Did you know that Lavender essential oil is one of the most popular and well-known essential oils in the UK?
Lavender is beloved for its appealing scent and calming effects, and it’s also thought to hold a range of medicinal properties based on traditional use. For centuries, lavender has been used in perfumery, cosmetics and in herbal remedies.
Lavender oil is thought to have a range of benefits including calming the body and mind, and helping to promote better sleep.1
How is lavender oil made?
Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, lavender is now grown across the world wherever there is sunshine, rain, and well-drained soil.2
Lavender’s unmistakeable scent comes from the vibrant violet-coloured flowers which grow in small clusters at the top of its stalks.
The fragrant oil is extracted from these clusters through a process of distillation. This involves the freshly-harvested flowers being steamed and the pure lavender oil collected.3
Lavender oil benefits
Research into the different lavender oil uses and the potential benefits is ongoing, but there have been some promising studies done so far.
- It can help calm you down
Studies have shown that using lavender oil regularly can have a calming effect and boost a low mood.4,5
A holistic study performed in an intensive care ward in a hospital in Reading, UK found that the patients who received complementary aromatherapy using drops of lavender essential oil reported ‘significantly greater improvement’ in their mood and anxiety levels compared to those receiving other holistic therapies.6
A homemade lavender massage oil can be created by adding a few drops of lavender to a carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond or coconut oil.
Further, a few drops of lavender on a cotton handkerchief can provide a moment of relaxation when you’re on the go. Keep it handy for traffic jams, awkward phone calls and any time you would ordinarily feel your heart rate rising.
- It promotes a good night’s sleep
Using lavender oil for sleep is probably one of the most common uses of this multi-tasking essential oil. It’s so effective that you may have noticed that pillow mists, room sprays, temple balms and linen fragrance almost always have the fragrance of lavender.
Research has suggested that inhaling lavender oil before bed can improve the quality of sleep.7,8
If you’re a troubled sleeper, a lavender oil diffuser placed near your bed could help you wind down, relax and prepare your body and mind for sleep each night.
A few drops on your pillowcase could also help promote a restful night. Be sure to apply to the underside of your pillow, as lavender oil can irritate the skin and eyes if applied directly.
- It can keep bugs at bay
Lavender oil can help keep mosquitos, wasps, ants, moths and flies off next time you’re having dinner in the garden or walking by a river. This is thanks to the compounds linalool and camphor, which are repellent to bugs.9,10
A few drops in your body moisturiser will provide good coverage to exposed areas. Alternately, you could apply a diluted drop to pulse points such as wrists, neck, ankles and the backs of your knees. Ensure lavender oil is blended with a carrier oil before applying to the skin, pure essential oils should not be used directly on skin.
There is no official dosage for lavender oil as it’s not considered a medicine. It’s important to note, however, that you should never consume any essential oil as this can be harmful.
You can apply diluted lavender oil directly to the skin in small amounts, such as to a pulse point. All essential oils can cause skin irritation so it’s best to dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.
Inhaling lavender oil a few times each day is unlikely to cause any adverse effects, but in rare cases this can cause irritation to the nostrils. If any irritation occurs, stop using it immediately.
People with asthma should avoid inhaling essential oils as they could trigger asthma attacks.11
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Last updated: 10 August 2020