Lavender oil Health Benefits, Uses, Quality & Best Products Compared

Author: Dr. Michael Tyler
Date: 01.10.2020
Reading time: 16:23 min

The Lavender plant is from the Lamiaceae mint family, which today mainly serves as an ornamental herb, and for its aromas. There are 3 types of lavender, from which lavender oil of differing quality is obtained.

Name Lavender
Lat. Name Lavandula latifolia
Synonyms True Lavender, Lavander, Spike Lavender, Broadleaf Lavender
Origin Mediterranean
price 7,90

Real Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Broadleaved Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and Lavandin (Lavandula hybrida). Historically, its original distribution area extends throughout the Mediterranean. Lavender oil's scent is typically spicy.

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Psychological effects

Lavender has been proven to have a calming and soothing effect on the central nervous system. Dr Eidt examined the effects of lavender oil in her dissertation at the University of Munich, by comparing it to orange -peel oil and 'placebos'. Placebos are drugs without any active ingredients, which can be beneficial - through the placebo effect.

Dr. Eidt was able to prove that the active ingredients in lavender oil are actually beneficial for sleep. In her dissertation, she also examined the effects of lavender oil on mood and was able to find evidence that people who were exposed to the scent of lavender oil are better able to concentrate. She attributed this effect of lavender oil to the fact that it calms the mind, thereby sharpening our thoughts and allowing the mind to penetrate through distracting thoughts.

Lavender also reduces nervousness and prevents anxiety and restlessness. Lavender oil is a proven remedy for sleep disorders. Despite its mood-balancing, calming effect, lavender is also refreshing and invigorates the mind during the day. It helps to dismiss depression and depressive thoughts, and genuinely brightens the mood.

Lavender can accompany psychotherapy for all types of eating disorders. The appetizing effect is especially helpful for anorexia nervosa. Lavender can also support the psyche when it comes to bulimia. Lavender's stabilizing effect can contribute towards restoring the psychological inbalance.

The relaxing, calming effect of lavender is effective as a remedy for anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or agoraphobia. American researchers have found that lavender oil inhibits ion exchange within nerve fibers necessary for the transmission of nerve stimuli. Lavender also strengthens the parasympathetic nervous system: this part of the nervous system is active when calm and resting or during recreational activity.

Physical effect

Due to the different active ingredient concentrations in the oils of the 3 types of lavender, they differ in their potency. All 3 oils have similar effects, but only different strengths. You can tell which oil you want to use, by its name.

All lavender oils destroy bacteria and fungi. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect.

Broadleaved lavender oi

This essential oil has good healing properties, but is weaker than true lavender oil from Lavandula augustifolia. It is particularly useful when it comes to repelling insects.

Lavender oil

Lavandin oil is made from hybrid plants and is mainly used in the perfume and cosmetic industries. Compared to true lavender, the healing effects of these oils are minimal. Three different hybrid lavenders function under the collective term 'Lavandin'. Lavandin Super is similar to true lavender, Lavandin abrialis can be compared to Broadleaved lavender oil. The Grosso variety has a particularly high yield and is regarded as a compromise between Lavandin super and Lavandin abrialis.

Combating infection

Due to the very high linalool content in all 3 types of lavender oil, lavender oil generally has very good antimicrobial properties. Dr. Michaela Braun, in her dissertation at the University of Regensburg, proved that lavender oil can successfully used to combat the Staphilococcus aureus pathogen. This pathogen is the cause of MRSA. MRSA (multidrug-resistant Staphilococcus aureus) is a massive problem in modern medicine today, since these pathogens have developed resistance to nearly all antibiotics and several thousand people in Europe are killed by MRSA annually.

In addition, lavender oil is functional against coliform bacteria (including the infamous escheria coli). Coli bacteria are located in the intestine, and contribute to inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). IBD can present debilitating symptoms and Lavender oil can help reduce their strength. It does this by eliminating the pathogen - the underlying problem, and alleviating the symptoms themselves as well.

Lavender has also proven effective in ear infections. Even babies and toddlers can be treated with a few drops of lavender oil in the outer ear canal for ear infections.

