What Is Lavender Oil?
The oil that is extracted through the process of steam distillation from the flowers of the lavender plant is known as lavender oil. For centuries, lavender flowers have been used for making potpourri, owing to their calming nature. The word ‘lavender’ is derived from the Latin word ‘Lavare’ which means ‘to wash.’ For centuries, lavender oil has been used by Egyptians, Persians, Romans, and Greeks as a perfume and bath wash.
Lavender oil is the most widely used oil in the world today due to the numerous health benefits it offers. These cosmetic and therapeutic benefits of lavender oil were discovered around 2,500 years ago. Having anti-depressive properties alongside being a powerful sedative, antioxidant, calming agent, and an antimicrobial, lavender oil is of great use for all.
Long ago, Egyptians used lavender during the mummification process to keep the smell of rot at bay. In fact, history shows that in 1923, when King Tut’s tomb was opened after 3000 years, the smell of lavender could still be detected. For years now, lavender oil has been used as an antibacterial essential oil by aroma therapists. Medications for the diseases related to the digestive system were prepared using the stems and leaves of the plant, and lavenders were used for their cosmetic benefits. Lavender oil was also used for air purifying purposes, bathing, and cooking.
Benefits and Uses of Lavender Oil
Relieves Stress and Anxiety
In the modern era, no one can escape from stress and anxiety that comes with the everyday hustle bustle of life and busy schedules. Lavender oil has terpenoids like linalool and linalyl acetate, and these compounds have powerful anxiolytic properties. So, if you add some drops of lavender oil to your bath water, it can calm your nerves and reduce your restlessness. You can also cure migraines, minimize depression, and reduce nervous tension to a great extent by applying some lavender oil to your temples and rubbing it for a few minutes. It is much better than taking medicines since using lavender is a natural way of getting things done.
Multiple studies have been done to analyze the numerous benefits that lavender oil has. Dr. Nicolette Perry from the Medicinal Plant Research Centre, Northumbria University, conducted a research and reached to the conclusion that aromatherapy can reduce chronic pain, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Minor cuts, burns, and bruises can be cured using lavender oil. Hence, everyone should keep it handy so that it can come into use in such situations that keep happening in our daily lives. If you just rub lavender oil on the bruised or burnt area, it can accelerate the healing process by improving blood circulation. Razor bumps, sun burn, and skin irritations can also be soothed by the use of lavender oil. A study done on the benefits of lavender oil for healing wounds showed that skin tissues can be healed by using lavender oil since it boosts the synthesis of collagen.
Helps You Sleep
Sleeplessness can be managed to quite an extent by the use of lavender oil. If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you won’t be able to properly function the next day. Before you lie down to sleep, rub this oil on your bed sheets, pillow case, and on the palms of your hand. Due to its fragrant smell, it can calm you down and help you sleep. A research was carried out in Taiwan on a group of women aged between 45 and 50 years who suffered from sleeplessness on varying degrees. The study showed that there was a significant improvement in their sleep quality and a positive effect on the heart rate variability with the use of lavender oil.
Prevents Hair Loss
Alopecia is an autoimmune disease where the body starts rejecting its own hair follicles. Lavender oil can help people living with this disorder. Studies show that a significant difference can be seen after using lavender oil. A study done in Scotland showed that over 40% of patients with hair loss issues reported that they saw an increase in hair growth after using lavender oil. Apart from that, lavender oil is also very effective when used to get rid of hair lice and nits. Lavender oil is also suggested as a measure for men to prevent potential baldness.
Improves Blood Circulation
After using lavender oil, the levels of oxygenation in the body go up, making the muscles in your body stronger. This reduces the risks of a heart attack, gives a boost to brain activity, and makes the skin gush with a good flow of blood. It can also help with hypertension by lowering blood pressure. A study done at the Chiba University of Japan showed that lavender oil can majorly help in coronary circulation.
Muscle pain, joint pain, sprains, lumbago, back pains, and rheumatism- all such kinds of pain can be relieved with the used of lavender oil since it has healing properties. You need to regularly massage with lavender oil the part of your body where the pain persists and the results will amaze you. A study was conducted at the New York University Medical Centre. There were two groups of patients. One group was treated with oxygen after the surgery and the other was treated by oxygen that had essential lavender oil incorporated into it. The latter group was seen to have a much higher satisfaction rate in terms of pain control.
