pregnant woman in lavender field
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Soothe Wounds and Pain

You’ve probably never heard your doctor shout, “Quick, get the lavender!” But this purple flowering plant may be a powerful healer. One small study found that lavender essential oil relieved soreness and redness for women who had episiotomies, vaginal cuts made to deliver babies. Another study showed that inhaling lavender essence, aka aromatherapy, eased pain from C-section childbirths.

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balding man
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Stop Hair Loss

Massaging your scalp regularly with a mix of lavender oil and other herb essential oils may help slow hair loss from alopecia areata. This autoimmune disease, which can run in families, makes your body mistakenly attack your hair follicles. Research goes on to see if lavender oil might help hair grow, too. In one study, mice treated with lavender oil sprouted furrier coats.

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loose lavender flowers
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Salt Substitute

Culinary lavender adds a clean sweetness to just about any dish. It also packs ursolic acid, a nutrient that may help fight cancer and burn more calories. Blend your own salt-free herbs de Provence seasoning with lavender, rosemary, thyme, fennel, chives, and other herbs.

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yogurt with lavender
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Tame Your Tummy

Ancient Roman soldiers counted on lavender’s antibacterial powers to treat upset stomach and other illnesses. Some research suggests that the plant’s essential oil can help fight colitis, inflammation of the colon that can lead to pain and diarrhea. It may do this by helping fend off bad bacteria and protecting the infection-fighting strains. Try sprinkling dried culinary lavender on Greek yogurt.

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spray house plant
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Soak Up Toxins

It’s tender but tough. Lavender thrives in toxic places that would quickly kill less hardy plants. Its roots absorb heavy metals like lead and zinc and store them in their leaves. This can help clean and restore industrial sites and contaminated garden plots.

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man vacuuming
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Freshen Your Floors

House cleaners in Medieval times sprinkled floors with this aromatic herb to refresh stale or sickly air. It still works great on modern carpets to quash bad odors and to fight bacteria. Make your own floor deodorizer with 8 drops of lavender oil to ½ cup of baking soda. Sprinkle it over your carpet, let it sit for a few minutes, and vacuum.

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woman taking test
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Rev Up Your Recall

What else can lavender do again? Oh, yes -- improve your memory. A recent study found that nursing students who took a sniff of lavender right before a test scored much higher than their peers. Those test takers retained more information, concentrated better, and were less anxious. The study also suggested college kids might find aromatherapy a cost-effective remedy.

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woman car sick
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Tamp Down Motion Sickness

You get this condition when your inner ear’s senses go at odds with how you see movement around you. That confusion can make you dizzy and nauseated. Lavender can counteract that by distracting you with your sense of smell. Add in other sensory treats like ginger candies (and a smart seat choice) for a smooth ride.

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sleeping baby
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Calm a Fussy Baby

Is your newborn fussy and colicky? Lavender might save the day -- and maybe the night. In one study, moms of 40 infants between 2 and 6 weeks old massaged their babies’ tummies with 1 drop of lavender oil in 20 milliliters of almond oil. The massaged babies quieted down more quickly than others, and they cried less each week of the study.

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lice comb
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Zap Lice

Looking for a natural, nontoxic remedy to quash these buggers? In a study, a lavender and tea tree oil treatment worked better than pyrethrin, a pesticide made from chrysanthemum flowers.

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woman sweating
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Chill Hot Flashes

Menopause happens when a woman stops having a monthly period, usually around her late 40s or early 50s. It can bring on hot flashes, sudden warm flushes that sweep over your body and put a wrench in your daily life. But women in a study who sniffed lavender for 20 minutes twice a week reported their flashes faded up to 50% more than women who did not use the lavender aromatherapy. 

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lavender hand soap
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Soap Stand-In

Not only does it smell nice, lavender fights bacteria. It’s an ideal ingredient for a DIY hand sanitizer:

  • Fill a 1- or 2-ounce bottle up to 1/3 full with vodka.
  • Add 10-15 drops of lavender essential oil, and the same amount of tea tree or peppermint oil.
  • Fill the rest of the bottle with aloe vera gel.

Shake and use as a backup to washing with soap and water.

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mature woman walks in lavender field
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Prevent Falls

Lavender can’t catch your fall, but it might help keep you from falling. Nursing home residents in Japan who wore lavender patches every day for a year fell less often than those who went scent-free. Researchers don’t know exactly why. But it could be that lavender helped soothe agitation and improved balance. However it works, it’s a pleasant way to sail through the day.

