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LAVENDER

Other Names:

Alhucema, Common Lavender, English Lavender, French Lavender, Garden Lavender, Huile Essentielle de Lavande, Lavanda, Lavande, Lavande à Feuilles Étroites, Lavande Anglaise, Lavande Commune, Lavande des Alpes, Lavande du Jardin, Lavande Espagnol...
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LAVENDER Overview
LAVENDER Uses
LAVENDER Side Effects
LAVENDER Interactions
LAVENDER Dosing
LAVENDER Overview Information

Lavender is an herb. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make medicine.

Lavender is used for restlessness, insomnia, nervousness, and depression. It is also used for a variety of digestive complaints including meteorism (abdominal swelling from gas in the intestinal or peritoneal cavity), loss of appetite, vomiting, nausea, intestinal gas (flatulence), and upset stomach.

Some people use lavender for painful conditions including migraineheadaches, toothaches, sprains, nerve pain, sores, and joint pain. It is also used for acne and cancer, and to promote menstruation.

Lavender is applied to the skin for hair loss (alopecia areata) and pain, and to repel mosquitoes and other insects.

Some people add lavender to bathwater to treat circulation disorders and improve mental well being.

By inhalation, lavender is used as aromatherapy for insomnia, pain, and agitation related to dementia.

In foods and beverages, lavender is used as a flavor component.

In manufacturing, lavender is used in pharmaceutical products and as a fragrance ingredient in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, potpourri, and decorations.

Lavender (scientific name Lavandula angustifolia) is commonly contaminated with related species, including Lavandula hybrida, which is a cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, from which lavandin oil is obtained.

How does it work?

Lavender contains an oil that seems to have sedating effects and might relax certain muscles.

LAVENDER Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

Possibly Effective for:

  • Hair loss in a condition called alopecia areata. There is some evidence that applying lavender oil in combination with oils from thyme, rosemary, and cedarwood might improve hair growth by as much as 44% after 7 months of treatment.
  • Anxiety. Some research shows that taking lavender oil by mouth for 6-10 weeks improves anxiety and sleep and prevents anxiety recurrence in people with mild-to-severe anxiety. However, lavender does not seem to be more effective than the anti-anxiety medicationlorazepam (Ativan). So far, early studies disagree about the effectiveness of using lavender oil as aromatherapy for treating anxiety.
  • Canker sores. Some research shows that applying two drops of lavender oil to the affected area three times daily can improve canker sore healing and reduce canker sore swelling and pain.
  • Fall prevention. There is some evidence that attaching a pad with lavender oil onto the neckline of clothing reduces falls in nursing home residents.
  • Pain after Cesarean section (C-section). Some research suggests that inhaling lavender essence while receiving pain killers intravenously (by IV) can help reduce pain in women after a C-section.

Possibly Ineffective for:

  • Cancer-related pain. Some research shows that using lavender oil for aromatherapy massage does not reduce pain in people with cancer-related pain.
  • Dementia. Applying lavender oil to the collar of clothing or using lavender oil for aromatherapy massage does not seems to improve mental function in people with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia.
  • Pain in the area between the vulva and anus in females (perineal pain). Most research shows that adding lavender oil to baths does not improve perineal pain. However, some evidence suggests that lavender oil baths might reduce perineal pain immediately after childbirth.

Insufficient Evidence for:

