As you might already know, lavender is one of the most, if not the most, popular essential oils. That’s why we call it the “starter” or “gateway” oil. Its applications are seemingly endless. And it’s arguably the most versatile oil, as its uses range from your health to the food you eat to your home environment.
Quite simply, if you’re looking to navigate the wonderful world of essential oils, lavender is a great place to start. It offers valuable benefits for the mind, body, and soul that can improve your overall quality of life.
As you’ll see in the reference list below, there are countless uses for lavender oil that can enhance virtually all aspects of your life. Also, you will find a condensed version of a lavender reference chart in an infographic format.
The Ultimate Lavender Reference Chart
1. Stress and anxiety
Everything from work-related stressors to anxiety on the homefront, stress is a natural part of our everyday lives. Traditional medications used to treat anxiety disorders include a range of benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Xanax, and Valium. While it’s always recommended to consult your doctor before making serious health decisions, lavender is an excellent way to unwind after a rough day.
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2. Sleep issues
Suffer from insomnia or general restlessness during snooze time? Spritz a few drops of lavender onto your pillow before bed to get restful sleep. It is also a great oil to rub on your legs if you suffer from restless legs syndrome. Evidence suggests that aromatherapy containing lavender flower can slow activity in the nervous system, while treating common symptoms of sleep disorders.
3. Depression and mood swings
The smell receptors in your nose help communicate with various parts of your brain that serve as a storehouse for memory and emotion. For this reason, aromatherapy has long been used for treating depression and improving overall mood. Several studies have been performed that show essential oils stimulate activity in the brain similar to the way many sedative drugs do – but without the numerous side effects of traditional drugs.
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Want to add a natural twist to your culinary skills? Similar to coconut or olive oil, lavender is produced for uses even in your meals. There are many oils that can be used to spice up your food recipes. Lavender can be a nice addition to chicken, ice cream, and chocolatey desserts. Be sure to check the label to affirm that the brand allows for internal use. Not all oils are created equal!
5. Pain management
Whether you’re suffering from a headache or you have sore muscles, lavender can ease pain, inflammation, and other discomfort. Also included on this list are sprains, backaches, and lumbago. Just gently massage a few drops on the affected area.
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If you’re often fatigued, and you want to reduce your caffeine intake, aromatherapy is a great natural alternative. Add a few drops to a hot bath and relax with your feet soaking in it. This method is particularly effective because the bottom of your feet are very porous, so the oil enters your bloodstream quickly – exerting a soothing effect throughout your body.
7. Bruises, cuts, and scrapes
Instead of tossing your coffee table in the dumpster (due to its tendencies to encourage bruises), keep some lavender oil on hand. Mix with a carrier oil and rub on the affected area to promote faster healing of bruising and skin breakage. It can also reduce swelling and pain from bee stings!
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8. Skin issues and irritation
Similar to treating a bruise or scrape, apply to the area of your body experiencing skin issues. Note that it is very important to dilute with a carrier oil, particularly if you are using a less expensive brand. If you already have skin sensitivities, undiluted essential oils can increase irritation. You can even massage into skin to curb the appearance of stretch marks.
9. Odor eliminator
Have an undesirable smell in your home? Thanks to its flowery scent, lavender can eliminate odors in your home and/or on your body. Pack a spray bottle with water and a few drops of lavender to freshen up your clothing on vacation. Also, if you create your own natural DIY deodorant, it’s an excellent ingredient to add to your recipe!
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10. Cough and cold symptoms
You could certainly arm yourself with bottles of Dayquil and Nyquil to fight off those pesky colds. But there are a plethora of natural remedies like essential oils that can do the trick. Diffuse a few drops during allergy seasons to relieve a cough, sinus pressure, and even flu-like symptoms. Rub on your chest to ease congestion and rub around your nose for sinus relief.
People of all ages can suffer from chronic acne and occasional outbreaks of acne, which can be painful and unsightly. These breakouts can occur on the face, back, chest, arms, and nearly any part of the body. According to many aromatherapists, and even some dermatologists, lavender is known to be a very beneficial oil in treating acne. Lavender is a great home remedy for acne which allows you to protect your skin from the harsh chemicals in prescription and over-the-counter medications.
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12. Muscle spasms
Lavender has a lengthy history of use in treating muscular pains and aches. Its efficacy on treating spasms, cramps, and rheumatism makes it a must-have addition to your home treatment cabinet. Note that stress and other physical stimulants can be the culprit of muscle spasms, so consider lavender as a prevention method for those impairments as well.
Dab a drop or two of oil behind or around your ears to enjoy relief from earaches. Note that ear pain is often a result of infection, so essential oils aren’t always an exclusive solution. But they can be a great adjunct to other more traditional treatments.
