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Lavender is an herb. The flower and the oil of lavender are used to make medicine.

Lavender is commonly used for anxiety, stress, and insomnia. It is also used for depression, dementia, pain after surgery, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

In foods and beverages, lavender is used as a flavor component.

In manufacturing, lavender is used in pharmaceutical products and as a fragrance ingredient in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, potpourri, and decorations.

Lavender (scientific name Lavandula angustifolia) is commonly contaminated with related species, including Lavandula hybrida, which is a cross between Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula latifolia, from which lavandin oil is obtained.

Natural Medicines 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.
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  • Dysmenorrhea.  Limited clinical research suggests that lavender oil aromatherapy might reduce dysmenorrhea symptoms.
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  • Postoperative pain.  Using lavender aromatherapy as adjunct to analgesics may help reduce postoperative pain in some patients.
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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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Info

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

When taken by mouth: Lavender is LIKELY SAFE for most adults in food amounts. It's POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts. When taken by mouth, lavender may cause constipation, headache, and increased appetite.

When applied to the skin: Lavender is POSSIBLY SAFE when applied to the skin in medicinal amounts. It can sometimes cause irritation, although this is uncommon.

When inhaled: Lavender is POSSIBLY SAFE when inhaled as aromatherapy.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not 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: Applying products to the skin that contain lavender oil is POSSIBLY UNSAFE for young boys who have not yet reached puberty. Lavender oil seems to have hormone effects that could disrupt the normal hormones in a boy's body. In some cases, this has resulted in boys developing abnormal breast growth called gynecomastia. The safety of these products when used by young girls is not known.

Surgery: Lavender might slow down the central nervous system. If used in combination 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.

Chloral Hydrate

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Chloral hydrate causes sleepiness and drowsiness. Lavender seems to increase the effects of chloral hydrate. Taking lavender along with chloral hydrate might cause too much sleepiness.

Sedative medications (Barbiturates)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Lavender might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking lavender along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include amobarbital (Amytal), butabarbital (Butisol), mephobarbital (Mebaral), pentobarbital (Nembutal), phenobarbital (Luminal), secobarbital (Seconal), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants)

Interaction Rating=Moderate Be cautious with this combination.

Lavender might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking lavender along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness.

Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

Herbs and supplements that might cause sleepiness: Lavender might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Using lavender along with other herbs and supplements with similar effects might cause too much sleepiness. Some of these supplements include 5-HTP, calamus, California poppy, catnip, hops, Jamaican dogwood, kava, St. John's wort, skullcap, valerian, yerba mansa, and others.

There are no known interactions with foods.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

ADULTS

BY MOUTH:

  • Anxiety: 80-160 mg of a specific lavender oil ingredient (Silexan, Dr Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG) has been taken daily for 6-10 weeks. 500 mg of dried, powdered lavender flowers has been taken twice daily for 8 weeks.
  • Depression: 80 mg of a specific lavender oil ingredient (Silexan, Dr Willmar Schwabe GmbH & Co. KG) has been taken daily for 6 weeks. 60 drops of a diluted lavender tincture have been taken daily for 4 weeks.
INHALED AS AROMATHERAPY:
  • Anxiety: 8 drops of an oil blend containing 2% lavender and rose essential oil has been applied to a cotton pad and inhaled for 15 minutes twice weekly for 4 weeks. The lavender and rose oil formulation was prepared by diluting 2 drops of an essential oil blend containing 75% lavender oil and 25% rose oil diluted in 5 mL of jojoba oil. 3 drops of lavender essential oil has been applied to a cotton pad and inhaled for 5 minutes daily for 1 month. 2 drops of lavender oil have been applied to a cotton pad and kept by the pillow overnight for 1 week. 3 drops of lavender oil have been applied to on a cotton pad and inhaled 30 minutes. Lavender oil has been diffused through a waiting room for 15 minutes.
  • Depression: 8 drops of an oil blend containing 2% lavender and rose essential oil has been applied to a cotton pad and inhaled for 15 minutes twice weekly for 4 weeks. The lavender and rose oil formulation was prepared by diluting 2 drops of an essential oil blend containing 75% lavender oil and 25% rose oil diluted in 5 mL of jojoba oil. 5 mL of an aromatherapy oil containing lavender, sweet orange, and bergamot has been massaged into the upper body twice weekly for 8 weeks.
  • Menstrual pain: Applying 3 drops of lavender oil to the hands and inhaling every 6 hours or placing 3 drops of oil onto a piece of cotton and inhaling for 30 minutes daily for the first 3 days of menstruation has been used. Also, 2 mL of lavender oil applied on the abdomen for 15 minutes as part of an aromatherapy massage has been used during a menstrual period.
  • Pain after surgery: Two drops of 2% lavender essence has been applied to the inside of an oxygen face mask and inhaled for 3 minutes at 3, 8, and 16 hours after receiving pain-relievers for C-section pain.

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