  • Agitation. There is conflicting evidence on the efficacy of lavender aromatherapy for agitation. Some evidence suggests that lavender aromatherapy improves agitation in people with Alzheimer’s disease, while other evidence shows no effect.
  • Itchy and inflamed skin (eczema). Early research shows that using a combination of lavender oil and other herbal essential oils for aromatherapy massage does not improve skin irritation in children with itchy and inflamed skin.
  • Colic. Results from a small research study show that massaging a combination of lavender and almond oils into the belly of infants for 5-15 minutes at the onset of colic reduces crying time.
  • Constipation. Early research shows that massaging a combination of lavender, lemon, rosemary, and cypress oils onto the stomach might improve symptoms of constipation.
  • Depression. There are conflicting results regarding the effects of lavender oil aromatherapy for treating depression. Some research suggests that lavender oil aromatherapy massage does not improve depression in cancer patients. Other research shows that it might improve mood in women experiencing depression after childbirth (post-partum depression). Early research suggests that taking lavender oil by mouth for 6 weeks might improve depression in people with depression. Tincture of lavender appears to be slightly less effective than the medication imipramine (Tofranil) for treating depression, but taking the two in combination might improve the antidepressant effects of imipramine.
  • Menstrual pain. Lavender oil massages might reduce pain associated with menstruation in young women better than regular massages.
  • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that using an essential oil mixture of lavender, lemon, and ylang ylang as aromatherapy might reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
  • Sleeplessness (insomnia). Early research suggests that using lavender oil in a vaporizer overnight, or on a gauze pad left beside the bed, might help some people with mild insomnia sleep better.
  • Lice. Early research suggests that applying a combination of lavender and tea tree oil to the skin helps kill lice eggs and reduce the number of live lice. It is unclear if the effects are caused by lavender alone or the combination of lavender and tea tree oil.
  • Migraine. Early research suggests that rubbing 2 or 3 drops of lavender oil on the upper lip, so that the vapor is inhaled, might reduce migraine pain and nausea, and help stop the headache spreading.
  • Ear infections. Early research suggests that administering ear drops containing lavender and other herbal extracts improves ear pain in people with ear infections. However, this herbal combination does not appear to be more effective than using a skin-numbing agent along with the antibiotic amoxicillin.
  • General psychological well-being. Some research suggests that adding 3 mL of a 20% lavender oil and 80% grapeseed oil mixture to daily baths produces small improvements in mood, compared with baths containing grapeseed oil alone. However, other research suggests that adding lavender oil to aromatherapy massage does not improve well-being or quality of life in cancer patients.
  • Wound healing. Early research suggests that using lavender oil as aromatherapy during bandage changes does not reduce pain in people with vascular wounds.
  • Headache.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Toothache.
  • Acne.
  • Nausea.
  • Vomiting.
  • Cancer.
  • Use as a mosquito repellent and insect repellent.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate lavender for these uses.


LAVENDER Side Effects & Safety

Lavender is LIKELY SAFE for most adults in food amounts. It’s POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or inhaled in medicinal amounts.

When taken by mouth, lavender can cause constipation, headache, and increased appetite. When applied to the skin, lavender can sometimes cause irritation.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Children: Applying products to the skin that contain lavender oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for young boys who have not yet reached puberty. Lavender oil seems to have hormone effects that could disrupt the normal hormones in a boy's body. In some cases, this has resulted in boys developing abnormal breast growth called gynecomastia. The safety of these products when used by young girls is not known.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking lavender if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Surgery: Lavender might slow down the central nervous system. If used in combination with anesthesia and other medications given during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system too much. Stop using lavender at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

LAVENDER Interactions What is this?

Moderate Interaction Be cautious with this combination

  • Chloral Hydrate interacts with LAVENDER

    Chloral hydrate causes sleepiness and drowsiness. Lavender seems to increase the effects of chloral hydrate. Taking lavender along with chloral hydrate might cause too much sleepiness.

  • Sedative medications (Barbiturates) interacts with LAVENDER

    Lavender might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking lavender along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some sedative medications include amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), mephobarbital (Mebaral), pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), and others.

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with LAVENDER

    Lavender might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking lavender along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

    Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.


LAVENDER Dosing

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

APPLIED TO THE SKIN:

  • For bald spots (alopecia areata): one study used a combination of essential oils including 3 drops (108 mg) of lavender, 3 drops (114 mg) of rosemary, 2 drops (88 mg) of thyme, and 2 drops (94 mg) of cedarwood, all mixed with 3 mL jojoba oil and 20 mL grapeseed oil. Each night, the mixture is massaged into the scalp for 2 minutes with a warm towel placed around the head to increase absorption.

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Conditions of Use and Important Information: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version. © Therapeutic Research Faculty 2009.

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