Native to the Mediterranean and India, lavender is one of the most easy-to-grow herbs, which dates back to over 1500 years. Used in ancient medicine as a healing agent, lavender has plenty of health benefits, especially in its oil form.
1. Fights Depression and Anxiety
According to one study, when lavender essential oil is used in aromatherapy, it can reduce cortisol – the body’s stress hormone levels, thereby combating feelings of anxiety and stress. In another study, participants with mild to moderate levels of depression showed an improvement in mental health, after receiving 60 drops of lavender tincture per day.
There’s also research to indicate that inhaling the scent of the oil extracted from lavender flower for 4 weeks after childbirth can reduce stress and depression in women, in the postpartum period.
2. Helps Manage Diabetes
In a 15-day animal study, it was suggested that lavender oil might fights symptoms of diabetes, including increased bloog glucose levels, weight gain, and liver dysfunction. However, it’s important to note that lavender oil must be used only as a supplement for treatment and not as a substitute.
3. Supports Brain Function
Lavender oil can boost brain function and may prevent and even help treat age-related brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease.In an experiment, the antioxidant properties of lavender oil was shown to delay dementia and improve nerve function.
4. Helps Relieve Pain
Lavender oil is a natural analgesic with pain-alleviating properties. It’s been observed that aromatherapy massages using lavender oil can help relieve menstrual cramps and PMS symptoms. Plus, in a study that looked at the effect of essential oils (including marjoram, peppermint, black pepper, and lavender oils) on neck pain, the direct application of a mixture of the above essential oils – everyday, for a period for a period of 4 weeks- reduced the intensity of pain.
5. Treats Cuts and Wounds
Applying lavender oil to wounds on alternating days, for a total of 14 days, can help heal the injury. Studies show that lavender can activate the properties of a protein called TGF β, which can help repair broken tissue and accelerate healing.
6. Helps Fight Insomnia
Inhaling the scent of lavender flower buds (after boiling and diluting it with water) can promote sleep and may also help fight insomnia. In one study that examined the effect of aromatherapy on new mothers, inhaling lavender oil four times a week before going to sleep – for a period of 8 weeks – improved sleep quality and reduced instances of insomnia.
7. Improves Skin Health
Topical application of diluted lavender oil can improve and restore skin health. Lavender possesses antibacterial properties that battle fungal and bacterial infections. Studies also show that the anti-inflammatory properties of of lavender can fight acne and rashes.
8. Aids Hair Growth
A study conducted on mice showed that application of lavender oil increased the number of hair follicles and promoted hair growth. Though it’s not proven that the same result holds good for humans, there is also good empirical evidence to believe that applying diluted lavender oil to hair for a period of 4 weeks can aid hair growth and add a shine to the strands.11
9. Might Help Aid Cancer Treatment
Thanks to lavender’s mood-lifting properties, some studies say that it can be used as a therapeutic agent to supplement chemotherapy for cancer patients. However, results have been mixed and there’s no conclusive evidence to prove lavender’s role in reducing anxiety or depression in patients undergoing chemotherapy.