Lavender is such a treat to the eye and never disappoints when used in cosmetics, perfumes, and herbal remedies. The signature purple flowers are hard to miss and the plant's adaptability has seen it grow successfully in the USA, North & Central Africa, China, India, Europe, and Australia.
Table of Contents
- What is lavender Oil?
- Benefits of Lavender Oil
- Health Benefits
- Relieves Stress and Anxiety
- Promotes Sleep
- Combat Fungal Infections
- Insect Repellent
- Treats Respiratory Disorders
- Relieves Pain
- Relieves Menstrual Cramps
- Benefits to the Skin
- Benefits to the Hair
- What to Look for in Lavender Oil
- Side Effects
- Take Away
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils for aromatherapy, loved for its appealing scent and relaxing effects on the brain. This is just the tip of the iceberg, lavender oil has tons of benefits and we are glad to share them all.
What Lavender Oil?
Lavender essential oil is extracted from the beautiful, scented flowers of the lavender plant [Lavandula angustifolla] primarily through steam distillation. Lavandula angustifolla is a small evergreen, shrub-like aromatic plant with beautiful purple flowers.
Originally hailing from the Mediterranean, Arabian Persulla, and Russia, lavender thrives ideally on dry and rocky terrains. Well, this has not been a hindrance for the plant to grow in other regions across the world all credit to its high adaptability.
How It's Made?
This magical plant belongs to the mint family. The strong crispy scent can be described as a mix of rosemary and mint with a sweet floral twist. Now that that is out of the way, how is lavender essential oil made?
The flowers are hand-harvested from the fields. They are then tied in bunches and left to dry under shade. This might take a few days, up to a week. After drying the buds are extracted from the stems and you are good to begin the extraction process.
As stated earlier, lavender oil is extracted primarily through steam distillation. The sufficiently dry buds are subjected to hot steam to produce lavender oil which is collected through condensation.
Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is not only pretty on the fields, for more than 3000 years the plant is considered nothing less of a miraculous herb used for hair, skin, and medicinal remedies. There is so much potential in the plant in terms of benefits with more studies underway to ascertain the full potential.
One might wonder for all these years that the plant has been in existence why study it now? Well, the world is slowly turning to natural solutions and lavender oil provides an excellent variation.
It is for a fact that the magical lavender flowers have the most soothing and relaxing scent you can ever get. Perhaps explaining why the oil is ideal for perfumes?
Let’s get down to it; here are the benefits of lavender essential oils.
1. Health Benefits
Health is a crucial aspect of human life as lavender essential oil is second to none when it comes to medicinal and health benefits.
i. Relieves Stress and Anxiety
We have all been stressed at some point in life and have different ways to cope up with stress. The most common way is listening to music. Yes, music soothes the soul but doesn't always work.
Lavender oil goes toe to toe with anxiety prescription meds in terms of effectiveness in relieving stress and anxiety. In a recent study in the UK, patients who received complementary aromatherapy using drops of lavender essential oil reported greater improvements in mood and anxiety levels compared to those who received other holistic therapies.
Lavender oil has exceptional properties that help calm the nerves; relieving stress and anxiety. Some studies have also portrayed lavender to have the ability to clear brain fog and increase mental cognition. And, unlike most stress and anxiety meds, lavender oil is all-natural with no side effects.
ii. Promotes Sleep
The foundation of a healthy lifestyle starts and ends with good sleep. If you find yourself tossing & turning at night and desperately in need of quality sleep, research suggests that lavender oil might be just what you need.
When inhaled lavender oil relaxes the body and mind, soothing the nervous system to improve sleep patterns. Strongly recommended for people with insomnia!
What do you need to do? Add a few drops of the oil on the pillow before sleep. Alternatively, you can inhale it directly.
No more tossing and turning!
iii. Combat Fungal Infections
Lavender has both anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that help combat fungal infection both internal and external. It can destroy membranes of fungal cells hence effective in treating most fungal infections that would otherwise require a prescription.
Though not scientifically verified, theories are suggesting that lavender is effective in treating yeast infection. With that said, despite what you read online, never be persuaded to apply the oil directly to the vagina to treat infections. Seek advice from your doctor on how to go about it.
Lavender is also effective in treating minor wounds, burns, and bug bites. How? By boosting the synthesis of collagen and healing skin tissues.
v. Insect Repellent
Most commercial insect repellents are chemical-ridden. Well, who wants such toxins on their skin? Lavender oil is an excellent insect repellent effective in repelling insects such as mosquitoes, moths, bugs, flies, and head lice.
vi. Treats Respiratory Disorders
Lavender is tonic in nature and can help relieve congestion and other problems associated with respiratory health conditions. Precisely, the oil treats cough, cold, flu, throat infection, bronchitis, asthma, whooping cough, and tonsils.
