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    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 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 commonly used for anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, depression, headache and pain.

    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. It also seems to have antibacterial and antifungal effects.

    LAVENDER Uses & Effectiveness What is this?

    Possibly Effective for:

    • Hair loss (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 80-160 mg of a lavender oil product (Silexan, Dr Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG) by mouth for 6-10 weeks improves anxiety and sleep and prevents anxiety recurrence in people with mild-to-severe anxiety. It is unclear if using lavender oil as aromatherapy helps for anxiety.
    • Canker sores. Some research shows that applying 2 drops of lavender oil to the affected area three times daily can reduce canker sore swelling and pain and shorten the time it takes for canker sores to heal.
    • Fall prevention. There is some evidence that attaching a pad with lavender oil (Aromaseal Lavender, Hakujuji Co.) onto the neckline of clothing reduces the risk of falling by 43% in nursing home residents.
    • Pain after surgery. Some research shows that inhaling lavender essence while receiving pain killers intravenously (by IV) can help reduce pain in women after a C-section. Also, inhaling lavender oil applied to the hands for 3 minutes every 6 hours seems to lessen pain and reduce the need to use acetaminophen after a tonsillectomy in children 6-12 years old.

    Possibly Ineffective for:

    • Cancer-related pain. Research shows that using lavender oil for aromatherapy massage does not reduce pain in people with cancer-related pain.
    • Complications after childbirth. One study shows that adding lavender oil to baths may reduce pain in the area between the vagina and anus shortly after childbirth. However, most research shows that it's not effective for reducing pain after about 12 hours, although it might still reduce redness and swelling.

    Insufficient Evidence for:

    • 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 during the day or the ability to sleep at night in children with itchy and inflamed skin.
    • Colic. Results from one small research study show that massaging a combination of lavender and almond oils onto the belly of infants for 5-15 minutes at the onset of colic reduces crying time by about 7 hours per week.
    • Dementia. Some research shows that using lavender oil in a diffuser at night reduces agitation in people with dementia. However, inhaling lavender oil applied to the shirt collar or on the forearms doesn't seem to decrease dementia-related agitation. Also, using aromatherapy massages doesn't seem to improve mental function in people with dementia.
    • Depression. There are conflicting results regarding the effects of lavender oil aromatherapy for treating depression. Lavender oil aromatherapy massage does not seem to improve depression in cancer patients. However, one study shows that lavender aromatherapy might reduce depression after childbirth (postpartum 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. Also inhaling lavender oil applied to the hands for 5 minutes every 6 hours seems to reduce stomach pain and backache in women with menstrual pain.
    • High blood pressure. Early research suggests that using an essential oil mixture of lavender, lemon, and ylang ylang as aromatherapy might reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number) but not diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) in people with high blood pressure.
    • Difficulty sleeping (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. However, not all research has shown this benefit.
    • 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.
    • Pain. Some research shows that lavender aromatherapy might help reduce pain such as needle insertion, but other research has found no benefit for pain.
    • Reducing anxiety before surgery. Some people use lavender for reducing anxiety before surgery or other medical or dental procedures. Some research shows that it might help reduce anxiety before dental procedures. But it is unclear if lavender helps for anxiety related to other procedures.
    • 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.
    • Stress. Inhaling 2 drops of 2% lavender oil for 20 minutes on the second and third day after coronary artery bypass surgery doesn't seem to reduce stress.
    • Acne.
    • Cancer.
    • Headache.
    • Loss of appetite.
    • Nausea.
    • Toothache.
    • Use as a mosquito repellent and insect repellent.
    • Vomiting.
    • 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, although this is uncommon.

    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:



    • Anxiety: 80-160 mg of a specific lavender oil ingredient (Silexan, Dr Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG) taken daily for 6-10 weeks.
    • Anxiety: Applying 8 drops of an oil blend containing 2% lavender and rose essential oil to a cotton pad and inhaling from the pad for 15 minutes twice weekly for 4 weeks, has been used. The lavender and rose oil formulation was prepared by diluting 2 drops of an essential oil blend containing 75% lavender oil and 25% rose oil diluted in 5 mL of jojoba oil.
    • Fall prevention: Attaching a 1 cm x 2 cm patch containing lavender oil to the clothing neckline once daily for one year has been used.
    • Pain after surgery: 2 drops of lavender essence 2%, applied to the inside of an oxygen face mask for 3 minutes at three, eight, and 16 hours after receiving intravenous pain-relievers for post-Cesarean section pain, has been used.
    • For bald spots (alopecia areata): 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 has been used. Each night, the mixture is massaged into the scalp for 2 minutes with a warm towel placed around the head to increase absorption.
    • Canker sores: : 2 drops of a solution containing 36 mg of lavender oil per drop has been applied three times daily.

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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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