Lavender oil is an essential oil extracted from the flower spikes of some spaces of lavender. This legendary plant is grown in Cape Verde, the Mediterranean, Eastern Africa, Northern Africa, Canary Islands, Southwest Asia, and China. Lavender plant itself has a lot of benefits: it can be used to add flavor to foods and beverages, used to cure insomnia, headache, depression, and pain.7 It can also be used as a fragrance ingredient in the production of perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, and potpourri. Lavender oil is so good for the physical and emotional health of an individual that carrying it around wouldn’t be such a bad idea.
Benefits of Lavender Oil
Calms the Nerves
Lavender oil can be used in aromatherapy which promotes relaxation. Using lavender oil on the skin stimulates the limbic system, which is part of the brain that helps stimulate and regulate emotions. When lavender oil is inhaled, it improves the emotional well-being of an individual by stimulating the receptors in the nose, which in turn sends signals to the nervous system to relax. One may mix lavender oil with carrier oils such as sweet almond oil, jojoba oil or coconut oil. This mixed concoction can be massaged into the skin, or it can be added into one’s bathing water. One may choose to add a few drops to a piece of clothing such as a handkerchief so as to inhale occasionally. Lavender oil can also be put in a diffuser and diffused into the air to be inhaled.
Pleasant scents are capable of improving one’s mood because of the signals the olfactory nerve sends to the limbic system which is responsible for the regulation of the human emotions. Lavender oil is an essential oil that induces sleep and is more healthy than sleep medications that may have adverse side effects on one’s health. Insomnia is usually caused by anxiety and built up tension, however, lavender oil calms the nerves and the mind, thereby, allowing one to sleep without any problems. One can use lavender oil to alleviate insomnia by dispersing it into the air, using a diffuser, massaging the oil into body parts such as the forehead, chest, hands, and neck. One may use lavender oil to steam the face by adding a few drops into a bowl of hot water and using a towel to cover the face and head while one is sitting over the hot scented water; this also helps to relieve nasal congestion.
Lavender oil contains anti-fungal properties that can effectively reduce or relieve one’s itch, especially itch caused by bee stings or bug bites. Persons who have a dry skin may also use lavender oil to moisturize their skin, it is, however, advisable to mix lavender oil with a carrier oil when needed to moisturize the skin.
Relieves Nausea and Motion Sickness
Lavender oil can help alleviate nausea and motion sickness. It has relaxing properties that help one defeat nausea and motion sickness.
Headaches are sometimes caused by stress and fatigue, and lavender oil can help relieve the pain that comes with headaches. Lavender oil can be massaged into the temples, forehead, neck and the areas behind the ears to treat headaches. Inhaling the scent would also help alleviate headaches.
Speeds up the Healing Process
Lavender oil has antioxidant, antibiotic and antiseptic properties that speed up the healing process of a wound, it repairs damaged tissues and prevents or reduces drastically the risk of scarring. Lavender oil has properties that promote tissue regeneration and collagen production in the skin.
Promotes Skin Health
Lavender oil has anti-inflammation properties that can help reduce the symptoms of skin irritations caused by inflammation. Skin irritations such as skin redness, skin discoloration, skin irritation, eczema, acne, psoriasis, bumps, and blemishes. It moisturizes the skin, improves its vitality and appearance, hydrates the skin and helps prevent premature aging. It is also a plus that lavender oil gives the skin an amazing scent because of its fragrance. This means that lavender oil does not only heal and nourish the skin, it can also serve as a perfume.
Combats Cold Sores
Cold sores are caused by a virus, the herpes simplex virus, and they can be painful and itchy. Lavender oil can be applied to cold sores after it has been mixed with a carrier oil. Lavender oil is effective in treating bruises and skin irritation, so it can be used to reduce the pain and itch that is associated with cold sores. It is usually advisable to mix essential oils such as lavender oil with a carrier oil in consideration of persons who have an allergic reaction to undiluted lavender oil.
Side Effects of Lavender Oil
As beneficial as lavender oil is to the human body, it may also have adverse effects on some persons. We’ll discuss some side effects of lavender oil.
May Cause Hormonal Disorder in Males
Lavender oil may interfere with the production or activity of the androgen hormone which is responsible for the manifestation of male traits such as chest hair and no breast growth. Lavender oil may disrupt androgen activity, thereby, causing androgen to act like estrogen hormone which is responsible for the manifestation of the female traits. This may cause boys or men to grow breast tissue which is an abnormal male trait. The growth of breasts in men or boys probably caused by the use of lavender oil may cause them to experience psychological trauma. This condition, however, stops after one discontinues the use of lavender oil. The use of lavender oil could also cause a man to have fertility problems. It is advisable for men to avoid the use of lavender oil.
Lavender oil is not meant for oral consumption, it can only be inhaled or mixed with hot water which can also be inhaled. It is to be used topically by inhaling and skin absorption. The use of lavender oil may trigger allergic responses from people who are allergic to lavender. Persons who ingest lavender oil which may be used to flavor beverages and confectioneries may have gastrointestinal reactions such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, reflux, and constipation. Lavender can also cause allergic reactions when massaged into the skin. Allergic reactions such as skin rash, burning sensation in the eye eyes and throat, sun sensitivity, anorexia, chills, headaches, blurred vision, and respiratory difficulties. Some of these reactions can be life-threatening and may need a temporary but urgent solution. It is advisable for allergic patients to drink milk or water so as to vomit and counter the effects of lavender oil in the process.
Lavender oil may interact negatively with some medications. It may cause one to sleep excessively or experience drowsiness if used with medications that contain choral hydrate. Lavender oil may interact with medications that are meant to relieve pain or anti-anxiety medications. It is advisable to consult a doctor before using lavender oil alongside medications.
May Cause Skin Irritations
Lavender oil can ease the itch of some mild skin conditions. It should, however, not be used as a substitute for proper medical treatment. Lavender oil should not be applied to sensitive body parts such as the eyes, lips, nostrils and the mucous membrane. This could cause severe skin and dermal irritation in some people. It is usually advisable to first apply lavender oil in a small part of a body to know if one is allergic or not; if there are no allergic reactions, it is safe to continue usage. Severe acne or other severe skin conditions should be treated by a medical practitioner.
Lavender oil is an alternative medicine used to treat various conditions such as skin conditions and anxiety. It is, however, advisable to consult a doctor before using lavender oil, so as to avoid possible allergic reactions, especially in pregnant women and nursing mothers.