Today, lavender is the most used essential oil in the world. Ancient texts tell us that lavender essential oil has been used for medicinal and religious purposes for over 2,500 years.
The Egyptians used it for mummification and as a perfume. The Romans used it for bathing, cooking and for scenting the air.
And, quite possibly the most famous usage of all, Mary used it to anoint Jesus with her hair and and some believe spikenard was made from lavender essential oil.
“Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” ~ John 12:3
Many researchers claim that 2,000 years ago, lavender was referred to as spikenard or simply nard from the Greek name for lavender, naardus, after the Syrian city Naarda. This really puts the power of lavender into perspective, doesn’t it?
Today, lavender oil benefits your body in the following ways:
So, how far-reaching are lavender’s health properties?
The truth is, we don’t know. In comparison to its rich history, science has only recently started to evaluate the range of health benefits that lavender essential oil contains.
Today, lavender is one of the most popular essential oils in the world.
To give you a feel of how potent this ancient plant is, I put together what I believe are the top seven health benefits of lavender oil and the reasons you should consider using it.
7 Lavender Oil Benefits and Studies
1. Antioxidant Protection
Researchers from China have recently discovered that lavender essential oil helps your body produce three of your bodies most powerful antioxidants, glutathione, catalase, and SOD within 22 hours of using lavender essential oil!
2. Diabetes Treatment
Possibly the most exciting of all research concerning lavender came out in 2014. Scientists from Tunisia set out to complete a fascinating task: to test the effects of lavender essential oil on blood sugar to see if it can help diabetes.
Lavender essential oil treatment protected the body from the following symptoms of diabetes:
- Increase in blood glucose (the hallmark of diabetes)
- Metabolic disorders (especially fat metabolism)
- Weight gain (ever wonder why as diabetes continues to rise, so do our waistbands!)
- Liver and kidney antioxidant depletion (one of the reasons diabetes is lethal)
- Liver and kidney dysfunction (ditto)
- Liver and kidney lipoperoxidation (when free radicals “steal” necessary fat molecules from cell membranes)
Surprisingly, the radical-scavenging antioxidant activity of lavender was actually more robust than ascorbic acid (Vitamin C)!
Does this tell us that lavender essential oil should be used as a treatment option for diabetics? Maybe.
3. Improves Mood and Supports Brain
One study found that supplementing with 80 mg capsules of lavender essential oil alleviates anxiety, sleep disturbance and depression.
Additionally, in the study there were no adverse side effects from using lavender oil to treat anxiety, insomnia and depression. Whereas we know pharmaceutical drugs like prozac have dangerous side effects.
*To relieve stress and improve sleep, put a diffuser by your bed and diffuse oils while you sleep at night or in the family room while you’re reading or winding down in the evening. Also, can be rubbed topically behind your ears for the same benefits.
4. Lavender Heals Burns and Cuts
Widely known for its antimicrobial properties, lavender has a rich history of being used to prevent various infections and combat bacterial/fungal disorders. In fact, almost 100 studies have been conducted establishing this truth over and over again.
*For burns or eczema, mix lavender oil with coconut oil in 1:5 ratio for rapid healing.
5. Lavender Oil Benefits Skin
Most likely due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant characteristics, lavender essential mixed with aloe or coconut oil has profound benefits on your skin.
Just 10 drops per 1 ounce of aloe vera or oil will sooth the worst sunburn and bring rapid healing to dry skin, minor cuts and scraps.
Want to reduce age spots? Try mixing lavender oil with frankincense essential oil and put it on your skin first thing in the morning, right after you shower and right before bed. Success stories of these two oils improving age and sunspots are numerous.
6. Lavender Oil for Headaches
There are millions of people around the world who struggle with both tension headaches and migraine heartaches who are searching for a natural alternative to drugs. According to new medical research, lavender oil may just be that natural cure they are looking for.
According to a study published in the European Journal of Neurology people struggling with migraine headaches saw a significant reduction in pain when they inhaled lavender oil for 15 minutes.
Probably the most effective natural treatment for headaches is combing lavender oil with peppermint oil and rubbing these oils on the back of the neck, the temples on the lateral side of the forehead along with inhaling it. Typically 2 drops of each oil in the palm of your hand then rubbed into the areas works perfectly.
7. Lavender for Sleep and Insomnia
A study on college students found that using lavender oil improved the overall quality of sleep by 60 percent. This included length of sleep, time it took to fall asleep, restfulness and reduced symptoms of insomnia.
Another study published in the Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine found that lavender oil showed immediate improvements on 5 men and 5 women who struggled with insomnia.
If you are trying to improve your quality of sleep diffusing lavender before or during sleep can help. Also, you can rub it directly on your neck, chest and temples which is also effective.
If you do struggle with sleep I have found that making a mixture of lavender oil, roman chamomile oil and magnesium oil is the best overall combination in improving sleep.
And finally, taking a healing bath by adding 15 drops of lavender oil and 1 cup of epsom salts to the bathtub is another effective way to use lavender oil to improve sleep and relax the body.
As you can see, the benefits of lavender essential oil are incredible and it has many medicinal and therapeutic uses.
Dr. Josh Axe, DNM, DC, CNS, is a doctor of natural medicine, clinical nutritionist, and author with a passion to help people get well using food as medicine. He recently authored “Eat Dirt” and “Gut Repair Cookbook,” and he operates one of the world’s largest natural health websites at DrAxe.com