The Wonderful Health Benefits of Lavender Oil
I use Lavender essential oil every day, and it still amazes me how many uses it has for almost anything that comes up in my everyday life. So many people ask advice on where to find lavender oil and how to use it, I decided to share what I have learned, hope it helps and inspires you!
I love Lavender. Not just for its healing and practical properties, but also because the scent of lavender has an almost magical effect on my mood. It takes me back to the dried lavender flowers my grandmother had in her house, and the lavender flower fields I visited in France.
Before you use lavender yourself though, make sure you get the RIGHT stuff:
Table of Contents
- Beware of Fake Lavender Aroma
- What is the difference between Lavandin and Lavender?
- What is Real Lavender?
- Lavender Essential Oil
- 2. Improves Mood and Brain Function
- 3. Purify and Heal Skin
- 4. Sleep and Insomnia
- 5. Non-Toxic Air Fresheners
- 6. Chemical-Free Lip Balm
- 7. Relieve Stomach Discomfort
- 8. Flavor Boost in Recipes
- 9. Headache Remedy
- 10. Natural Perfume
- 11. Diabetes Treatment
- Ninja tip: Maximum effect with the right diffuser
- Before you start using Lavender essential oil...
- Take Away
Beware of Fake Lavender Aroma
Some people do not like lavender. Usually it is because they associate the odor with a flat, one-dimensional fragrance that gives headaches. This is because a lot of lavender aroma is used in synthetic products. For example in air fresheners, candles and cosmetics. This is a chemical compound that mimics the smell, but is not lavender itself.
What is the difference between Lavandin and Lavender?
Lavandin is also often sold as lavender oil. Lavandin is a hybrid of two types of Lavender: lavender (Lavandula officinalis L. angustifolia) and Aspic (Lavandula spica or L. latifolia). The smell is like lavender, but slightly less flowery and slightly smelling of camphor. Lavandin does not have the same therapeutic qualities as Lavender. so beware when you buy lavender essential oil you actually get the true oil.
What is Real Lavender?
Lavender, Lavandula officinalis, is native to the Mediterranean. It is an evergreen woody shrub, 1-3 ft high with beautiful violet-blue flowers.
True lavender has a deep, rich flavor and is much less sharp than the artificial aroma. Fortunately real, 100% natural lavender oil is affordable and happens to be one of the most popular essential oils.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a great and long lasting alternative to fresh lavender, it smells delicious and is very versatile. However, true lavender oil is scarce because it is a very much needed oil. The best lavender essential oil comes from plants that grow higher than 1500 feet.
How to use it?
Lavender oil has many applications, but these are my personal favorites:
1. Antioxidant Protection
Free radicals are the toxins that can shut down your immune system. This can cause some major damage to your body. The natural way to battle against these free radicals is to build up antioxidant enzymes. Some of the most important enzymes are glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase. All of these work together to prevent free radicals from causing any damage.
Lavender oil and antioxidants
As we become overwhelmed with free radicals it becomes difficult for our bodies to make antioxidants. But there are many natural remedies that can help your body create those very important antioxidants. One way to do this is by using lavender essential oil.
There has been lots of research done on how lavender oil helps your body produce those three important antioxidants. In many cases, the oil will help your body produce glutathione, catalase, and superoxide dismutase within 22 hours of using it.
A group of Romanian scientists have seen similar results by inhaling lavender oil vapor for 60 minutes a day. Diffusing this oil has also been linked to helping to protect cells against damage that can lead to cancer.
2. Improves Mood and Brain Function
In 2013, it was discovered that lavender oil could help protect you against neurological damage. Traditionally, this oil has helped treat migraines, stress, anxiety, and depression.
A study by the International Journal of Psychiatry found that if you take an 80mg capsule of lavender oil every day, that it can help relieve your anxiety, sleep disturbance, and even depression. The study also found that there were no adverse side effects from taking lavender oil capsules.
So what does this mean? This means that it might be better for you to take lavender than a pharmaceutical drug that is able to help you manage anxiety and depression.
There has been other research done that shows that lavender oil can help minimize the effects of Alzheimer's disease. In fact, the Phytomedicine journal mentioned that inhaling lavender oil for 60 minutes a day can help prevent brain oxidative stress in rats that have dementia. Diffusing lavender oil has also been shown to help postpartum women deal with postnatal depression.
3. Purify and Heal Skin
Due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant components, lavender oil when mixed into Aloe Vera gel or Coconut Oil can be very beneficial to your skin. Just mix together 10 drops of oil for every ounce of aloe vera or oil. This mixture can help soothe sunburns, quickly heal dry skin, and help minor cuts and scraps.
Research has shown that lavender oil is able to speed up the recovery time of canker sores and even prevent allergic reactions from getting worst. To minimize age spots, you can mix lavender and frankincense oil together. Then apply it every morning, after every shower, and right before you go to bed.
4. Sleep and Insomnia
A recent study was done that showed that college students that used lavender oil were able to improve their quality of sleep by 60%.The items that the study looked at included how long they slept, the time it took to fall asleep, and restfulness. The Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine discovered that lavender oil was able to have immediate improvements on people who struggle with insomnia.
How does Lavender help with sleep?
The researchers found that lavender increases slow-wave sleep, the very deep sleep in which your muscles relax and your heartbeat slows. Your brain also organizes memory in this phase, which helps you function better during the day.
The best way to use lavender oil to improve your sleep is to diffuse it right before you go to sleep. If you do not have a diffuser you can rub in on your neck, chest, and temples instead. You can also use this oil to create a healing bath. Simply add 15 drops of oil and 1 cup of Epsom salts to your bath water. This will create a relaxing healing bath that can also improve your sleep.
