Lavender Oil

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Lavender oil is one of the most widely used essential oils on the planet. This stems from the fact that lavender is very popular as a herb in many parts of the world. Lavender essential oil is a marvellous oil which has a plethora of uses for personal and home use. Its most powerful use is in aromatherapy where it is used to calm the mind, relieve anxiety and induce sleep. People who suffer from insomnia use it on their pillows to bring sleep, and this too has come from the traditional remedy of keeping lavender flowers by the bed side for better sleep.

Source

Lavender essential oil is obtained from two sources. It can be extracted from the flowers of the plant, called lavender flower oil. There is another variety of lavender oil obtained from a specific species called lavendula latifolia ( Spike Lavender ). This comes from the Mediterranean and is called spike lavender oil. This oil has got higher percentage of camphor, so it smells cooler and sharper.

Lavender Fields
Lavender Fields ( Photo credit :  puliarfanita )

The lavender plant is native to western Mediterranean region. In many places, this beautiful violet flower grows wild, like in Australia. There, you can see fields and fields of lavender dancing in the wind. Lavender is still cultivated primarily for its essential oil which has such an immense therapeutical value.

Lavender oil is also used as an ingredient in many perfumes and bath products.

Properties

These are the therapeutic properties of lavender essential oil.

  • Anti-Inflammatory – lowers inflammation topically
  • Anti-bacterial – kills many kinds of bacteria
  • Anti-viral – effective against some virus species
  • Cicatrizant – aids wound healing
  • Anxiolytic – relieves anxiety attacks
  • Antiseptic – prevents chances of infection on a wound or cut
  • Anti-rheumatic – relieves arthritic pain
  • Carminative – helps the body pass out intestinal gas
  • Deodorant – Its smell is amazing. Gets rid of foul odor
  • Analgesic – mild pain reliever
  • Anti-depressant – Its smell stimulates mental faculties and uplifts mood
  • Anti-convulsant – relieves a seizure
  • Hypotensive – lowers the blood pressure a notch
  • Nervine – beneficial effect on nervous system
  • Cholagogue – promotes release of bile from the liver
  • Sedative – helps a person relax by lowering irritability
  • Anti-spasmodic – prevents muscular spasms
  • Sudorific – increases sweat production
  • Rubefacient – reduces redness on skin
  • Diuretic – promotes release of urine
  • Adaptogen – improves ability to combat stress

The properties of lavender essential oil are diverse. That makes it useful for so many conditions and health issues.

Uses and Health Benefits

Lavender Oil
Lavender Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Due to an amazing line up of beneficial therapeutic properties, lavender oil can be used in the following ways.

Reduce Your Anxiety

If you feel an anxiety attack coming up, just open your bottle of lavender essential oil and smell it for about 10 seconds. The volatile compounds from lavender enter into the system and provide relief from anxiety. People who are prone to anxiety can keep the vial of lavender oil in their purse and just sniff it whenever they feel the need. It is so convenient and easy to do. This practice also aids in relaxing and lowering mental stress. Lavender oil has potent anxiety reducing effects. [1]

Combat Hair Loss

Lavender essential oil is one of the best natural treatments for hair loss. Along with rosemary oil, and a few other oils, it is one of the select few which have been identified to promote hair growth[2]. It is especially helpful in Alopecia areata which is hair loss caused due to autoimmune reasons. This is how one can use lavender essential oil for hair loss.

  • Ingredients
    Lavender essential oil
    Rosemary essential oil
    Jojoba oil
  • Directions / How to use
    Take about 100 ml of jojoba oil. Add 8 – 10 drops of lavender oil and rosemary oil each. Mix it well. Take a small amount of this oil and massage it on the balding patches. The results will not be quick to show up. It can take 6 months for significant results to be seen.
  • Why it works ?
    Rosemary and lavender essential oil boost blood circulation to scalp, eliminate blockages and promote hair growth. They also treat any fungal infection on scalp which might be causing the blockage of hair follicles.

Lavender essential oil provides many health benefits for the scalp skin. It is also used in hot oil treatments and shampoos to treat head lice.

