooden table

Inhaling the fragrance of lavender essential oil helps to rejuvenate you. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Neuroprotective Effect

A study published in Brain Research (February 2014) showed that lavender oil has the potential to reduce brain edema and improve functional ability in people affected by cerebral ischemia. While lavender has traditionally been used in many cosmetic and therapeutic applications due to medicinal properties, this study confirms that lavender oil has potent neuroprotective properties. Furthermore, it also helps increase antioxidant capacity in the body and inhibits oxidative stress.

Relieves Stress & Anxiety

Applying a few drops of lavender oil to your temples may provide some relief from migraines, headaches, depression, nervous tension, and emotional stress. You can also add a few drops of lavender oil to your bath water to reduce nervous exhaustion and restlessness. This is because terpenoids like linalool and linalyl acetate, present in lavender essential oil, have powerful anxiolytic abilities.

A 2018 research by Western University of Health Sciences, California shows that the oil may be an excellent tonic for anxiety issues. Multiple studies suggest that oral administration of lavender preparations reduces anxiety. Dr. Nicolette Perry from the Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Universities of Newcastle and Northumbria, UK, in her research paper, verified that aromatherapy helps manage chronic pain, anxiety, and insomnia.

Helps with 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. It can be put in an aromatherapy essential oil diffuser or alternatively, it can be topically 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 that can battle respiratory tract infections.

Promotes Sleep

Lavender essential oil induces sleep and is often used as an alternative treatment for insomnia. Put a few drops of the fragrant oil in your palms and rub it on your pillowcase and bedsheets. It will ensure a good night’s sleep.

A team of researchers studied the effects of lavender aromatherapy on 67 women in Taiwan aged 45-55 years. The volunteers showed a significant improvement in sleep quality and a persistent positive effect of heart rate variability with an increase in parasympathetic modulation.

Anti-bacterial Properties

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.

Fights Acne

According to dermatologists, the lavender essential oil is one of the most beneficial oils against acne. Its antibacterial and therapeutic properties were verified by Dr. Gerhard Buchbayer from the Department of Clinical Pharmacy & Diagnostics, University of Vienna. 

Pure lavender essential oil inhibits the bacteria that cause the initial acne infection, helps to regulate the over-excretion of sebum by hormonal manipulation and can reduce the signs of scarring after the acne has begun to heal. Adding a small amount of lavender essential oil to other skin creams or ointments can greatly increase the potential for relief and healing.

Hair Care

The lavender essential oil is useful for hair care because it has been shown to be very effective on lice, lice eggs, and nits. Furthermore, therapeutic grade lavender essential oil has also been shown to be very helpful against hair loss, particularly for people with 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.

Relieves Pain

The lavender essential oil is known as an excellent remedy for various types of pains including those caused by sore and tense muscles, muscular aches, rheumatism, sprains, backache, and lumbago. A regular massage with lavender oil can provide relief from pain in the joints.

A study was done by Dr. Jung Kim, Department of Anesthesiology, New York University Medical Center on postoperative pain relief. It showed that combining lavender essential oil vapor into the oxygen improved satisfaction rate with pain control, versus those patients who were only revived with oxygen after major surgery. 

Bug 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, spike lavender essential oil has anti-inflammatory qualities that will reduce the irritation and the pain associated with bug bites.

Stimulates Urine Flow

The lavender essential oil is good for urinary disorders because of its stimulating effect on urine production. Furthermore, it helps in restoring hormonal balance and reducing cystitis or inflammation of the urinary bladder. It also reduces associated cramps with these and other disorders.

Improves Blood Circulation

The lavender essential oil is also good for improving the circulation of blood in the body. 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 to help with hypertension.

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 providing some relief from indigestion, stomach pain, colic, flatulence, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Helps against Eczema

Premium lavender oil is used against various skin disorders such as acne, wrinkles, psoriasis, and other inflammatory conditions. It is commonly used to speed up the healing process of wounds, cuts, burns, and sunburns because it improves the formation of scar tissues. It is also added to chamomile oil to fight eczema.

Anticancer Potential

According to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, human studies are needed to find out the depth of lavender oil properties that may help against cancer. However, the oil has properties that help provide relief against insomnia, mental stress, and anxiety, which can go a long way during cancer therapy.

An infographic on health benefits of lavender essential oil

Lavender oil helps you get a good night’s sleep. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Other Benefits

Other health benefits of the lavender essential oil include its ability to help against leucorrhoea. The oil can also be used to repel mosquitoes and moths so you may find many mosquito repellents containing lavender oil as one of the primary ingredients.

How to Use Lavender Essential Oil?

  • The most popular use of lavender oil is to mix it with a carrier oil like sweet almond oil or jojoba oil and massage with it.
  • You can also add this infusion to your baths for a relaxing effect.
  • Use it as a perfume every day while starting your day. It will help you stay fresh for longer.
  • Many people use lavender oil as a lip balm. We suggest you do a patch testing before anything so that there are no unwanted side effects.
  • Use it in a diffuser.

Side Effects of Lavender Essential Oil

According to the National Center for Complementary & Integrative Health, oral intake is not safe and while using this oil some people may experience:

  • Skin irritation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Pain in joints
  • Stomach issues

Risks

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 consult their healthcare practitioner before using lavender essential oil.
  • Children: Caution should be exercised while using the oil especially on children.
  • Allergy: It may also cause allergic reactions like skin irritation to people who have unusually sensitive skin.
  • Blending: Handcraft lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including cedarwood, pine, clary sage, geranium, and nutmeg.
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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