Many of us are aware of Lavender’s relaxing aromatherapy benefits.   It fills your mind and body with the scents of the Mediterranean, a Russian meadow, of windswept purple fields in Provence, France.
But what other secrets does this medicinal herb hide?

1.

Helps to alleviates anxiety when taken as an oral supplement.

This one’s an oldie but a semi-new goodie, because orally? There’s some clinical evidence that taking 80 mg of lavender oil (Silexan) daily over a 6-10 week period can help relieve symptoms of anxiety and improve sleep. Multiple studies have found it to have similar effectiveness as Lorezepam (Ativan) at reducing anxiety and improving sleep utilizing the Hamilton Anxiety Rating Scale (HAM-A). 4 5 6 Short term studies suggest that lavender is generally safe to consume at 80mg or less. But that being said, there needs to be more long-term studies completed on the safety of ingesting lavender as an oral supplement. What I like about lavender oil over drugs like Valium and Ativan, is that it has been found to have little to no potential for addiction and abuse. 7

2.

Helps heal those pesky “Why god why did I think I could eat hot wings right now!?!,” canker sores.

Oh yes, here’s a goodie for sure. You bit the inside of your lip, and now there’s a throbbing hot mess of a sore doing it’s very best to muddle every meal and cup of tea you’re planning for that day. You’ve googled canker sores and herpes at least three times in your life by now, so you’re sure on an intellectual level it’s not herpes, but on the spiritual plane…you’re not quite convinced. Either way, there’s a whole lot of teeth brushing and Listerine swishing going on. Apologies to all those beautiful humans out there who suffer from HSV (herpes simplex virus) , we love you too. Lavender has been found to improve healing time and reduce canker sore pain, size, and inflammation, when applied in doses of two drops of lavender oil directly on the aphthous ulceration (aka stinging beastie) three times a day. 8

Bonus Tip!

I personally dab a little lavender oil on my neck every night to help signal my body that it’s time to sleep, relax, and indulge in a little me time. 1 2 3  It’s a really handy habit when travelling. No matter how many stars a hotel has, sometimes, it’s just got a funky odor. Keeping a little lavender oil in my travel bag for just for these situations is my  secret to a happy and restful nose.

3.

Fall prevention.

Out of left wing, one study found that nursing home residents who attached a pad with lavender oil onto the neckline of clothing daily for one year, reduced fall risk by 43% and the number of falls per person by 49%. 9 This one sat me back in my swivel chair. Further research suggests that lavender when ingested aromatically not only helps with relaxation, but can also act as a stimulus to several parts of the brain including the orbitofrontal cortex involved in cognitive processing and decision-making, and the entorhinal cortex a key player in spatial memory. 10 11 12 13

Learn more about this study and a neat gift idea in a separate article.

4.

Helps with postoperative and acute pain.

Perhaps most interesting: clinical studies have found that lavender when inhaled can help to alleviate postoperative pain, pain experienced during menstrual cramps, after natural childbirth, and even pain felt during migraines. Pairing lavender with complimentary treatments was found to be effective in treating pain during the postoperative period after cesareans, episiotomy, breast biopsy surgery, and laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Proof that smelling good is good. For those beleaguered souls who suffer from migraines: one study involving forty-seven patients suffering from migraine attacks described substantial reduction of pain and accompanying symptoms fifteen minutes after applying two to three drops of lavender essential oil to the upper lip. 22 You are now aware of four, previously incognito lavender super powers. We’re in the bonus round now, with a final zinger for your outdoor adventures.

Bug off!

Mosquitoes are repelled by the scent of lavender!. That’s right. Plant it in a sunny corner of your garden, and/or spray a mix of water and lavender essential oils on areas you’d like to deter mosquitoes like your window sills, or on your cloths and body. I live next to a creek. Let me tell you, a lavender powered spray bottle is a godsend. Catnip/Catmint also work well, but I haven’t had the courage to dab some on my neck as my cat is well–he’s big.  Cheers!

