Can anyone really forget the alluring aroma of lavender? There is an oft-told story that highlights just one of the profound healing benefits of lavender essential oil.
In 1910 French chemist and scholar René-Maurice Gattefossé burnt his hand during an experiment. He thrust his hand into the nearest vat of liquid in order to cool his burn. In actuality, it was a tub of lavender essential oil which quickly soothed the burn and – miraculously healed the burn in record time. There was also very little scarring from the injury thanks to lavender oil, so he then began using it on WW1 soldiers. (sources)
Whether or not you think lavender essential oil could work miracles like that for you, the oil is best known for its soothing capabilities – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It’s a great addition to your meditation, prayer or spiritual life.
Please enjoy this list of research-backed benefits of lavender essential oil. As always, we do not use anecdotes or mere, unproven Internet re-hashings. You can be assured that the benefits below were tested or proved in a research environment.
40 Amazing Health Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
Anti-Anxiety – A review of scientific literature revealed that lavender produced significant effects in relation to anxiety in rat studies. Another study showed that a different kind of lavender oil administered orally improved effective in the treatment of ‘subsyndromal’ anxiety disorder. Additionally, massage blended essential oils on adults were found to reduce depression and anxiety. Another study, administered orally, found that it is definitely an anxiolytic (anti-panic, antianxietal) and that it inhibits VOCCs in synaptosomes, primary hippocampal neurons and stably overexpressing cell lines.
Depression – Aroma hand massage with the oil reduced depression. Yet another study showed benefits on college women for insomnia and depression. Additionally, massage blended essential oils on adults were found to reduce depression and anxiety.
Migraine headaches – Research suggests lavender as a treatment in the acute management of migraine headaches. Furthermore, lavender tested as significantly more beneficial than the placebo.
Menstrual pain – Provided relief for patients with primary dysmennorhea (period pain, cramps) and reduced the duration of menstrual pain to almost half. It was however blended with other oils like clary sage and marjoram. Similarly, another study among college students also showed benefits of lavender on cramps.
Insomnia – Significant improvement seen for insomnia when the oil was massaged into skin. Another study showed it to be a mild treatment for mild insomnia. Yet another study showed benefits on college women for insomnia and depression.
Candida, Anti-fungal – Lavender joins the ranks of bergamot and acidophilus for fighting fungal infections like Candida albicans overgrowth. “It shows both fungistatic and fungicidal against C. Albicans strains at lower concentrations, it inhibits germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, indicating that it is effective against C. albicans dimorphism and may thus reduce fungal progression in the spread of infection in host tissues.” Another study found that essential oils combated the fungal activity of Trichophyton mentagrophytes.
Stress – Research has shown that the inhalation method “can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.” Likewise, it greatly reduced stress and crying in infants.
Natural Antibiotic – As part of a naturopathic herbal extract ear drop solution, lavender essential oil was found to be effective for acute otitis media (ear infection and pain).
Neck Pain – As part of an essential oil cream, including marjoram, black pepper, lavender and peppermint, a study showed that using pressure-pain threshold and motion analysis system that the use of essential oils were effective in reducing neck pain.
Autonomic activity – Small but significant changes in autonomic activity. Using spectral analysis of heart rate variability researchers noticed that the oil produced changes during mere foot baths. The autonomic nervous system controls internal organs, muscles, heart muscles and glands.
Dental anxiety – Do you get nerves while anticipating an upcoming dental visit. Lavender and orange essential oil aroma improved the nerves and mood of those awaiting the drill.
Blood pressure – Research has shown that the inhalation method “can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.”
Gut Dysbiosis – lavender itself has been used for gastrointestinal issues for a very long time. Research is suggesting that ingestion might help treat intestinal dysbiosis while at the same time, not harming beneficial members of the gut microflora. Another term that falls under Gut Dysbiosis is “Leaky Gut”!
MRSA – Lavender joins the ranks of acidophilus in treating methicillin-sensitive and -resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA and MRSA) when applied directly. Results suggest that combinations of lavender oils should be investigated further for possible use in antibacterial products.
Lowering Systolic Blood Pressure – When used in a blend, lavender was shown to help with a specific issue with blood pressure, that is systolic blood pressure.
Lowers Sympathetic Nervous Activity – When used in a blend, it helped calm sympathetic nervous system activity.
Colic – Aromatherapy massage with lavender amazingly showed improvement for colicky babies.
Pulse – Research has shown that the inhalation method “can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.”
Better sleep – not only does lavender help with insomnia but it is shown to significantly enhance sleep – especially for infants. Another study showed that a different kind of lavender oil administered orally improved sleep for anxiety patients.
Pain – Aroma hand massage with the oil reduced pain.
Deeper sleep – Aromatherapeutic use of lavender created deeper sleep and acts as a mild sedative.
Antidepressant, comparable to drugs – One study found the effectiveness of lavender to be so impressive that it could be used alone or in addition to other therapies or drugs.
Pre-surgery distress – Research suggests the possibility that combined with ginger oil, lavender could comfort children about to undergo anesthesia.
Serum Cortisol levels – Research has shown that the inhalation method “can be considered an effective nursing intervention that reduces psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.”
Eats Free-Radicals in the body – Inhaling low levels of lavender oil increased the free-radical scavenging activity (FRSA). Interestingly, an inverse correlation between FRSA and cortisol levels for lavender and rosemary. As FRSA activy went up, cortisol levels went down. Think of the implications…
Elderly Issues – Aromatherapy hand massage on those with dementia had positive effects on the elderly people’s emotions and reduced aggressive behavior.
Coronary circulation – Study on healthy men showed that aromatherapy has relaxation effects and may also benefit acute effects on coronary circulation.
Relaxation – Try switching your afterwork “bud” to a lavender. Study on healthy men showed that aromatherapy has relaxation effects and may also benefit acute effects on coronary circulation.
Stress + pain – After inhalation, there was a decrease in pain of needle insertion (the chosen test method on healthy volunteers) and associated stress.
Endocrinological Stress Markers – ELISA tests showed that lavender lowered cortisol within minutes – significant results compared to the control group.
Cesarean pain – Aromatherapy with lavender was shown to be a safe, complimentary therapy in reducing pain after cesarean birth.
Menopausal Disorders – Inhalation of a specific type of lavender can relieve tension and may be applicable to the treatment of menopausal disorders in human beings.
Lower back pain – Lower back pain was reduced by stimulating acupressure points with electrodes and lavender essential oil.Mood, EEG patterns of alertness and math computations – That’s right – math! Lavender increased beta-power (sleepiness), decreased depression, helped aromatherapy subjects perform math computations faster and more accurately whereas rosemary produced different effects.
Post-surgery pain – Reduced need for opioids after surgery. That’s some powerful pain relief!
Heart rate – Inhalation has persistent but short-term effect on stabilizing heart rate.
Thrombosis (blood clots) – Significantly reduced thrombotic events “without inducing pro-hemorragic complications” meaning it wouldn’t carry the same side-effects as drugs for thrombosis.
Appetite and body weight enhancer – Aromatherapy olfactory stimulation with the scent of lavender oil and its active component, linalool, affect autonomic nerves, suppress lipolysis (breakdown of fats) through a histaminergic response, and enhance appetite and body
Test-anxiety – Lavender and rosemary oil sachets reduced specific test anxiety for nursing graduate students.
Insect repellent – Did you know that lavender, combined with other plant oils, has been studied for its effects as a safe insect repellent? This means that the oil is part of a good remedy towards, natural pesticide-free living.
Lavender Aspic takes the sting out of jellyfish rash and many insect bites.
By Brandon Turbeville and Heather Callaghan