- Antioxidant Protection: Researchers from China have recently discovered that lavender essential oil helps your body produce three of your bodies most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, catalase, and SOD within 22 hours of using lavender essential oil! Romanian scientists have seen similar results after just seven days of inhaling lavender essential oil vapor for 60 minutes a day. They found that diffusing lavender oil protected cells from damage that can lead to cancer.
- Treatment for Diabetes: In 2014, Scientists from Tunisia set out to complete a fascinating task: to test the effects of lavender essential oil on blood sugar to see if it can help diabetes. During the 15-day study, the results observed by researchers were absolutely amazing. In a nutshell, lavender essential oil treatment protected the body from the following symptoms of diabetes: blood glucose increases, metabolic disorders, weight gain, liver and kidney antioxidant depletion, liver and kidney dysfunction, and lipoperoxidation.
- Improves Mood and Supports Brain Function: 2013 was the year lavender was put on the pedestal for its unique ability to protect against neurological damage. Traditionally, lavender has been used to treat neurological issues like migraines, stress, anxiety, and depression so it’s exciting to see that the research is finally catching up to history. Just last November, for instance, an evidence-based study was published by the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice. The study found that supplementing with 80 mg capsules of lavender essential oil alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression. Additionally, in the study there were no adverse side effects from using lavender oil to treat anxiety, insomnia and depression. Whereas we know pharmaceutical drugs like prozac have dangerous side effects. And according to research, lavender essential oil benefits don’t stop there, it has also been shown to reduce symptoms and development of Alzheimer’s disease! Last year, the journal Phytomedicine published a study which highlighted that inhaling lavender essential oil vapor for 60 minutes a day was shown to prevent brain oxidative stress in rats with dementia. Another study published in 2012 took 28 high-risk postpartum women and found that by diffusing lavender in their home they had a significant reduction of postnatal depression and reduced anxiety disorder after a four-week treatment plan of lavender aromatherapy. Also in 2012, the Swiss journal Molecules printed the results of a study that shockingly proved that lavender is a viable treatment option for stroke. Yes stroke! Another study proving that lavender aromatherapy improves mood was done on people suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The results revealed that just 80 mg of lavender oil per day helped decreased depression by 32.7% and dramatically decreased sleep disturbances, moodiness, and overall health status in 47 people suffering from PTSD.
- Heals Burns and Cuts: Widely known for its antimicrobial properties, lavender has a rich history of being used to prevent various infections and combat bacterial/fungal disorders. In fact, almost 100 studies have been conducted establishing this truth over and over again. For example, in a study evaluating how lavender’s antimicrobial ability is enhanced when blended with other essential oils like clove, cinnamon and tea tree oil. Specifically, a 1:1 ratio of these oils was found to be the most effective in fighting against Candida albicans and Staph aureus, which are both common causes for many fungal and bacterial infections that lead to respiratory pneumonia and skin funguses.
- Dermatological Benefits: Most likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential mixed with aloe or coconut oil has profound benefits on your skin. Just 10 drops per 1 ounce of aloe vera or oil will sooth the worst sunburn and bring rapid healing to dry skin, minor cuts and scraps. Research has even proven its ability to speed recovery from canker sores and can prevent allergic reactions. Want to reduce age spots? Try mixing lavender oil with frankincense essential oil and put it on your skin first thing in the morning, right after you shower and right before bed. Success stories of these two oils improving age and sunspots are numerous.
- Helps Cure Headaches: According to a study published in the European Journal of Neurology people struggling with migraine headaches saw a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes. Probably the most effective natural treatment for headaches is combing lavender oil with peppermint oil and rubbing these oils on the back of the neck, the temples on the lateral side of the forehead along with inhaling it. Typically 2 drops of each oil in the palm of your hand then rubbed into the areas works perfectly.
- Improves Sleep: A study on college students found that using lavender oil improved the overall quality of sleep by 60%. This included length of sleep, time it took to fall asleep, restfulness and reduced symptoms of insomnia. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine found that lavender oil showed immediate improvements on 5 men and 5 women who struggled with insomnia. If you are trying to improve your quality of sleep diffusing lavender before or during sleep can help. Also, you can rub it directly on your neck, chest and temples which is also effective. If you do struggle with sleep I have found that making a mixture of lavender oil, roman chamomile oil and magnesium oil is the best overall combination in improving sleep. And finally, taking a healing bath by adding 15 drops of lavender oil and 1 cup of epsom salts to the bathtub is another effective way to use lavender oil to improve sleep and relax the body.
