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Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an evergreen plant native to the Mediterranean. Its flower and oil have a popular scent and are also used as medicine.

Lavender contains an oil that seems to have calming effects and might relax certain muscles. It also seems to have antibacterial and antifungal effects.

People commonly use lavender for anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, dementia, pain, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

NatMed Pro rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.
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  • Anxiety.  Orally, a specific lavender oil product (Silexan) seems to improve anxiety in some patients. Lavender oil aromatherapy and aromatherapy massage also seem to improve chronic and situational anxiety in some patients.
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  • Depression.  Oral lavender, in the form of tea, tincture, powder, or a specific oil (Silexan), seems to reduce depressive symptoms in some patients. Early research also shows that lavender oil aromatherapy seems to improve symptoms of depression.
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  • Dysmenorrhea.  Limited clinical research suggests that lavender oil aromatherapy might reduce dysmenorrhea symptoms.
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  • Cancer-related pain.  Using lavender oil for massage or as an aromatherapy diffusion does not seem to provide any additional pain relief in patients with advanced or terminal cancer.
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When taken by mouth: Lavender is commonly consumed in foods. It's possibly safe when taken as medicine. Side effects might include constipation, diarrhea, and headache.

When applied to the skin: Lavender is possibly safe. It's usually well-tolerated, but can sometimes cause skin irritation.

When inhaled: Lavender essential oil is possibly safe. It's been used safely as aromatherapy for up to 12 weeks.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if lavender is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Lavender essential oil is possibly safe when inhaled as aromatherapy. But applying products that contain lavender oil to the skin is possibly unsafe for young males who haven't reached puberty. Lavender oil seems to have hormone-like effects that could disrupt normal hormones. In some cases, this has resulted in breast growth. There isn't enough reliable information to know if lavender is safe for children to take by mouth.

Surgery: Lavender might slow down the central nervous system. If used with anesthesia and other medications given during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system too much. Stop using lavender at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Lavender might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking lavender with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.

Herbs and supplements that might cause sleepiness: Lavender might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking it along with other supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness and/or slowed breathing in some people. Examples of supplements with this effect include hops, kava, L-tryptophan, melatonin, and valerian.

There are no known interactions with foods.

Lavender is used in many different types of products. A specific lavender oil product (Silexan) has most often been used by adults in doses of 80-160 mg by mouth daily for up to 10 weeks. Lavender essential oil is commonly used in aromatherapy and various topical products such as massage oils and lotions. Speak with a healthcare provider to find out what type of product and dose might be best for a specific condition.

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