Lavender oil and plant information, medical uses, health benefit
April 2 2017 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Lavender essential oil is frequently used in aromatherapy. Research indicates lavender oil fragrance has a beneficial effect on sleep, but the effects are mild. It appears to have anti-fungal activity.

Anxiety benefit
280 patients were exposed to silexan 80 mg/day, 37 were treated with lorazepam 0.5 mg/day and 192 received placebo. In generalized anxiety disorder, silexan and lorazepam showed comparable Hamilton Anxiety Scale total score reductions. Wien Med Wochenschr. 2010. Efficacy and safety of silexan, a new, orally administered lavender oil preparation, in subthreshold anxiety disorder - evidence from clinical trials.Kasper S, Gastpar M, Müller WE, Volz HP, Möller HJ, Dienel A. Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.

Int J Neuropsychopharmacol. 2014. Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder - a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine. The anxiolytic efficacy of the orally administered lavender oil preparation Silexan was investigated in generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in comparison to placebo and paroxetine. In this randomized, double-blind, double-dummy trial 539 adults with GAD according to DSM-5 criteria and a Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA) total score ⩾18 points participated and received 160 or 80 mg Silexan, 20 mg paroxetine, or placebo once daily for 10 wk. In GAD Silexan is more efficacious than placebo. AE rates for Silexan were comparable to placebo and lower than for the active control paroxetine.

Phytomedicine. 2012. Is lavender an anxiolytic drug? A systematic review of randomised clinical trials. Methodological issues limit the extent to which any conclusions can be drawn regarding the efficacy/effectiveness of lavender. The best evidence suggests that oral lavender supplements may have some therapeutic effects.

Antifungal activity of Lavandula angustifolia lavender essential oil against Candida albicans yeast and mycelial form.
Med Mycol. 2005. Department of Public Health, University La Sapienza, Rome, Italy.
The antifungal activity of lavender essential oil Lavandula angustifolia ( lavender oil ) and its main components, linalool and linalyl acetate, was investigated against 50 clinical isolates of Candida albicans (28 oropharyngeal strains, 22 vaginal strains) and C. albicans ATCC 3153. Growth inhibition, killing time and inhibition of germ tube formation were evaluated. The chemical composition of the lavender essential oil was determined by gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. Lavender oil shows both fungistatic and fungicidal activity against C. albicans strains. At lower concentrations, lavender essential oil inhibits germ tube formation and hyphal elongation, indicating that it is effective against C. albicans dimorphism and may thus reduce fungal progression and the spread of infection in host tissues.

Nail infection
I heard on the Dr. Oz show that lavender oil applied topically can treat or cure nail fungus, is this true?
   I have not seen such studies. Please visit nail fungus for some treatments that I am familiar with that do help.

Neck pain
J Altern Complement Med. 2014. The effectiveness of essential oils for patients with neck pain: a randomized controlled study. Sixty participants with a history of neck pain and Neck Disability Index (NDI) score >10% were selected and randomly divided into control and experimental groups. For the experimental group, the intervention included 3% concentration cream composed of four essential oils: marjoram, black pepper, lavender, and peppermint. For the control group, only an unscented cream was provided. For 4 weeks, all patients applied 2 g cream directly to the affected area daily after showering or bathing. The essential oil cream developed in this study can be used to improve neck pain.

Lavender and sleep
Effects of lavender aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college students.
Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006.
The purpose of this study was to explore the effects of the lavender fragrance on sleep and depression in women college students. Forty-two women college students who complained of insomnia were studied during a four-week protocol (control treatment week, 60% lavender fragrance treatment week, washout week, 100% lavender fragrance treatment week). All subjects were in the department of nursing in "K" college and the study was a single blind repeated measurements experiment. For the duration of the study, weekly evaluations of sleep, patterns of sleep disturbance, severity of insomnia scale, self satisfaction with sleep, and severity of depression were performed. Conclusion: According to the study results, it can be concluded that the lavender fragrance had a beneficial effect on insomnia and depression in women college students. Repeated studies are needed to confirm effective proportions of lavender oil and carrier oil for insomnia and depression.