  1. R. Masago, T. Matsuda, Y. Kikuchi et al., “Effects of inhalation of essential oils on EEG activity and sensory evaluation,” Journal of Physiological Anthropology and Applied Human Science, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 35–42, 2000.
  2. G. D. Jacobs, H. Benson, and R. Friedman, “Topographic EEG mapping of the relaxation response,” Biofeedback and Self-Regulation, vol. 21, no. 2, pp. 121–129, 1996.
  3. W. Sayorwan, V. Siripornpanich, T. Piriyapunyaporn, T. Hongratanaworakit, N. Kotchabhakdi, and N. Ruangrungsi, “The effects of lavender oil inhalation on emotional states, autonomic nervous system, and brain electrical activity,” Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand, vol. 95, pp. 598–606, 2012.
  4. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, et al.Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014 Jun;17(6):859-69. 5. Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A, Schläfke S. Int Clin Psychopharmacol. 2010 Sep;25(5):277-87.
  5. Woelk, H. and Schlafke, S. A multi-center, double-blind, randomised study of the Lavender oil preparation Silexan in comparison to Lorazepam for generalized anxiety disorder. Phytomedicine. 2010;17(2):94-99.
  6. R. Perry, R. Terry, L. K. Watson, and E. Ernst, “Is lavender an anxiolytic drug? A systematic review of randomised clinical trials,” Phytomedicine, vol. 19, pp. 825–835, 2012
  7. Altaei, D. T. Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration. Am J Dent 2012;25(1):39-43.
  8. Sakamoto, Y., Ebihara, S., Ebihara, T., Tomita, N., Toba, K., Freeman, S., Arai, H., and Kohzuki, M. Fall prevention using olfactory stimulation with lavender odor in elderly nursing home residents: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr.Soc 2012;60(6):1005-1011.
  9. D. M. Small, J. C. Gerber, Y. E. Mak, and T. Hummel, “Differential neural responses evoked by orthonasal versus retronasal odorant perception in humans,” Neuron, vol. 47, no. 4, pp. 593–605, 2005.
  10. J. Wang, P. J. Eslinger, M. B. Smith, and Q. X. Yang, “Functional magnetic resonance imaging study of human olfaction and normal aging,” Journals of Gerontology A, vol. 60, no. 4, pp. 510–514, 2005.
  11. W. Di Nardo, S. Di Girolamo, A. Galli, G. Meduri, G. Paludetti, and G. de Rossi, “Olfactory function evaluated by SPECT,” American Journal of Rhinology, vol. 14, no. 1, pp. 57–61, 2000.
  12. X. Duan, M. Tashiro, D. Wu et al., “Autonomic nervous function and localization of cerebral activity during lavender aromatic immersion,” Technology and Health Care, vol. 15, no. 2, pp. 69–78, 2007.
  13. M. Ching, “Contemporary therapy: aromatherapy in the management of acute pain?” Contemporary Nurse, vol. 8, no. 4, pp. 146–151, 1999.
  14. M. C. Ou, T. F. Hsu, A. C. Lai et al., “Pain relief assessment by aromatic essential oil massage on outpatients with primary dysmenorrhea: a randomized, double-blind clinical trial,” Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research, vol. 38, no. 5, pp. 817–822, 2012.
  15. N. Hadi and A. A. Hanid, “Lavender essence for post-cesarean pain,” Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, vol. 14, no. 11, pp. 664–667, 2011.
  16. K. Vakilian, M. Atarha, R. Bekhradi, and R. Chaman, “Healing advantages of lavender essential oil during episiotomy recovery: a clinical trial,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 50–53, 2011.
  17. F. Sheikhan, F. Jahdi, E. M. Khoei et al., “Episiotomy pain relief: use of Lavender oil essence in primiparous Iranian women,” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice, vol. 18, no. 1, pp. 66–70, 2012.
  18. A. Dale and S. Cornwell, “The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial,” Journal of Advanced Nursing, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 89–96, 1994.
  19. J. T. Kim, M. Wajda, G. Cuff et al., “Evaluation of aromatherapy in treating postoperative pain: pilot study,” Pain Practice, vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 273–277, 2006.
  20. J. T. Kim, C. J. Ren, G. A. Fielding et al., “Treatment with lavender aromatherapy in the post-anesthesia care unit reduces opioid requirements of morbidly obese patients undergoing laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding,” Obesity Surgery, vol. 17, no. 7, pp. 920–925, 2007.
  21. P. Sasannejad, M. Saeedi, A. Shoeibi et al., “Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial,” European Journal of Neurology, vol. 67, no. 5, pp. 288–291, 2012.