Botanical name: lavandula officinalis
Use: stimulates new cell growth, lifts depression, calms nerves, fights infection, reduces inflammation, and eases congestion. Relieves pain and muscle spasm. Lowers blood pressure.
Perfume Note: Middle
Blends well with: Geranium, Bergamot, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Rosewood
Source: flowers, stalks
Production method: steam distillation
Aromatherapy benefits: stimulates, relaxes, calms, soothes
Aroma type: sweet, floral, herbaceous
Caution: may cause gynecomastia, breast development in young boys.
Lavender: (Lavendula Latifolia) kills germs and stimulates new cell growth. Lavender can be used to treat oily skin and acne and prevents scarring and stretch marks and reputedly slows the development of wrinkles.
The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems.
Small clinical studies of Silexan, an oral preparation of lavender oil, have been found it may be useful for alleviating low-level anxiety and sleep disorders.
Scientific evidence from the University of Maryland Medical Center suggests that aromatherapy with lavender may slow the activity of the nervous system, improve sleep quality, promote relaxation, and lift mood in people suffering from sleep disorders. Studies also suggest that massage with essential oils, particularly lavender, may result in improved sleep quality, more stable mood, better concentration, and reduced anxiety.
In a recent study (2012), people who received massage with lavender felt less anxious and more positive than those who received massage alone. Several small studies suggest that lavender aromatherapy may help reduce agitation in patients with dementia. Lavender flowers have also been approved in Germany as a tea for insomnia, restlessness, and nervous stomach irritations.
In one study of 86 people with alopecia areata (an autoimmune disease that causes hair to fall out, often in patches), those who massaged their scalps with lavender and other essential oils daily for 7 months experienced significant hair regrowth compared to those who massaged their scalps without the essential oils.
Aromatherapists also use lavender in inhalation therapy to treat headaches, nervous disorders, and exhaustion. Herbalists treat skin ailments, such as fungal infections (like candidiasis), wounds, eczema, and acne, with lavender oil.
It is also used in a healing bath for joint and muscle pain. One study evaluating treatments for children with eczema founded it was therapeutic touch from the mother that improved symptoms; in other words, massage with and without essential oils (including lavender) both reduced the dry, scaly skin lesions.
Another study found that lavender oil may improve pain control after surgery. Fifty patients undergoing breast biopsy surgery received either oxygen supplemented with lavender oil or oxygen alone. Patients in the lavender group reported better pain control than patients in the control group.