14. Ear drainage
Lavender and other essential oils can work well as an ear drainage technique. First, start by rubbing a drop of the oil around the outside of your ear and then down your neck. This will help open up your ear canal and increase the drainage down your neck. For optimal results, repeat this motion with a drop of melaleuca and a drop of peppermint. This technique can help with blocked ear fluid, ear congestion, and wax build-up.
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15. Dandruff and hair care
Dandruff often results from a PH imbalance or a fungal infection. Add a couple drops to your shampoo to kick dandruff with an all organic solution. Lavender can also be used to cleanse your scalp, control irritation, strengthen your hair, and even promote hair growth.
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16. Urinary disorders
Lavender can stimulate urine production, which assists in restoring hormonal balance, preventing cystitis, and treating a urinary tract infection. The oil can be applied as a local wash or by adding four or five drops to a tepid bath. When bathing, be sure to soak as long as possible for the best results.
17. Digestive support
A functional digestive system is the starting point for wellness, because that is where good bacteria reside and where your food is absorbed. Lavender helps invigorate the mobility of your intestines while generating the production of gastric juices. This can help with indigestion, gas, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach pain.
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18. Blood circulation
Aromatherapy using lavender oil can produce positive benefits on coronary circulation. It can also decrease blood pressure and hypertension. This means that not only do the organs boost oxygenation, encouraging muscle health, but brain activity can have a significant impact. In addition, this can help protect the body from the many risks of heart attack that stem from bad circulation.
19. Bug repellant
The scent of lavender is very potent for many types of bugs, including everything from midges to moths and mosquitos. Apply a few drops to your skin to ward off these obnoxious bites. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory qualities, it can also curb the pain and irritation associated with different types of bug bites.
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Sunburns can take the form of first or even second-degree burns. The difficulty with sunburns is that they don’t always reveal themselves immediately. It can take hours or even the next day before they fully show up. Most traditional sunburn ointments are chalked full of harmful chemicals. To treat sunburns naturally, mix some lavender and a carrier oil and apply to the sunburn. Also, you can take a bath with cool or lukewarm water with at least 7 drops of lavender.
21. Motion sickness
If you get a little tipsy (not in a good way) when travelling, lavender is a great organic alternative to drugs like Dramamine. Simply dab a drop around the navel and/or behind the ears to alleviate symptoms of motion sickness and nausea. If you have a food grade brand, which is safe for internal use, you can also place a drop on the end of your tongue.
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22. Blocked milk duct
A common problem women run into during breastfeeding is a blocked milk duct. This can be a very painful experience, and can be a deterrent for nursing the child. Believe it or not, lavender can work wonders for unclogging your breast ducts. The best application is to take a hot shower and massage a few drops of lavender with warm water around the breast tissue.
23. Menstrual cramps
According to a study carried out at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, women who suffer from painful menstruation can find a significant amount of relief when using lavender aromatherapy. The study had women rub three drops of the oil in their hands and then inhale the aroma for five minutes. The results of the study showed that women using lavender were 12 times less likely to suffer menstruation symptoms like nausea, headaches, and fatigue.
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24. Focus and concentration
Some people actually use essential oils to help with ADHD. While there is no scientific evidence to suggest that aromatherapy can treat the disorder, many find success in improving focus and concentration. By reducing anxiety and calming the mind, lavender can alter a person’s mind in a way that they are more in tune with their tasks. Others oils to consider are ylang ylang, frankincense, and vetiver.
25. Skin rashes
In addition to more generalized skin irritation problems, lavender can also be beneficial in treating symptoms associated with rashes. With antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-infectious properties, these oils can calm the skin and in turn decrease itching, redness, and pain. Remember to spot check an area of your skin to ensure that you won’t have any negative reactions.
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Lavender Essential Oil Infographic
Uses For Lavender Essential Oils and Warnings
You can see, there is a considerable amount of uses for lavender oil. And while there is a diverse range of oils available (some other popular ones being lemon, peppermint, and orange), if you’re new the craze, lavender is a great place to start.
- Essential oils are among the best holistic tactics that you can incorporate into your life. Before concluding, here are a few things to consider:
- Applying lavender oil topically or through aromatherapy is safe for most adults, but depending on the product, it might not be safe for children.
- Applying pure essential oils to your skin can cause irritation, so it’s generally good to mix with olive or coconut oil.
- Avoid rubbing the oil in your eyes. If some does get in your eyes, be sure to wash it out immediately.
- Essential oils can cause allergic reactions in some people. That’s why it’s best to do a spot test before applying to a larger portion of your body. Sprinkle a drop on your arm to perform this test.
- While it might be safe for most, we have to warn that some pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid applying lavender topically. Additionally, the U.S. National Institutes of Health warns against using the oil while taking drugs like benzos, barbiturates, and chloral hydrate.
- And finally, the uses for lavender we list above are not all scientifically proven, and they have not been evaluated by the FDA. Be sure to consult your doctor before making any serious health decisions.