Monday, 10 October 2016

Five Uses for Lavender Oil

Lavender oil has got to be the most well-known, bordering on stereotypical, essential oil there is. In Australia, you can even buy it in supermarkets for home use. It has been used for over 2,500 years in traditional medicine, from ancient Rome to China, but there is also a lot of modern scientific evidence to back up its use.


Anxiety is likely to be the most well-known use for lavender oil. In a study of 90 patients waiting for open-heart surgery, there was a significant reduction in anxiety among those inhaling the lavender oil compared to the distilled water placebo. It wasn't just about feeling calmer, as the cortisol levels of the lavender group were, on average, 69% lower than in the placebo group. A German study also found that lavender oil was more effective than placebo in relieving anxiety in a trial involving elderly patients. The researchers then stated that it could be a safe alternative to synthetic drugs.


A better night's sleep is another common use for lavender oil. This study was a clinical trial on the effects of lavender oil inhalation, with 158 post-partum mothers who were either assigned to a treatment or placebo group. As labour and caring for a completely dependent child are very stressful situations, there is a high chance of inadequate sleep. Poor sleep can lead to problems with concentration, judgement and the ability to perform everyday tasks. Every night before going to bed, the women participating in the study inhaled 10 deep breaths of either the lavender oil, dropped onto a cotton ball, or a placebo, and then kept it beside their bed until the morning. This is very similar to use of a diffuser. After eight weeks, women in the lavender group reported significant improvements in sleep, from an average of 8.3 to 6.8 on the Pittsburgh sleep quality index; the placebo group saw a non-significant improvement from 8.5 to 7.6.
Source: Saffron Blaze

Menstrual Issues

Lavender oil may also be effective in managing dysmenorrhoea, or period pain. In a study of 44 nursing and midwifery students in Turkey, self-massage with lavender oil was more effective than a placebo massage with petroleum-based oil in relieving pain. In another study of seventeen women with emotional PMS symptoms, inhaling lavender oil for 10 minutes was associated with a significant increase in parasympathetic nervous system activity - that is, it relieved stress, which allowed the autonomic nervous system to learn more towards the "rest and digest" side. Lavender oil was also able to significantly reduce feelings of depression/dejection and confusion.

Pain Relief

Lavender oil may help with other types of pain too, including during the insertion of needles necessary for kidney dialysis. Thirty-four patients volunteered for this cross-over study, where their pain levels were measured during three different interventions: lavender oil, placebo and nothing. Using the lavender oil, their pain levels were an average of 2.91; with the placebo, it was 4.18. Using nothing, their average score was 4.59, and as all differences were seen as significant, this means that even use of a placebo had some mild effect.

Mouth Ulcers

Another painful condition is mouth ulcers, could lavender oil help with these too? This study tested the effects of lavender oil on both animals and people with mouth ulcers in order to find out. Lavender oil was shown to be safe and effective in animals, with a significant ulcer size reduction and increased rate of repair and healing in three days compared to baseline and placebo. Patients treated with lavender oil also showed a significantly improved rate of healing. Time to heal, inflammation level, pain and ulcer size were all greatly reduced compared to placebo, without side effects.

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