Lavender Oil For Acne

The oil of lavender is brilliant for reducing acne. It may not be able to help with new breakouts, but it reduces redness of pimples. This reduces the overall redness on your face, thus making acne much less prominent.

  • Ingredients
    Lavender essential oil
    Jojoba oil
  • Directions / How to use
    Take about 10 ml of jojoba oil and add 2 – 4 drops of lavender oil. Smear this oil on face after cleansing. It acts as a moisturizer. The lavender oil reduces red, inflamed pimples.
  • Why it works ?
    Lavender oil has rubefacient property, that’s why it reduces redness caused by inflammation. Lavender oil is even more effective for cystic acne.

There is a reason for choosing jojoba oil in this combination. Jojoba oil has a unique property. It resembles the natural oil of skin ( sebum ) brilliantly. So, when it is applied on skin, there is not much oiliness created by that.  This prevents blockage of pores as it is non comedogenic. As a result, there are no breakout caused by this oil. Jojoba oil is really great for acne. [3]

People who suffer from acne should really look into the comedogenicity of various products they use.

Curb the Cough

Add a few drops of lavender oil to a vaporizer. Let its smell invade the entire house. This air suppresses cough and feels good to the human psyche.

Lavender Oil For Headaches

Take your bottle of lavender oil. Invert it on the palm of the hand. Now, using a finger, rub the small amount of lavender oil on the palm on the upper lip. It might feel a bit stingy. Applying it on the upper lip allows one to breathe lavender continuously. This remedy relieves headaches and migraines. [4]

Lavender Oil For Body Pains

Lavender oil, as mentioned above is an Analgesic. It provides pain relief. One can make use of this to relieve any kind of pain. Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to a cold compress. Use this compress to massage the area of pain. This works great for pain in the back, neck, shoulders, arthritic pain , gouty pain in any joint, abdominal pain and even headache.

For arthritis pain , say in the knees, one can get extended relief by applying a cold wrap instead of just a compress.

Treat a Sunburn

Lavender oil quickly heals a sunburn. It cools the skin, takes the sting out of the burn and also promotes faster healing. The entire recovery period from a sunburn comes down drastically, and there is much less discomfort. There are various ways in which lavender oil can be used for this purpose.

  • Put 10 drops of lavender oil in a spray bottle with cool , but not cold water. Spray this solution all over your skin. It feels very cooling and relieving.
  • Add few drops of lavender essential oil to aloe vera gel. This increases the effectiveness of aloe.
  • Add about 20 drops of lavender oil to cool, but not cold bath water. Take bath in this water to relieve a sunburn.

This treatment is also effective for a sunstroke.

Home Remedy For Insomnia

Lavender oil is excellent for inducing sleep. Apply a few drops of lavender oil on your pillow. This reduces the restlessness or agitation in the mind, calms the spirit and allows one to get sound sleep [5]. If you apply some oil on the feet in diluted form, it helps with restless leg syndrome.

Lavender Oil For Insomnia And Sleep
Lavender Oil For Insomnia And Sleep ( Photo credit : exquisitur )

Minor burns

First degree burns can be treated with undiluted lavender oil. Just apply a few drops of lavender essential oil undiluted on burnt skin. Make sure your do a patch test on healthy skin, as lavender oil can be irritating to some people. In that case, your burn would worsen instead of healing.

Take the sting out of an Insect Bite

Put lavender oil on a cotton bud and place it right on the insect bite. This quickly reduces redness and takes the sting out of the bite. There is much less pain. It works for mosquito bites, spider bites, fleas, ticks, bed bugs etc.

Lavender Oil For Asthma

Diffuse lavender oil smell inside the house using a vaporizer. This smell promotes relaxation of the respiratory muscles.  It helps in alleviating bronchial spasms that occur in asthma and many other respiratory conditions like bronchitis, pneumonia.  Lavender aroma in the air helps a person breathe better, which helps in COPD and any breathing difficulty.

Eczema

Dilute lavender essential oil in coconut oil. Add about 20 drops of lavender oil per 200 ml of coconut oil. Use this oil on skin affected by eczema. It should improve the condition of skin. [2]

Lavender oil can be used in a bath, as aromatherapy, in the vaporizer and in creams and lotions. It is just so versatile. There are many other health benefits of lavender essential oil.