A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of Lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia.
J Alternative Complement Med. 2005.
Insomnia is the most common of all sleep complaints and is under-researched. The current treatments of choice are conventional hypnotics agents, but these have potential for serious adverse reactions. Uncontrolled and anecdotal evidence suggests that lavender oil is an effective treatment for insomnia, but this has not been formally investigated. The aims of this study were to evaluate the proposed trial methodology and the efficacy of Lavandula augustifolia ( lavender ) on insomnia. Interventions: Interventions consisted of lavender treatment and sweet almond oil as placebo/control. The aroma was supplied via an Aromastream device (Tisserand Aromatherapy, Sussex, UK). This was a pilot study with randomized, single-blind, cross-over design (baseline, two treatment periods, and a washout period, each of 1 week duration). Volunteers with defined insomnia treated on a domiciliary basis participated in the study. Ten volunteers (5 male and 5 female) were entered and completed the 4 week study. Lavender created an improvement of -2.5 points in PSQI. Each intervention was equally credible and belief in CAM did not predict outcome. Women and younger volunteers with a milder insomnia improved more than others. No period or carry-over effect was observed. The methodology for this pilot study appeared to be appropriate. Outcomes favor lavender, and a larger trial is required to draw definitive conclusions.

Lavender essential oil and mutagens
The antimutagenic activity of Lavandula angustifolia - lavender essential oil - in the bacterial reverse mutation assay.
Food Chem Toxicol. 2005.
Essential oils from Melaleuca alternifolia (tea-tree oil) and lavender oil are commonly used to treat minor health problems. Tea-tree oil possesses broad-spectrum antimicrobial activity, and is increasingly used for skin problems. Lavender oil, traditionally used as an antiseptic agent, is now predominantly used as a relaxant, carminative, and sedative in aromatherapy. We investigated their mutagenic and antimutagenic activities by the bacterial reverse mutation assay in Salmonella typhimurium TA98 and TA100 strains and in Escherichia coli WP2 uvrA strain, with and without an extrinsic metabolic activation system. Neither essential oil had mutagenic activity on the two tested Salmonella strains or on E. coli, with or without the metabolic activation system. Conversely, lavender oil exerted strong antimutagenic activity, reducing mutant colonies in the TA98 strain exposed to the direct mutagen 2-nitrofluorene. Antimutagenicity was concentration-dependent: the maximal concentration (0.80 mg/plate) reduced the number of histidine -independent revertant colonies by 66.4%. Lavender oil (0.80 mg/plate) also showed moderate antimutagenicity against the TA98 strain exposed to the direct mutagen 1-nitropyrene. Its antimutagenic property makes lavender oil a promising candidate for new applications in human healthcare.

Lavender effect on mind
The effect of lavender aromatherapy on cognitive function, emotion, and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia.
Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005.
This study was to develop an aromatherapy hand massage program, and to evaluate the effects of lavender aromatherapy on cognitive function, emotion, and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. The Research design was a nonequivalent control group non-synchronized quasiexperimental study. Lavender aromatherapy was administrated to experimental group I for 2 weeks, jojoba oil massage was administrated to experimental group II for 2 weeks, and no treatment was administrated to the control group for 2 weeks. Data was analyzed using the chi(2)-test, ANOVA, repeated measures of ANCOVA and ANCOVA in the SPSS program package. Result: 1. Experimental group I did not show significant differences in cognitive function in relation to the experimental group II and control group. 2. Experimental group I showed significant differences in emotion and aggressive behavior in relation to the experimental group II and control group. A Lavender aromatherapy hand massage program is effective on emotions and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia of the Alzheimer's type.

Lavender aromatherapy for menstrual cramps
One study done in Korea shows lavender aromatherapy to be helpful in easing the symptoms of menstrual cramps.

Do 5-HTP or the herb kava work better than lavender plant for mood?
   Lavender plant has a milder effect compared to these supplements.

I am looking for information regarding lavender herb. I have been taking it to help my adrenal function. I am experiencing hot flashes and was told lavender would help some after my adrenals get some help. I am still having the flashes but my emotional stability is a lot better. I feel normal mentally when I take Lavender Calm. I take 6 Lavender Calm pills (vegetarian) per day and the bottle says to take 3. Per serving Size of 3 it contains Magnesium (as Magnesium Citrate) 50 mg, English Lavender 600mg, L-Theanine 100 mg and Griffonia 100 mg. Other ingredients: Vegetable Cellulose Capsule, Cellulose, Silica and Magnesium Stearate. I am having no problems with it but hope there won't be any side affects if I remain on this long term.
   There are several ingredients in this Lavender Calm formula and you may wish to read about each one. Griffonia is a plant from which 5-HTP is extracted. Theanine is used for its calming effect. Long term safety of Lavender Calm is not known. The other ingredients appear to be quite safe.

Products sold online:
Blue Pearl, Lavender Incense, 10 g/.35 oz