For perfect skin

Lavender oil contains high amounts of camphor, which promotes increased blood circulation to the skin. This also supports the regeneration of the skin and the formation of new, healthy cells, which replace older ones and help heal wounds. This contributes towards lavender oil's treatment of stretch marks. Additionally, it is speculated to help prevent the formation of scar tissue.

Combating acne and pimples

Lavender oil contains the active ingredient linalool, in rather strong concentrations. Linalool has an anti-inflammatory, disinfecting properties, which help prevent the development of acne and pimples. It also supports the healing of red spots or blood spots.

Lavender oil can also help with more severe skin diseases such as psoriasis. Psoriasis sufferers often live lives which are limited by their disease. Psoriasis only occurs in certain loactions, and in fluctuating episodes. While lavender oil is unable to cure psoriasis, it prevents the spread of psoriasis spots.

Combating skin fungus and athlete's foot

Lavender oil contains potent fungicidal properties and can help with any fungal disease on the skin. In athlete's foot in particular, lavender often shows improvements after just a few days.

Loss of appetite and gastrointestinal disease

Lavender oil promotes the formation of bile acid. Bile helps the body digest fats, and remove waste. Due to increased biliary production, the body can digest fat more effectively, which promotes absorption of essential nutrients, and vitamins. Moreover, lavender oil provides a calming effect on the smooth muscles of the digestive tract. This can be very therapeutic for painful abdominal cramps.

Wound healing and burns

For open wounds, only true lavender oil should be applied. Due of the antiseptic properties of linalool, lavender oil has a preventive effect against inflammation in open wounds. Furthermore, the high concentration of camphor is also beneficial. This vasodilator increases blood flow to the skin, bringing essential nutrients to the wound and thereby promoting quicker, more effective and natural healing.

This is also the case with burns. Applying lavender oil immediately to burned skin will prevent the burn entirely or reduce the size of the burn. For cases of sunburn, lavender cools the inflamed and painful skin.

NOTE: You should not apply lavender oil to wounds that are still bleeding! This impairs the blood's clotting ability and can disrupt the cessation of bleeding and eventual closure of the wound.

Pain - arthritis

Since lavender oil also provides analgesia, it can be used for rheumatic complaints, among other types of arthritis.

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Pregnancy and childbirth

For pregnant women and new mothers, lavender oil is a wonderful asset that can be used in many ways. It is very soothing - useful for childbirth - and provides an element of relaxation, more effective during lighter contractions. After childbirth, it helps to reduce pain after episiotomy, pain after suckling and helps to heal red areas of tender baby skin.

Relax tense muscles

Muscle spasms due to posture or even overworked muscles, can be well treated with an inclusion of lavender in the massage oil.

Bad breath/halitosis

Lavender oil reliably refreshes the breath as an additive to the mouthwash and helps kill the bactera of the mouth and throat that cause this symptom.

Side effects

In people with hypersensitivity, lavender oil can cause rashes and allergic reactions. If lavender oil is taken orally for a prolonged period of time, it may casue damage to the liver and various symptoms of intoxication may arise. Signs of an overdose include a burning sensation in the mouth, dizziness, vomiting, pain, cramps, and respiratory distress. A medical doctor should be seen, immediately.

Application | Uses

The uses of lavender oil are as varied as its effects. For external use in wounds and skin diseases, it is advisable to mix lavender oil with a good base oil, such as linseed oil, jojoba, or apricot oil.

General wound care

A good mix ratio for wounds is 10 drops of lavender oil for 20 ml of carrier oil. You can also substitute half of the lavender oil with tea tree oil. This increases the germicidal (antiseptic) effect. To treat infected, inflamed wounds, mix the lavender oil with alcohol. As a mixing ratio, we recommend 6 ml of lavender oil to 100 ml of 80 percent alcohol. You can also apply true lavender oil directly onto wounds. For this reason, lavender oil is ideal for a small first aid kit.

For pain and muscle tension

For muscle tension and pain, you can increase the amount of lavender oil to 20 drops to 20 drops of carrier oil. It is important to massage the oil well into the skin. After application, covering the areas helps generate heat. This intensifies the effect of the essential oil. A red light lamp or a heating pad has the same, heating, effect.

Baths post episiotomy and for relaxation

For women with an episiotomy, baths with lavender oil are wonderful after birth. To do this, mix 3 tablespoons of cream with 5 drops of lavender oil. For a full bath, take 100 ml of cream and 15 to 20 drops of lavender oil. You can also add other essential oils to the lavender, such as rose oil or citrus oils.