  • Relaxes the nervous system – Lavender oil can slow down the nervous system, thus making a person feel anything slowly. This is good when you want to relax, not good when you are driving.[2]
  • When used in a shampoo, it eliminates dandruff.
  • Motion sickness – Lavender aroma helps to calm motion sickness, or even any other kind of vomiting.
  • Hay fever – Lavender smell relieves the symptoms of hay fever.

Lavender Oil Benefits

Lavender Oil Products For Home

Lavender is a popular ingredient in many products. One can easily get lavender soaps, lavender hand wash, lavender oil shampoo, potpourris, incense sticks, chimes and many other products containing lavender oil.

Lavender Oil For Dogs And Cats

Lavender oil has a wonderful use for pets. Applying a bit of oil near the face calms anxious or irritated dogs and cats. This fact is made use of by people to calm dogs on a flight, in a public place or while training.

Lavender Oil For Calming Dogs
Lavender Oil For Calming Dogs ( Photo credit : joshme17 )

Side Effects and Toxicity Issues

Lavender oil is generally safe to use topically in undiluted form. It is one of the safest essential oils. However, one should not use it internally. Although many food products contain lavender as flavoring agent, but drinking an essential oil can be very dangerous. It can cause very severe inflammation inside the body. Keep lavender essential oil away from kids, as they can drink it.

Lavender oil should not be used by people who are allergenic to it. In some people, lavender oil can be very irritating. It causes contact dermatitis upon contact in such people.

Lavender essential oil can be used Neat ( undiluted ) for many skin conditions.

Nutritional Information

Lavender essential oil is mainly composed of two nutrients – linalool and linalyl acetate.  Together they make up a large portion of any kind of lavender essential oil.

Linalool – it is a naturally occuring compound found in many essential oils. It has a sharp smell with a hint of flowery odor. It is used in perfumes and other hygiene products. It is also a natural flea repellant.

Linalyl acetate – Its a fragrant compound found in lavender oil and bergamot oil. Both of these compounds have anti-inflammatory activity. [6]

Chemical composition of Lavender Essential Oil ( from Lavadula augustifolia )

Nutrient Percentage Property
Linalool  28.92 % Anti-inflammatory, Aromatic
Linalyl Acetate  32.98 % Anti inflammatory, Fragrant
Lavendulyl Acetate  4.52 %
Camphor  0.85 % Rubefacient, Anti-irritant
β – Ocimene  3 % Pleasant odor
Lavandulol  0.78 % Slight Lemony Odor
1,8 – cineole  – Cough suppressant, Insecticide
Caryophyllene  4.52 % Strongly anti-inflammatory
Myrcene  0.46 % Analgesic
Terpinen-4-ol  4.32 %  Anti- Cancer, Anti-inflammatory

Source : Wikipedia

These are just the major chemical compounds found in lavender oil. It contains many more beneficial compounds which provide subtle health benefits.

References

1. Anxiolytic effects of lavender oil inhalation on open-field behaviour in rats. D. Shawa, J.M. Annettb, B. Dohertyc, J.C. Lesliea. Phytomedicine.
2.  Univeristy of Maryland Medical Center – Lavender
3.Clay jojoba oil facial mask for lesioned skin and mild acne–results of a prospective, observational pilot study. Meier L, Stange R, Michalsen A, Uehleke B. NCBI.
4. National Institutes of Health NIH – Lavender
5. Lavender As Sleep Aid – Health Psychology Home Page, Vanderbilt.edu
6. Anti-inflammatory activity of linalool and linalyl acetate constituents of essential oils. Peana AT, D’Aquila PS, Panin F, Serra G, Pippia P, Moretti MD. NCBI
7. Terpinen-4-ol, The Main Component of Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil Inhibits the In Vitro Growth of Human Melanoma Cells. Annarica Calcabrini, Annarita Stringaro, Laura Toccacieli, Stefania Meschini, Manuela Marra, Marisa Colone, Giuseppe Salvatore, Francesca Mondello, Giuseppe Arancia and Agnese Molinari. Journal of Investigative Dermatology

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