- For a Bee Sting: Put a drop of Lavender oil on a bee sting or insect bite to stop itching reduce swelling.
- To help with motion sickness: To alleviate the symptoms of motion sickness, place a drop of Lavender oil on end of tongue, behind the ears or around the navel.
- To Stop a nose bleed: To stop a nosebleed, put a drop of lavender oil on a tissue and wrap it around a small chip of ice. Push the tissue covered ice chip up under the middle of the top lip to the base of the nose and hold as long as comfortable or until the bleeding stops (do not freeze the lip or gum).
A few additional medical benefits include, soothing chapped lips or skin, deterring hay fever, removing and limiting dandruff, and reducing the redness and swelling of a cold sore.
As Pest Control: The following are just a few of the pests Lavender Oil can keep at bay:
- Bed Bugs
How should you use Lavender Oil as pest control? One way is to get a pistol-grip squirt bottle. Mix a few drops of the oil with some water, shake it up, and start firing. If you have bugs on your plants, like aphids on your roses, you can squirt the leaves and drive the bugs away with no harm to your plant. You can do the same with the other pests. As for bugs that crawl into your home, you can smear a line across your kitchen counter or floor and the buggies won’t cross it. If you already have a line of these bugs invading your house, just draw a line of oil across them and they will turn back. It is fun to watch. And as for flying insects, you can knock them dead right out of the air with one shot from your pistol grip. When you go into the woods and fields, put a little lavender around your ankles, wrists, and waist-band and you won’t have to worry about chiggers or ticks (or Lyme Disease of Rocky Mountain Spotted Tick Fever). Lemongrass, sage or thyme would work, too, but might irritate your skin so put it on your pant cuffs and shirt sleeves.
Other Uses in your home:
- As a natural perfume
- As a non toxic air freshener
- As a natural chemical free lipbalm with mint, lemon, honey or just good old fashioned coconut
- As a remedy for stomach discomfort (put 1 drop in atleast 12 ounces of water and drink)
- As a secret flavor booster
Lavender Oil Side Effects to Consider:
For most people, using lavender oil is completely safe, however there has not been an extensive amount of scientific research done on lavender oil interactions with other medications, or for its use in pregnant women, so there are certain situations where you will want to use caution.
If you are already taking any prescription medication for sleep related disorders or for depression, be cautious of the fact that lavender can increase the effectiveness of these medications. Even if you use an over-the-counter sleep aid or any type of sedatives (even cough or flu medicine), keep in mind that lavender makes many people sleepy and even somewhat drowsy, so it’s best to not combine lavender oil with other medications or sleep-related supplements. If you are planning on having surgery or undergoing anesthesia in the near future, you will also want to avoid using lavender oil.
Pregnant Women and Children
There has not been enough research done at this time to show that lavender oil is completely safe for pregnant women or women who are nursing. Because it can have a relaxing effect on muscles and can also effect hormone levels, it’s not recommended that women who are in their third trimester use lavender oil. It’s best to speak with your doctor about use of any essential oils when pregnant, since it has not been guaranteed that these are safe at this time.
Lavender oil is considered generally safe for children to use, although there is some concern that lavender’s effect on hormone levels could be harmful for boys who have not yet gone through puberty. Although there isn’t strong evidence for lavender being a hormone disrupter (only 1-2 very small studies were ever completed), parents are told to use caution if using lavender oil frequently on young children.
Ingesting Lavender Oil
Studies to date have primarily looked at the effects of using lavender oil topically on the skin or inhalation. There have been no negative symptoms found when 3 drops of oil is mixed with a carrier oil and applied directly to the skin, however not much research has formally been done to look at the effect of swallowing the oil. Most people experience no negative symptoms when consuming lavender oil, but because of it’s high levels of anti-oxidants you would want to keep this to a minimum and be careful if you have a sensitive digestive system. There are no known food interactions of lavender oil at this time.