Lavender is one of the most popular essential oils in the world. Its medicinal use can be traced back to more than 2,500 years ago where it was widely used in traditional Chinese medicine. Researchers have found scientific evidence for many of the ancient uses of lavender essential oil. Some of its proven medicinal applications include the following:
- Improving sleep — Lavender essential oil is commonly used as a remedy for sleep-related disorders, such as insomnia. In one study, new mothers were asked to place a drop of lavender oil on a cotton ball and inhale 10 deep breaths of the aroma before going to bed. After eight weeks of doing this, the women exhibited significant improvements in sleep quality compared to those who only used a placebo oil. It works by providing a sedative effect, which you can also enjoy by adding the oil to your bath or applying it to your temples, neck, wrists, or the soles of your feet.
- Reducing pain — People who suffer from sore and tense muscles, rheumatism, sprains, and backache can use lavender essential oil to alleviate their pain. To enjoy this benefit, the oil is commonly massaged onto the affected area. A study from the New York University Medical Center showed that after an operation, being revived with oxygen that contained lavender essential oil vapor provided better pain control.
- Relieving anxiety — Many studies have shown that lavender essential oil can be used as a natural remedy for anxiety. This is possible because of terpenoids like linalool and linalyl acetate that have potent anxiety-relieving properties. To enjoy this benefit, just apply a few drops of lavender oil to your temples, add it to your bath, or inhale its aroma. (Related: New lavender oil clinically proven to relieve occasional anxiety.)
- Easing premenstrual symptoms — A lot of women suffer from dysmenorrhea during their period. This can lead to cramps, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and headaches. Fortunately, studies have shown that lavender essential oil can be used to relieve these symptoms of dysmenorrhea. A study by researchers from Iran showed that this essential oil works by relaxing the muscles, improving blood flow, and increasing elasticity. Moreover, they observed that the active compounds in lavender oil make their way to the bloodstream after topical application or inhalation.
- Lowering stress levels — In a Thai study, researchers looked at the effects of lavender essential oil on physiological signs of stress as well as mood responses in comparison with sweet almond oil. Their results showed that inhaling lavender oil causes significant improvements in blood pressure, heart rate, and skin temperature. Moreover, the participants who received the lavender treatment felt more active, fresher, and more relaxed than those in the almond oil group.
- Clearing vaginal yeast infections — Lavender essential oil has potent antifungal properties that are effective against Candida albicans. This fungus is responsible for up to 90 percent of vaginal candidiasis infections. A recent study has shown that lavender essential oil is even more powerful than clotrimazole, an antifungal drug which is associated with an increase in liver enzymes, painful urination, and depression.
- Healing mouth ulcers — A study involving 115 patients with mouth ulcers revealed that lavender essential oil significantly reduces inflammation and ulcer size. Moreover, it can cause the ulcer to heal faster by two to four days and immediately relieves pain with just one dose.
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