The cream acts as an emulsifier, so that the essential oil mixes with the bath water. The cream, together with the lavender oil, simoultaneously cares for the skin and makes it supple. For skin diseases, a lavender bath soothes the skin, reduces redness and eliminates itching.

In cosmetics

The nourishing properties of lavender oil can be effective in cosmetics too, if you mix the essential oil with finished cosmetics, such as shower gel, shampoo, body lotion or facial toner. 5 drops per 50 ml is a mix ratio that works well for this. However, make sure that the cosmetic products do not have too strong of a smell.

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For cleaning

Lavandin oil is an inexpensive alternative to true lavender oil. It is ideal for cleaning floors, tiles and fittings and leaves a fresh scent. You can easily mix neutral soap with any amount of lavender oil. It is best to try out a small amount for you to decide strong your cleaning agent should smell. An average amount is 10 drops of essential oil per 100 ml of neutral soap.

Lavender scent for your closet

You can fill your closet with essential oil fragrances - lavender being an ideal candidate. To do this, put lavender flowers into drainable bags. This is particularly quick if you cut a disused pantyhose into long pieces and knot the ends. Augment the fragrance of the flowers with a few drops of natural, essential lavender oil. For this prpose Broadleaf lavender oil works well too. The fragrance not only penetrates the clothes and your laundry, but keeps it fresh. It also ensures that insects, such as moths, avoid your closet.

Lavender scent for pets

Mites and fleas are repelled by the scent of lavender. You can massage a few drops of the massage oil described above into the fur of your four-legged friends to keep bugs away. In addition, it is recommended to regularly splash some lavender onto the rest areas and blankets of your pets with a little pure Broadleaf Laveder oil.

Manufacturing

Lavender oil is mainly obtained by hydrogen distillation. Other manufacturing methods include drag distillation or pickling in other oils to extract the active ingredients of lavender oil. With hydrogen distillation, only about 1 liter of lavender essential oil is obtained from approximately 120 kg of flowers, which makes the oil a very valuable raw material.

Make lavender oil yourself

Lavender oil is relatively easy to make yourself. However, the self-made variant is not suitable for therapeutic use. Only oil that is obtained by distillation is suitable for this. The reason for this is because of the higher concentration of active ingredients in the distilled essential oil. Homemade lavender oil, on the other hand, is excellent as a bath additive or for use in the kitchen. To produce lavender oil yourself, it is first necessary to dry the harvested flowers in a dark and cool place. Then place the dried flowers in a mason jar together with a high-quality cooking oil, and leave them in a warm and dark place. The process is complete after about 1 month and you can separate out the flowers by straining them through a clean cloth. It is best to put the oil in a brown glass bottle and keep it cool.

Storage

Make sure to always store the lavender oil in a dark, cool and dry place. Always store the oil out of the reach of small children. If the oil solidifies when stored too cold, this is not an indication of poor quality, rather the opposite. Higher quality, pure oils tend to solidify in colder environments. In these cases, it is sufficient to warm the oil up slightly so that it can then be used normally.

Chemical composition

Oils with very different active ingredient concentrations can be obtained from the 3 types of lavender. These differences also mean that the healing properties of lavender oils are very different. The main components of lavender oil are linalyl acetate and linalool. So far, about 200 different substances have been detected in lavender oil, but only very few have been researched as of yet.

Linalyl acetate is used in perfume production and is responsible for lavender's typical aroma. Due to its stability in a basic environment, it is often used in soaps or detergents. Linalyl acetate content is a criterion of evaluation for quality of lavender oil. The higher the altitude of lavender's growth, the higher its linalyl acetate content, the higher the quality of the lavender oil. In the past, low-quality lavender oil was mixed with chemically synthesized linalyl acetate in order to achieve higher sales prices. Today you can distinguish natural from artificial linalyl acetate and high-quality lavender oil has protected designations of origin - similar to wine.

Linalool is used for its smell and flavor. It is an intermediate in the synthesis of vitamin E and is responsible for the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects of lavender oil.

