Lavender is a plant originally from northern Africa and the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean. The plant is
highly regarded for skin and beauty and is commonly used in fragrances and shampoos to help wash and purify the
skin. The word lavender is from the Latin word lavare, when means "to wash", and some shampoo products available
commercially contain lavender. Lavender oil has been used traditionally as antiseptic agent for certain skin conditions,
and it is now used as a relaxant, carminative and sedative in aromatherapy.  Lavender aromatherapy may benefit
people at risk of anxiety and insomnia. English lavender ( L. angustifolia ) is the most common species of lavender used
in the herbal medicine.
Anxiety, Agitation and Stress
Lavender may have benefits for people at risk of anxiety and/or agitation. Researchers found that ambient odors of
orange and lavender reduced anxiety and improved mood in patients waiting for dental treatment. Use of odors is
helpful in reducing anxiety in dental patients.  On the other, lavender aromatherapy hand massage program was
found to be effective on emotions and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. [9
Psychologically positive mood changes were reported after the bathing regimen (20% lavender oil and 80% grapeseed
oil) for energetic arousal, tense arousal, hedonic tone and anger-frustration in a study of eighty women not receiving
treatment for psychological disorders.  An appropriate amount of lavender oil administered in an aroma stream
showed modest efficacy in the treatment of agitated behavior in patients suffered from severe dementia.  Lavender
odorants were also found to be associated with reduced mental stress and increased arousal rate.  Silexan is a
lavender oil preparation in gelatine capsules containing 80 mg. Patients treated with Silexan showed Hamilton Anxiety
Scale (HAMA) total score decreases between 10.4 ± 7.1 and 12.0 ± 7.2 points at Week 6 and between 11.8 ± 7.7 and
16.0 ± 8.3 points at Week 10. Except for mild gastrointestinal symptoms, the drug was devoid of adverse side effects
and did not cause drug interactions or withdrawal symptoms at daily doses of 80 or 160 mg. [A3] Thus, lavender may
benefit people at anxiety, under stress or agitation.
People have been believing that lavender may benefit people with appetite issue. Olfactory stimulation with scent of
lavender oil was found to be able to suppress sympathetic nerve activities and elevate gastric vagal (parasympathetic)
nerve activity, decrease plasma glycerol concentration and body temperature, and enhance appetite in rats.  In
another study, a 15-min daily exposure to scent of lavender oil increased food intake and body weight in the study. 
Well, lavender may benefit people at risk of appetite issue, but more studies are needed to clarify this benefit-claim.
In a study, 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.  Well,
lavender may benefit people at risk of cancer, but lots of studies are needed to verify this potential benefit claim.
Lavender has been said to have benefits of hair healthy. But, No report is found to support this benefit claim of
lavender, as of October 9, 2013.
High blood pressure.
Lavender may benefit people at risk of high blood pressure, i.e. hypertension. Olfactory stimulation with scent of
lavender oil or its component - linalool was found to be able to lower renal sympathetic nerve activity and blood
pressure and elevated gastric vagal (parasympathetic) nerve activity in urethane-anesthetized rats.  More studies are
needed to verify this health benefit claim of lavender.
Insomnia and depression
In a 4-week study, Korean researchers supplied 42 women suffered from insomnia with lavender fragrance, they found
improvements in insomnia and depression.  Thus, lavender may benefit people at risk of insomnia and depression.
Moreover, more clinical studies are needed to understand more on this potential benefit.
In a preliminary experiment, lavender essential oil was found to be able to relax vascular smooth muscle. They further
discovered a chemical called linalyl acetate as the major ingredient to cause the relaxation effects on rabbit vascular
smooth muscle. Linalyl acetate produced sustained and progressive relaxation during the contraction through partially
activation of nitric oxide/cyclic guanosine monophosphate pathway, and partially MLC dephosphorylation via activating
MLC phosphatase.  Thus, lavender may have benefits of muscle relaxation, again, more studies are needed to verify
and understand this potential benefit.
Eight sessions of acupressure with aromatic lavender oil were found to be a beneficial, effective method for short-term
neck pain relief.  Use of Lavender oil during recesses may also improve work efficiency, as well. A study of 36 healthy
male students randomly assigned to exposure to aroma or not exposed to aroma during recesses significantly higher
attention levels for the lavender group than for the control group.  Probably, lavender aroma allows a better rest,
offer a kind of health benefits.
SIDE EFFECTS OF LAVENDER OIL - Are there lavender benefits for skin?
"By massaging lavender oil into the skin, it can be used to treat skin problems such as acne, burns, dry skin, eczema,
itchy skin, sunburn, seborrhea, and skin inflammation." -- this claim appears in several websites. What actually reported
in scientific journals about lavender "benefits" for skin:
A study of 635 women on perineal discomfort reported no side-effects of lavender oil.  However, it was found that
lavender oil is cytotoxic to human skin cells in vitro (endothelial cells and fibroblasts) at a concentration of 0.25% (v/v) in
all cell types tested (HMEC-1, HNDF and 153BR).  It may be related to cell membrane damage.