Offers a Neuroprotective Effect
Lavender oil can boost the cognitive health of suffering from cerebral ischemia. It can also reduce brain edema. Having been used for its therapeutic and cosmetic benefits for years, lavender oil can now be seen to have medicinal neuroprotective properties. Adding to that, lavender oil inhibits oxidative stress and increases oxidant capacity in the body.
Alleviates Respiratory Problems
Either you can apply lavender oil topically on the back, neck, or chest or use it by putting it in an aromatherapy oil diffuser. Another method is to add it in inhalers or vaporizers; it can help with many respiratory problems like asthma, the flu, cold, cough, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and sinus congestion. The nature of lavender oil is as such that it can relieve the congestion by loosening up the phlegm. This, in turn, makes the recovery process faster and helps eliminate phlegm in a very natural way. Lavender oil can also help fight against respiratory trait infections.
Acne is a prevailing issue that affects a lot of teenagers and some adults too, taking a toll on their confidence levels. Lavender oil has many benefits that can help with acne issues too. A study conducted by DR. Gerhard Buchbayer of the University of Vienna suggested also verified the fact that lavender oil has a lot of therapeutic and anti bacterial properties. It does this by regulating over excretion of sebum by regulating the hormones and also helps to reduce the scars and acne marks after the healing has begun. All you need to do is add a small amount of lavender oil to your ointment that you use regularly and look at how the oil does magic for your skin, helping you heal and giving you relief.
Enhances Urine Flow
It helps urine production and also helps if your urinary bladder in inflamed. Cramps and other disorders due to urinary issues can also be taken care of by the use of lavender oil. It also helps in reducing cystitis. All of this is done by regulating the hormones.
Acts as a Bug Repellent
The smell of lavender oil highly irritates bugs all kinds of bugs like midges and mosquitoes. All you need to do is take preventive measures when going out of the house. Just apply some lavender oil on the areas of your skin that are exposed. Bugs will not even come near you. In the case where a bug has already bitten you, you can apply some lavender oil. It will majorly help you in reducing the pain and irritation due to the anti inflammatory properties that it has.
Speeds Up Digestion
Lavender oil can provide relief from digestive issues like diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain and colic. It does this by stimulating the production of bile and gastric juices within your body and by increasing the mobility of food in your intestine.
Prevents Skin Problems
Skin problems like psoriasis, wrinkles and other inflammatory issues can be managed with the use of lavender oil. It helps with the formation of scar tissues and also used to fight eczema when added to chamomile oil.
Shows Anti-Cancer Potential
Although more research is needed in this arena to verify it completely, it can be seen that lavender oil may be of help with cancer related problems, according to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Centre of human studies.
Side Effects of Using Lavender Oil
As seen above, lavender oil comes with so many benefits and is a natural way of healing so many issues aside from having medicines for all of those issues. Like everything else, using lavender oil comes with a few side effects. These side effects can vary from person to person, depending on a lot of other health factors associated with them. In a few cases, lavender oil can cause skin irritation if overused. It can also cause nausea and vomiting if the smell isn’t suited for you. Headaches are also a possible side effect, although not seen enough in a lot of people. For some people, lavender oil can cause stomach issues and joint pain. These side effects are not noticed a lot in people; however, some people can have these side effects, owing to other factors and medical conditions associated with them.
Risks of Using Lavender Oil
There are a few risks associated with the use of lavender oil and so precautionary measures should be taken. These risks are listed below:
Allergic reactions: lavender oil can cause allergic reactions for those who have sensitive skin
Children: Precautionary measures should be taken when using this oil on kids
Pregnant women: Like all other things, pregnant women should ensure that they consult their doctor before they make use of lavender oil. With a lot of other things happening in a women’s body during pregnancy, it is always safe to use after consultation.
To sum it all up, lavender oil has a lot of benefits and more benefits are still coming up with further researches. Since lavender oil is a completely natural way to solve a lot of health issues, it should be used in abundance. However, do keep in mind the side effects and risks associated with it. If