One of my favorite places on earth is the Ali’i Kula Lavender farm in Maui. I didn’t even expect to enjoy it. My wife dragged me there on a journey years ago—she is a huge fan of essential oils and particularly fan of lavender oils—and I fell in love. It is acre about acre of rolling hills covered in lavender fields, Buddhist shrines, winding paths, and great views of the ocean. And always, in the background and foreground, is the fragrant aroma of lavender. Any stress melt (not that stress is a lot of a problem in Hawaii) and you are perfectly happy just wandering quietly through the fields. Every time you brush against a plant the smell intensifies and follows you for a bit.
The effects of stress melting could not have been just of the lavender: walking, fresh air, the fact that I was on vacation in Hawaii all played a great role, but the lavender was also a factor.
But how? Are there ways to get those same benefits without visiting a lavender farm in the middle of the Pacific Ocean?
Yeah. The lavender oil, or essential lavender oil, contains theessence of the lavender plant – all the aromatic components that provide the pharmacological effects we see from the entire plant.
The Benefits of Lavender Oil
Lavender oil reduces anxiety
Lavender oil aromatherapy is one of the most common treatments for surgery or anxiety related to medical treatment.
In dental patients nervous about treatment, the aromatherapy of lavender oil reduces anxiety.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-1" title='ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25328900‘>1This is also effective in children with anxiety in dental treatment.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-2" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32030454/‘>2 Other studies confirm this effect.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-3" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19968674/‘>3
Not all studies are positive. The inhalation of lavender oil pre-surgery for general anxiety sometimes works, sometimes not, but the balance of evidence shows that it probably helps.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-4" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30660371/‘>4<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-5" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32212806/‘>5 An interesting study found that lavender oil aromatherapy before a medical procedure reduced anxiety, stress and pain levels while improving oxygen saturation.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-6" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32798174/‘>6
Oral lavender oil can also work. Oral lavender oil seems as effective (without side effects, such as drowsiness and extreme addiction) as Xanax to reduce general anxiety.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-7" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19962288/‘>7 In Germany, oral lavender oil is considered a legitimate treatment for anxiety disorders.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-8" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25522403/‘>8a
It’s mixed, then, but I think the evidence is pretty strong that lavender oil can reduce anxiety in people.
Lavender oil low voltage
It seems that the reduction of the stress I felt was not just placebo or result of being on vacation in Hawaii. Most of the published research finds that lavender has real effects on biomarkers and subjective feelings of stress.
In a study, smelling essential oils lavender or rosemary for 5 minutes lowering cortisol levels in human subjects. Lavender was much more powerful than rosemary, with a dilution of 1000x lavender being as effective as a dilution of 10x rosemary.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-9" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17291597/‘>9
In another study, the inhalation of essential lavender oil was also effective in reducing math test increases in a marker of biological stress.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-10" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18635155/‘>10
In subjects subjected to needle insertion, those wearing an oxygen mask with a lavender oil scent pumped through it experienced less subjective stress. In addition, the pain of being injected was reduced.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-11" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21854199/‘>11
The subjects of another study saw a stressful video. Half of them suffered lavender oil aromatherapy during the video, while half did not. Those who received lavender oil had reduced stress markers compared to those who did not receive lavender oil.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-12" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21854199/‘>12
After heart surgery, however, the aromatherapy of lavender oil has little or no effect on most stress markers, apart from a slight reduction in blood pressure.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-13" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26051567/‘>13
Lavender oil increases wound healing
Lavender oil increases the expression of an essential wound healing factor known as a beta transformative growth factor. After wounding rats (I know, it sounds bad), the researchers applied lavender oil to the wound. On day four, collagen deposition had increased along with the presence of fibroblasts (which help lower the collagen).<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-14" title='https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4880962/‘>14
In general, most of the research finds that lavender oil can accelerate wound healing, increase growth factors on the wound site, and improve collagen synthesis.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-15" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32589447/‘>15 Even when it does not accelerate healing better than control, it seems better to reduce pain and improve comfort during the healing process.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-16" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21168115/[//ref] I was unable to find any negative results, suggesting that lavender oil is worth trying next time you get a wound.
Lavender Oil Improves Sleep
In a recent study, researchers tracked the brain waves of sleeping adults before and after the administration of lavender oil aroma. Once lavender oil was pumped into the room, the brain waves in the sleep adults changed to reflect more of a slow wave sleep/deep sleep pattern—and a higher sleep quality score.[ref]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30660371/‘>16 Slow-wave sleep is very important for learning, memory consolidation and muscle recovery.
Other studies have found that inhaling lavender oil can improve sleep quality, counteract insomnia, and even increase melatonin levels.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-17" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31780012/‘>17 Using a lavender oil aromatherapy patch at night improves awakening in the morning.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-18" title='https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26133206/‘>18
If you’re interested in sleeping aromatherapy, my wife loves theVagus Nerve Pillow Mist. I can never bring myself to buy it for myself, but I will certainly borrow you for a spray or two. Rotate this on your pillow before bed and you will have a great night of sleep. This is not just lavender oil, but lavender oil is quite prominent and responsible for many of the effects.
How to use lavender oil
There are some different ways to use lavender oil.
The simplest way to do “aromatherapy” is to open the bottle of lavender oil and smell it. Literally, keep it to your nose and forget it when you have a yearning. However, most studies have sudden lavender smell for 5-10 minutes for the strongest effects. You can also use a diffusoror use a aromatherapy patch.
Most lavender oils are not intended to be consumed orally. I’m not saying they hurt you, but that’s not their intended use, so I can’t suggest you prove it. You can take a dedicated Oral lavender oil supplement.
If you are trying to cure a wound, directly apply a drop or two of lavender oil mixed in a spoonful of carrier oil (such as massage oil) and apply that to the wound.
Who shouldn’t use lavender oil?
For most people, lavender oil is a risk-free essential oil that can help with healing wounds, anxiety, stress and sleep.
You would be careful to use lavender oil products in children, as lavender oil may have estrogenic effects if used for excess. Several studies have found even links between lavender oil exposure and early breast growth, both in girls and in boys. To be fair, the children of these studies were exposed to high levels of lavender fragrance daily for years.<a class="mda-footnote" href="#ref-19" title='https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6773459/‘>19
I would also recommend not to use lavender oil on a daily basis, particularly for men. Use as necessary, not chronically. You don’t want chronic estrogen increases.
That’s it, folks. I hope you’ll be successful if you try to taste the lavender oil.
})( jQuery );
- https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21168115/[/ref] I was unable to find negative results, suggesting that lavender oil is worth trying the next time you get a wound.
Lavender oil improves sleep
In a recent study, researchers traced brain waves of sleeping adults before and after the administration of the lavender oil aroma. Once the lavender oil was pumped into the room, brain waves in adult sleep changed to reflect more of a slow-wave/deep sleep pattern, and a higher sleep quality score. [ref]https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30660371/