Ahhh, the sweet smell of fresh lavender! 💜
Lavender oil usage can help you feel calm and happy (and there is some science behind it!), while it has also been used as a sleep aid, evil spirit repellant, and aphrodisiac. In fact, it’s believed that Cleopatra used lavender in her seduction of Julius Caesar in 47 BC!
Lustful ancient tales aside, in this article we are exploring the top five modern benefits of this familiar herb.
What is lavender?
Firstly, we have all seen the pretty purple flowers that pepper the English countryside – but what exactly is lavender?
Actually a part of the mint family, lavender is a purple flowering plant with a delicious fresh floral scent. There are reportedly 115 different varieties of lavender grown around the world.
This sacred herb can be traced back at least 2,500 years and is indigenous to Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries. However, this evergreen shrub is easily cultivated in cooler climates like the UK – hence its nickname, English lavender.
What are the benefits of lavender oil usage?
1. It can help you fall asleep and stay asleep
Perhaps you are already familiar with this benefit, as lavender has long been used as a natural remedy to treat insomnia and improve the quality of sleep.
With such a naturally relaxing aroma, it may not come as a surprise. But now science is reinforcing traditional and anecdotal evidence with scientific studies that suggest that lavender, when used with other sleep hygiene habits, can be a safe, accessible, and effective treatment to ease sleep issues.
2. It is a natural pain reliever
Multiple studies have been conducted to determine if lavender is effective when used as a natural pain reliever – and the results are optimistic.
For example, one 2015 study concluded that lavender essential oil showed important analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that could help treat pain and inflammation.
Another lavender study from 2012 looked at lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache. Again, the results were positive, with the study suggesting that inhaling lavender essential oil “may be an effective and safe treatment modality in acute management of migraine headaches”.
Of course, this is why we use lavender oil in our award-winning Relief Balm. This independently-tested balm combines the healing power of lavender with other beneficial ingredients such as arnica, juniper and eucalyptus. It can help ease pain and discomfort in areas affected by inflammation, which is why it’s such a winner with everyone from 5km runners to Olympic athletes.
3. It can aid relaxation and restore a sense of calm
Lavender is a herb that has been traditionally used to restore a sense of calm in people suffering with anxiety – and science agrees.
In 2017, one study found that lavender was effective in easing symptoms in people with anxiety disorders. It was found to produce a calming effect without sedation, with no dependence or withdrawal symptoms after use.
Elsewhere, a 2016 study demonstrated that the inhalation of a lavender scent for four weeks was effective in preventing mental health conditions such as stress, anxiety, and depression following childbirth.
4. It is effective for cleaning
Lavender may look and smell beautiful, although its beauty hides powerful antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties.
Before antiseptics were in use in hospitals, it is understood that lavender was used to clean wards. Modern science has confirmed that this was a good course of action, as one study shows that lavender essential oil could be an efficient enhancer of common antiseptics against MRSA strains.
You can use lavender oil as a natural cleaning product by adding around 10 drops of the essential oil to a spray bottle full of water, then using as you would any other cleaning product.
5. It can reduce colic symptoms in babies
Any parent will know that colic (periods of prolonged and intense crying) can be a highly upsetting and stressful time for both your baby and you.
Luckily, lavender is on hand to help!
One 2012 study found that a lavender massage (using lavender essential oil) was an effective method of reducing colic symptoms in infants. Of course, if you are planning to do this, check with a medical professional beforehand.
How to use lavender
There are many ways to use lavender effectively. You can enjoy a lavender massage using the essential oil or our proprietary Relief Balm, or add a few drops of the essential oil to a warm bath.
You can also use the flower in both food and drink products, like cookies, cakes, soft drinks, and teas. While consuming the flower is generally safe, do avoid consuming the essential oil, which can burn and irritate your mouth and throat.
So, whether you are struggling to sleep, are suffering from joint or muscle pain, or simply need to have a good spring clean, lavender oil usage can bring big benefits; proving that this delightful purple flower is much more than just a pretty face!