Lavender is an aromatic herb native to the Mediterranean. In ancient Egypt, it was used in the mummification process, and then later as bath oil in southern Europe and the Middle East. Lavender's flower and oil are also used for medicinal purposes.[1, 3]
Traditionally, lavender was used for mental health problems and as an antiseptic. Lavender's flowers are dried and added to tea and liquid extracts.[2, 3] The oil is commonly combined with other ingredients, including oils from other plants, and used in skin and haircare.
Lavender is mostly used in aromatherapy, which involves inhaling the scent of the oils originating from the flowers. This helps relieve insomnia, pain, and some experts link its use to reducing symptoms associated with dementia.[1, 3]
Other uses include:
- Stomach ache
- Hair loss
- Insect repellent
- Pain relief
- Circulation disorders
- Food and drink flavoring
Does lavender work
Research has shown lavender to be potentially helpful for:
- Hair loss (alopecia areata)
- Muscle relaxation
Safety and side effects
- Lavender is most likely safe if using the recommended amount.
- If consumed orally, lavender may cause constipation, headaches, and increase appetite.
- Lavender can cause a skin irritation.
- Skin products with lavender oil may not be safe for prepubescent boys.
- Avoid lavender if you're pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Discontinue lavender use at least a couple weeks before surgery.
Lavender interacts with chloral hydrate, CNS depressants, and barbiturates. Combining lavender with certain medications can increase fatigue. Talk to your doctor before starting a new supplement.
- Inform your healthcare provider of all supplements and complementary care you use. Discuss proper dosages particular to your symptoms and medical history.
- Herbs and other supplements are not regulated by the government. Product safety and consistency are not guaranteed. Effects may vary according to brand and batch.
Where to buy
Lavender is known for its pleasant aroma. Even if it does not have any proven medicinal benefits, using the oil as an aromatic, for relaxation, or as in ingredient in food, beverages, and cosmetics is perfectly acceptable.
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