To be effective apply a few drops of the oil on the neck, chest, or inhaled it in vapor form. How does it relieve congestion? By flashing out excess phlegm blocking the sinus!
vi. Relieves Pain
Studies have shown lavender to be effective in relieving muscle & joint pain, backache and headache. This is all credit to the anti-inflammatory properties of the oil that helps relax muscles and bones.
Strongly recommended for people suffering from sore muscles, rheumatism muscular aches, backaches, joint pain, and sprains!
vii. Relieves Menstrual Cramps
Over 70% of women will experience premenstrual tension through their childbearing years. Some of the symptoms of premenstrual tension [PMT] include bloating, anxiety, moodiness, anxiety, irritability, and backache.
When used for aromatherapy, lavender oil is effective in treating these symptoms. You can also opt to massage your abdomen with a few drops of oil.
2. Benefits to the Skin
We all want soft, glowing skin free of acne and dark spots. To achieve this, we need to take care of the skin and some of us have a cabinet filled with cosmetic products. Well, what if I told you that lavender essential oil can replace most of these products?
i. Treats Acnes
Whether it's adolescence or adulthood, no one likes acne, they are super annoying and no matter how self-confident you are, this has the potential to lower your self-esteem. Lavender oil is effective in fighting acne particularly for those wishing to carry a more natural regime.
It has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that inhibit the growth of bacteria that cause acne infection, prevent the over secretion of sebum, and unclogs blocked pores. Unlike most acne creams, lavender oil has no additives or chemicals and is hypoallergenic.
ii. Soothes Irritated Skin
Lavender oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help treat skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. These conditions will make the skin to get dry, scaly, and itchy. Lavender essential oil is light an excellent skin moisturizer with the ability to sit deep in the skin, locking in moisture without clogging the pores.
It can also aid in reducing skin discoloration and dark spots. This might be just what you just need if what you want is an even skin tone.
iii. Prevents Premature Skin Aging
Our skin is bound to age at some point and there is nothing that we can do about it. However, we can prevent premature skin aging and sagging. Unhealthy feeding habits, exposure to toxins, and failure to moisturize the skin can lead to premature skin aging.
Lavender oil contains anti-oxidative, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory properties all of which help inhibit the activities of free radicals which is the leading cause of premature aging of the skin. The high oxidative activity of the oil helps neutralize the oxidative damages caused by free radicals.
This will promote radiant and glowing skin. As much as aging is invertible, with lavender oil you are least assured that your skin will age gracefully.
3. Benefits to the Hair
Beauty is a full package that cannot be complete without the hair. No matter how soft and glowing your skin is, if your hair looks unkempt and unhealthy, you simply won't cut. Gone are the days when hair grooming used to be a feminine thing. In the modern era, men care about how their hair looks.
i. Prevents Hair Loss
Thinning hair and complete hair loss is a nightmare for most of us. A study that used mice as test subjects reported a significant increase in hair when lavender oil was applied to the skin. That’s not all, the hair got thicker and grew faster than normal.
There lucks enough evidence to ascertain whether the oil will increase hair growth in humans but recent experiments have confirmed the theory to be true. Explaining why lavender oil is an essential ingredient in most virgin hair products.
ii.Promotes a Healthy Scalp
A dry and irritated scalp is a recipe for dandruff and weak hair. Lavender oil has emollient and anti-fungal properties that help moisturize dry & irritated scalp and prevent your scalp from contracting fungal infections.
How to Use Lavender Oil for Hair
- Dilute concentrated lavender oil with a carrier oil i.e. coconut oil. Massage the oil evenly into your scalp. Leave it for 10-15 minutes then rinse.
- Add lavender oil to your other hair products such as hair conditioner, shampoo, and hair food.
- Purchase hair products with lavender oil as an ingredient.
What to Look for in Lavender Oil
Essential oils are not regulated by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], meaning that they don't have to meet any purity standard. For this reason, you have to be cautious about what you buy. Most pure lavender oil products will always have the scientific name [Lavandula angustifolla ] on the product label. Check to see if there are other ingredients included and if there are, it can only mean that it isn't pure lavender oil. Also, the oil should be packed in a dark amber or cobalt bottle and stored away from direct sunlight.
Risks and Side Effects
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women- pregnant and breastfeeding women should always consult before using lavender essential oil.
- Children- exercise caution when using lavender oil on children below 5 years. To be safe, don’t use the oil on children.
- Allergy- though lavender oil is hypoallergenic, there are rare cases where an allergic reaction occurs. Always carry out a patch test before applying the oil on the large parts of the skin.
Should lavender oil be your new gig? Well, that's entirely on you. Only a few natural oils if any can match the health benefits of lavender essential oil.
100% worth your time and investment.