LavenderLavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis
• English Lavender
There are many plants in the lavender family, but the type most commonly used medicinally is English lavender.
Lavender was additionally used as a hair rinse and as a fragrance in “dream pillows” and potpourris.
What is Lavender Oil Used for Today?
Lavender continues to be recommended for all its traditional uses. Only a few of these uses, however, have any supporting scientific evidence whatsoever, and for none of these is the evidence strong.
A few studies suggest that lavender oil, when taken by inhalation ( aromatherapy
A preliminary controlled trial found some evidence that lavender, administered through the oxygen face mask, reduced need for pain medications following gastric banding surgery.
A small study performed in Iran reported that oral use of lavender tincture augmented the effectiveness of a pharmaceutical treatment for
Lavender is also used in combination with other essential oils. For information on these uses, see the
When used internally, lavender tincture is taken at a dose of 2-4 ml three times a day. Lavender essential oil is only used externally or by inhalation; it should not be used internally.
No form of lavender has undergone comprehensive safety testing.
Internal use of lavender essential oil is unsafe and should be avoided. Topical use is considered much safer. Allergic reactions are relatively common, as with all essential oils. In addition, one case report suggests that a combination of lavender oil and
tea tree oil
applied topically caused gynecomastia (breast enlargement) in 3 young boys.
A controlled study found that inhalation of lavender essential oil might impair some aspects of mental function.
Oral use of tincture of lavender has not been associated with any severe adverse effects, but comprehensive safety testing has not been performed.
The maximum safe doses of any form of lavender remains unknown for pregnant or nursing women, young children, or people with severe liver or kidney.
2. Lin PW, Chan WC, Ng BF, et al. Efficacy of aromatherapy (lavandula angustifolia) as an intervention for agitated behaviours in Chinese older persons with dementia: a cross-over randomized trial. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2007 Mar 7. [Epub ahead of print]
3. Akhondzadeh S, Kashani L, Fotouhi A, et al. Comparison of Lavandula angustifolia Mill. tincture and imipramine in the treatment of mild to moderate depression: a double-blind, randomized trial. Prog Neuropsychopharmacol Biol Psychiatry. 2003;27:123-127.
5. Lewith GT, Godfrey AD, Prescott P, et al. A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia. J Altern Complement Med. 2005;11:631-637.
9. Howard S, Hughes BM. Expectancies, not aroma, explain impact of lavender aromatherapy on psychophysiological indices of relaxation in young healthy women. Br J Health Psychol. 2007 Sep 7. [Epub ahead of print]
10. Kim JT, Ren CJ, Fielding GA, et al. Treatment with lavender aromatherapy in the post-anesthesia care unit reduces opioid requirements of morbidly obese patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. Obes Surg. 2007;17:920-925.
Last reviewed April 2009 by EBSCO CAM Review Board
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