Linalyl acetate and linalool are characterized by high bioavailability. Whether as massage oil, in bath water or in a fragrance lamp: Both active ingredients combine with fats in the human body or on the skin and can thus penetrate cell membranes and even cross the brain-blood barrier. This is why lavender oil works quickly and effectively.

| Ingredient | True Lavender Oil | Broadleaf lavender Oil | Lavandin Oil |

|: --------- |: --------- |: --------- |: --------- |

| Linalyl acetate | 35-50% | 5-3% | 15% |

| Linalool | 30-45% | 40-50% | 30% |

Rbb1: Concentration of the main active ingredients in the 3 different types of lavender oil.

Camphor promotes blood circulation,is an expectorant and bactericidal.

Cineol has an expectorant and antibacterial properties, effective in humans in lungs and sinuses. It also inhibits certain neurotransmitters that are responsible for narrowing the bronchi. In asthma, lung function can be improved by administering pure cineol - under medical supervision. With COPD (smoking lung), pure cineol is an additional medication to standard therapy, can improve lung function, and therefore reduce acute symptomatic excacerbation (sudden worsening of symptoms).

History

The ancient Egyptians frequently used lavender oil. They mummified their dead with linen soaked in fresh lavender oil. Dried lavender was burned in medical rooms in Egypt to promote healing. They used lavender like incense in religious ceremonies.

The Romans gave lavender its current name. The name comes from the Latin word lavare, which means washing. They carefully examined the health benefits of purple flowers and used lavender for stomach pain, kidney problems, menstrual cramps and jaundice.

Lavender soon found its way to Germany from Italy. The famous healer Hildegard von Bingen praised the beneficial effects of lavender in the 11th century. The plants were often used and cultivated in monastery gardens in the late Middle Ages. Paracelsus, a father of modern medicine, valued the healing power of the lavender plant for restlessness and pains of all types.

Lavender oil boomed in the 18th century as part of the famous Eau de Cologne, colognes. Perfume was created in Cologne's Glockengasse, number 4711, a mixture of citrus notes with lavender. Napoleon Bonaparte is said to have been crazy about it and even drank the eau de cologne.

Botany

Lavender is a slightly hairy shrub covered with gray felt that grows up to 1 m tall. Wild lavender grows on warm, stony soils at an altitude of up to 2,000 meters. The plant blooms throughout Southwest Asia including India, Africa and the Atlantic Islands. Lavender is particularly common in the Mediterranean.

Lavender is also suited to Northern European climate. It can survive frost and is not bothered by pests. Lavender is popular as an ornamnetal in numerous gardens and public parks.

Its leaves are up to 40-50 mm long and mutually arranged. They are entire, oblong or lanceolate, narrow towards both ends and are slightly curled on the edges. When the leaves sprout freshly, i.e. when they are young, they are covered with gray felt both on the top and bottom. As they get older, the color changes to green.

The flowers of the lavender are hermaphrodite, with a double flower envelope and usually five. The calyx of the flowers is up to 7 mm long, is gray-violet and has an egg-shaped tube shape. The teeth of the chalice are unequal because the upper has the shape of a broken heart at its tip. The flower crown has a purple color and is slightly double-lipped.

The flower tube protrudes approximately 11 mm. The upper lip of the flower consists of 2, the lower lip of 3 grown together, approximately the same size petals. The flower has 4 stamens, the two front are a little longer. They are slightly bent down and enclosed. The ovaries of the lavender are four-part and upright. Depending on the growing region, it blooms from early June to late August.

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Cultivation

True lavender is mainly used for fragrance extraction or as an ornamental plant. It is cultivated around the Mediterranean, and the growing areas in Provence, France have become famous. They have now become a tourist destination. The lavender fields in Provence have halved since 2012. This is a result of pests and some colder periods. Recently however, lavender has also been successfully cultivated in large areas in Bulgaria and Moldova.

The propagation of the plants takes place by seeds, as well as by dividing larger sticks and root-forming side shoots. Lavender prefers semi-dry, barren soils and requires moderate temperatures of 15-30 degrees. Lavender is harvested as soon as it blooms. However, this depends on its growing area. Often, the individual flowers are still harvested by hand, always at noon, because then most of them are true Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), Broadleaf Lavender (Lavandula latifolia) and Lavandin (Lavandula hybrida).

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