Topics in Aromatherapy-Lavender
Welcome to the 4th post in my blog series, Topic in Aromatherapy. Each week I am focusing on an aspect of aromatherapy such as an essential oil or carrier oil and discuss their healing properties. I also will discuss how to make some of your own natural products using essential oils. So far, we have talked about jojoba oil, tea tree oil and sweet almond oil.
This week, we are going to talk about lavender.
What is lavender?
Lavenders (Lavandula) are a genus of 39 species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. (source)
What claims have been made about lavender?
A number of studies have reported that lavender essential oil may be beneficial in a variety of conditions, including:
- alopecia (hair loss)
- post-operative pain
- being antibacterial and antiviral
- The German Standard license and European guidelines for medicinal tea preparation lists lavender for use in sleep disorders, lack of appetite, mild tranquilizer, and treatment of irritable stomach (source)
What studies have been done about lavender?
Most of the studies concerning lavender were not well carried out, too small or used a non-standard dosing of lavender
Some reputable studies have found:
- The combination of lavender and imipramine was significantly more effective than imipramine alone in treating depression (source)
- Animal models have found that Lavandula angustifolia can treat painful and inflammatory conditions (source)
- Lavender extract can reverse learning deficits in rats with Alzheimer’s Disease (source)
- Lavender oil is effective in reducing challenging behaviours in individuals with dementia (source)
- Lavender has shown to decreased perception of stress in nurses (source)
- Lavender was shown to reduce needed pain medication, improve sleep patterns and enhance perception of well-being in patients with rheumatoid arthritis (source)
- Lavender was found to be anti-fungal (source) and anti-bacterial(source)
How it is used in aromatherapy?
Commercial preparations are made from dried flowers and essential oils of the lavender plant to be used in:
- Aromatherapy oil
- Bath gels
- Whole, dried flowers
I recently made some lotion and a face scrub with dried lavender and they smell so lovely and are very relaxing.
Cooking with lavender
Lavender is also used in cooking:
- Its flowers yield a nectar which is transformed by bees into honey.
- Its flowers can be candied for cake decorations
- It can be made into sugar
- It may be blended with tea
- It can be added to baked goods (source)
Some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender (source)
Have you used lavender before? What is your favorite way to use it? Have you grown lavender?