Further, lavender oil lacks natural protection against autoxidation, and that air-exposed lavender oil can be an important
source of exposure to allergenic hydroperoxides. [A1] Sköld M, and co-workers at Göteborg University report that
linalool, present in lavender oil, autoxidizes on air exposure, forming allergenic oxidation products. Oxidized linalool was
found to be a frequent cause of contact allergy in a patch test study on consecutive dermatitis patients. Linalyl acetate,
the main component of lavender oil is commonly used as a fragrance chemical in scented products. They investigated
the autoxidation of linalyl acetate and the influence of oxidation on its sensitizing potency and concluded that
autoxidation of the weakly allergenic linalyl acetate leads to formation of allergenic oxidation products. [A2]
Toxicity for albino rats was reported to be very low.  However, lavender may increase the amount of drowsiness
caused by some drugs. In theory, lavender may also add to the effects of cholesterol-lowering drugs. I would not apply
excessive amounts of lavender oil to my skin. Please consult with your doctor for the use of lavender oil or other
Lavender Oil Side Effect - Moobs
Researchers from National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences investigated possible causes of gynecomastia in
three prepubertal boys who were otherwise healthy and had normal serum concentrations of endogenous steroids. By
the way, gynecomastia is the benign enlargement of breast tissue in males, i.e. moobs [for male boobs]. These boys
have a history of topical applications of products that contained lavender and tea tree oils. Gynecomastia resolved in
each patient shortly after the discontinuation of the use of these products. Furthermore, studies indicated that the two
oils had estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities. [A4]
 Koto R, et al, Linalyl acetate as a major ingredient of lavender essential oil relaxes the rabbit vascular smooth muscle through
dephosphorylation of myosin light chain. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 2006 Jul;48(1):850-6.  Lee IS, et al, Effects of lavender
aromatherapy on insomnia and depression in women college studentsTaehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2006 Feb;36(1):136-43.  Tanida
M, et al, Olfactory stimulation with scent of lavender oil affects autonomic neurotransmission and blood pressure in rats. Neurosci Lett.
2006 May 1;398(1-2):155-60. Epub 2006 Jan 25.  Yip YB, et al, An experimental study on the effectiveness of acupressure with
aromatic lavender essential oil for sub-acute, non-specific neck pain in Hong Kong. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2006
Feb;12(1):18-26. Epub 2005 Nov 8.  Sakamoto R, et al, Effectiveness of aroma on work efficiency: lavender aroma during recesses
prevents deterioration of work performance. Chem Senses. 2005 Oct;30(8):683-91. Epub 2005 Sep 14.  Lehrner J, et al, Ambient
odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiol Behav. 2005 Sep 15;86(1-2):92-5. 
Evandri MG, et al, The antimutagenic activity of Lavandula angustifolia (lavender) essential oil in the bacterial reverse mutation
assay. Food Chem Toxicol. 2005 Sep;43(9):1381-7.  Shen J, et al, Olfactory stimulation with scent of lavender oil affects
autonomic nerves, lipolysis and appetite in rats. Neurosci Lett. 2005 Jul 22-29;383(1-2):188-93.  Lee SY. The effect of lavender
aromatherapy on cognitive function, emotion, and aggressive behavior of elderly with dementia Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2005
Apr;35(2):303-12.  Dadalioglu I, Evrendilek GA. Chemical compositions and antibacterial effects of essential oils of Turkish
oregano (Origanum minutiflorum), bay laurel (Laurus nobilis), Spanish lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.), and fennel (Foeniculum
vulgare) on common foodborne pathogens. J Agric Food Chem. 2004 Dec 29;52(26):8255-60.  Prashar A, et al, Cytotoxicity of
lavender oil and its major components to human skin cells. Cell Prolif. 2004 Jun;37(3):221-9.  Morris N. The effects of lavender
(Lavendula angustifolium) baths on psychological well-being: two exploratory randomised control trials. Complement Ther Med. 2002
Dec;10(4):223-8.  Holmes C, et al, Lavender oil as a treatment for agitated behaviour in severe dementia: a placebo controlled
study. Int J Geriatr Psychiatry. 2002 Apr;17(4):305-8.  Motomura N, et al, Reduction of mental stress with lavender odorant.
Percept Mot Skills. 2001 Dec;93(3):713-8.  Dale A, Cornwell S. The role of lavender oil in relieving perineal discomfort following
childbirth: a blind randomized clinical trial. J Adv Nurs. 1994 Jan;19(1):89-96.  Delaveau P, et al, Neuro-depressive properties of
essential oil of lavenderC R Seances Soc Biol Fil. 1989;183(4):342-8. [A1] Hagvall L, Sköld M, Bråred-Christensson J, Börje A, Karlberg
AT. Lavender oil lacks natural protection against autoxidation, forming strong contact allergens on air exposure. Contact Dermatitis.
2008 Sep;59(3):143-50. [A2] Sköld M, Hagvall L, Karlberg AT. Autoxidation of linalyl acetate, the main component of lavender oil,
creates potent contact allergens. Contact Dermatitis. 2008 Jan;58(1):9-14. [A3] Kasper S. An orally administered lavandula oil
preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review. Int J Psychiatry Clin Pract. 2013 Nov;17
Suppl 1:15-22 [A4] Henley DV, et al, Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Engl J Med. 2007 Feb
lavender benefits and side effects
health, oil, properties, and uses
Discuss with your doctor before taking any alternative medicine. This article is for reference only, it is not a medical advice. All rights
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October 09 2013