5. Non-Toxic Air Fresheners
You can also use lavender oil as a natural, non-toxic air freshener. To do this you can diffuse or simply spray the oil around your house. This will create a very relaxing atmosphere in every room of your home. Mix lavender oil and water into a spray bottle. Doing this will make it easier for you to spray it everywhere.
There is a limitless number of ways that you can use the lavender oil around your home. For a restful night sleep try spraying your bed sheets or pillow with the water and oil mixture. You can also spray all your bath towels to create a peaceful showering experience.
6. Chemical-Free Lip Balm
Lavender oil has also been able to prevent your lips from getting sunburned and can help heal chapped dried lips. Add a few drops of lavender oil to shea butter, coconut oil, jojoba oil, or any other carrier oil. Once you have mixed it all together you can simply apply it to your lips whenever you will be out in the sun.
You can also use this mixture on other areas of your body that are already sunburned. This will help your skin heal quicker, prevent itchiness, and any peeling that can come from a bad sunburn.
7. Relieve Stomach Discomfort
There are many people that have found that the scent of lavender oil is able to help soothe any stomach problems. Some stomach problems that this oil can help with includes nauseous and motion sickness. Simply spray some lavender oil onto your temples, neck and palms. You can also spray it right onto your clothes.
8. Flavor Boost in Recipes
Lavender works as a great flavor enhancer. It can elevate grain-free muffins, teas, and salad dressings. With is powerful flavor you only have to use a small amount of lavender oil. Try adding 1 or 2 drops of oil to all of your favorite recipes. Lavender will pair perfectly with dark chocolate (or even better, raw cacao!), apples, pure honey, cranberries, black pepper, and balsamic vinaigrette.
9. Headache Remedy
There is a surprising number people all around the world that suffer from tension and migraine headaches. Many of these people are looking for a natural alternative to drugs. A new medical research study has shown that lavender oil could be the best natural headache cure.
A study in the European Journal of Neurology showed that people who struggle with migraines were able to see a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes. The most effective treatment is to mix lavender and peppermint oil together. Then simply rub this mixture into the back of your neck, temples, and foreheads.
10. Natural Perfume
Wanting to smell good without using toxic perfumes can be a tough challenge. But lavender oil works as great non-toxic perfume. You can add the oil directly to your skin or you can dilute it with some water for a more subtle scent.
If you want to rub into directly into your skin, rub 2 to 3 drops of oil into your skin. It can also be sprayed directly onto your clothes, hair, and skin. For a more subtle scent mix 2 drops of oil with 1/2 cup of water in a spray bottle. This makes it easy for you to spray wherever you want. To create a customized scent you can combine other oils together.
11. Diabetes Treatment
In 2014, a study was done to test the effects that lavender oil has on blood sugar levels and if it can help with diabetes. The 15-day study revealed some great results. Lavender oil treatment can help protect your body from the following diabetes symptoms:
- Increase in blood glucose
- Metabolic disorders
- Weight gain
- Liver and kidney antioxidant depletion
Since it helps with all of these symptoms, lavender oil can be used as a treatment option for diabetics. With so many promising results, there should be many more research studies done over the benefits of lavender oil and diabetes.
Warning: Do not start experimenting on your own with using the oil for diabetes. Consult your physician before using lavender oil.
Ninja tip: Maximum effect with the right diffuser
Which Essential Oil Diffuser to Use?
With many methods to help relieve stress, anxiety, and depression it is recommended that you keep a diffuser by your bed. This will give the ability to diffuse oils while you sleep at night, which can help improve sleep. I use the URPower Cool Mist Essential Oil Difuser, as part of my winding down ritual when I'm reading a book in bed before sleep 🙂
This model has man great features, such as:
- can contain 100 ml of oil so you don't need to refill often
- doubles funtion as a cool mist humidifier
- is waterless
- an auto shut-off function
- can change color with LED lights, if you want
- can safely be used at home, in the office or the nursery
This has been the most popular diffuser for years, you can find all the extra features of the latest model on Amazon.
Before you start using Lavender essential oil...
With so many great benefits of lavender oil, there are a few side effects that you should look at before you choose to this oil. For many people, lavender is a completely safe oil to use. But there has not any research been done to show how lavender oil interacts with other medicines, pregnant women, and other situations.
If you taking prescription medicine for any sleep related disorders, depression or diabetes use caution when using lavender oil. Especially since the lavender oil can increase the effectiveness of these medications. This can also be true when you use an over-the-counter sleep aid or any other type of sedative. Always keep in mind that lavender can make people sleepy and drowsy to it is not a good idea to combine this oil with sleep-related supplements or other medications.
There has been a limited amount of research done on the effects that lavender oil can have on pregnant or nursing women. The relaxing effects that lavender oil has can affect muscles, and hormone levels. This is why women in their third trimester should avoid using lavender oil. But the best practice is to talk with your doctor about using any kind of essential oils when pregnant.
Children and Lavender Oil
Currently, lavender oil is thought to be safe for children. But there are still some concerns that lavender can affect hormone levels. This is especially true for boys who have not gone through puberty. However, there is no strong evidence that lavender is able to disrupt hormone levels. It is recommended that parents use caution if they are going to use lavender oil on their young children.
Lavender oil enhances the effects of other essential oil and can therefore be combined with almost any essential oil.
Lavender essential oil is indispensable in your collection of essential oils and perfect for anyone who wants to start with aromatherapy.
Research and Studies on Lavender:
- de Rapper S, et al. The In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil in Combination with Other Aroma-Therapeutic Oils.
- Hancianu M, et al. Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia
- Hichem Sebai, et al. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress
- Wang D, et al. Neuroprotective activity of lavender oil on transient focal cerebral ischemia
- Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions
- Conrad P, et al. The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman
- Altaei DT, Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration