Everywhere you look today, someone is touting the benefits of using essential oils, but what does that mean to the everyday consumer who is looking for something to add to their medicine cabinet? What types of benefits can a simple plant such as lavender have regarding common medical problems?
Let’s take a look at lavender essential oil. Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils that beginners choose because it’s familiar. Most everyone knows how lavender smells. Maybe it’s a fragrance their grandmother used and that brings back happy memories, but the benefits of lavender essential oil go far beyond simply being a pleasant fragrance.
Lavender has relaxing qualities. A good way to use lavender essential oil for the first time is to diffuse the scent, as smelling lavender can reduce the stress levels found within the bloodstream, states Dr. Oz on Huffington Post. Adding lavender essential oil to bath salts and enjoying a relaxing bath is a great way to experience its relaxing qualities. Another easy way to experience lavender is to spritz some of the oil on a pillowcase, or place a few drops of oil in a diffuser that’s set in the bedroom, allowing the scent to be inhaled as you drop off to sleep.
Research has shown that lavender essential oil has promise in the treatment of anxiety and sleep disorders, according to WebMD. When taken orally for six to 10 weeks, lavender improved patients’ sleep patterns and levels of anxiety, although it was no more effective than prescription medications such as Ativan. However, for patients wishing a more natural substance than pharmaceuticals, lavender essential oil may be the answer.
When used in combination with other essential oils, including cedarwood, thyme and rosemary, lavender may be beneficial for patients diagnosed with alopecia who are experiencing hair loss. WebMD states that when the oils are used topically in combination for seven months, hair growth improved by as much as 44 percent.
Pain control is another area that lavender essential oil has potential. In women who have undergone cesarean sections, research suggests that receiving the oil through an IV has positive effects on perceive pain levels, reports WebMD. Though most facilities probably don’t have lavender essential oil in their pharmacies, a woman recovering from a C-section could certainly use lavender oil topically, once approved by her physician, to help ease pain surrounding the incision site.
According to WebMD, research into other uses of lavender that show promise includes its use in patients with hypertension. When used in combination with ylang ylang and lemon, the essential oils have shown the potential to lower blood pressure rates in some patients. Other studies have shown benefit in Alzheimer’s patients in reducing levels of agitation, although further research is needed in both of these areas.
The use of lavender oil on burns was discovered in 1928 by French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé, reports Dr. Axe. After Gattefossé saw its healing effects on a personal injury, lavender essential oil became a popular and effective treatment for injured soldiers during World War I.
Aromatherapy and essential oils are becoming more mainstream, as people are searching for natural ways to promote healing and well-being without having to use traditional medications. Scientists are conducting research on many different oils, and studies are being published on medical sites such as PubMed.gov showing the efficacy and benefits of essential oils. For those looking to incorporate essential oils into their lives, lavender is a great place to start.