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lavender laundry detergent
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Jazz Up Your Laundry

Lavender is thought to come from the Latin word lavare, meaning “to wash.” No wonder it makes such a great deodorizer-freshener duo for your laundry. Add 4 drops of lavender oil to the water in your iron for steamy scent. You can also put a few drops right into your washing machine. Or make your own fragrant dryer sheet with a few drops of lavender on a dry cloth. Toss it into the dryer with your wet laundry.

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Sources | Medically Reviewed on 08/17/2018 Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 17, 2018

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Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: “Healing Advantages of Lavender Essential Oil During Episiotomy Recovery: A Clinical Trial.”

Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences: “Lavender Essence For Post-Cesarean Pain.”

Archives of Dermatology: “Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy. Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.”

Toxicological Research: “Hair Growth-Promoting Effects of Lavender Oil in C57BL/6 Mice.”

Food Science and Human Wellness: “Phytochemicals in Diets For Breast Cancer Prevention: The Importance of Resveratrol and Ursolic Acid.”

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: “Herbs de Provence Blend Recipe.”

Oregon Lavender Association: “Herbs de Provence.”

Herb Society of America: “Lavender Facts.”

American Journal of Physiology: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology: “Medicinal Lavender Modulates the Enteric Microbiota to Protect Against Citrobacter Rodentium-induced Colitis.”

Virginia Mason Health System: “Colitis and Chronic Ulcerative Colitis.”

World Academy of Science, Engineering and Technology International Journal of Biological, Food, Veterinary and Agricultural Engineering: “Potential of Lavender (Lavandula vera L.) for Phytoremediation of Soils Contaminated with Heavy Metals.”

New Phytologist: “Heavy Metal Hyperaccumulators: Plants That Clean Up.”

Missouri Botanical Garden: “St. Louis Herb Society Garden.”

American College of Healthcare Sciences: “Green Cleaning: Why We Love Lavender Essential Oil (And You Should, Too!).”

Journal of Nursing & Care: “The Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy to Junior Nursing Students’ Anxiety, Concentration and Memory Retention.”

CDC: “Motion Sickness.”

International Journal of Nursing Practice: “The Effectiveness of Aromatherapy Massage Using Lavender Oil as a Treatment For Infantile Colic.”

Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine: “Chemical Composition of Rosmarinus and Lavandula Essential Oils and Their Insecticidal Effects on Orgyia trigotephras (Lepidoptera, Lymantriidae).”

Colourage: “Fragrance Release and Moth Repellent Activity of Natural Essential Oils.”

Oregon Lavender Association: “Herbal Moth Sachets.”

BMC Dermatology: “A Randomised, Assessor Blind, Parallel Group Comparative Efficacy Trial of Three Products For the Treatment of Head Lice in Children -- Melaleuca Oil and Lavender Oil, Pyrethrins and Piperonyl Butoxide, and a ‘Suffocation’ Product.”

Extension Toxicology Network: “Pyrethrins.”

American Academy of Dermatology: “Head Lice.”

Cleveland Clinic: “Menopause, Perimenopause, and Postmenopause.”
Journal of the Chinese Medical Association: “Effect of Lavender Aromatherapy on Menopause Hot Flushing: A Crossover Randomized Clinical Trial.”

Laboratory Animal Research: “Antibacterial Activity of Essential Oil From Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Against Pet Turtle-Borne Pathogenic Bacteria.”

Rodale’s Organic Life: “How To Make A Natural Hand Sanitizer With 3 Simple Ingredients.”

Journal of the American Geriatrics Society: “Fall Prevention Using Olfactory Stimulation With Lavender Odor in Elderly Nursing Home Residents: A Randomized Controlled Trial.”

HerbalGram: The Journal of the American Botanical Council: “Lavender Oil Aromatherapy Reduces Falls in Elderly Nursing Home Residents in Long-Term Trial.”

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on August 17, 2018

This tool does not provide medical advice. See additional information.

THIS TOOL DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. It is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and should not be relied on to make decisions about your health. Never ignore professional medical advice in seeking treatment because of something you have read on the WebMD Site. If you think you may have a medical emergency, immediately call your doctor or dial 911.