9 Health Benefits of Lavender – Plus, Smart Ways to Use It in Your Wellness Routine

Elizabeth Marglin

by | Updated: June 23rd, 2024 | Read time: 4 minutes

As the herbal jack of all trades, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is used world over for its distinctive fragrance and a wide range of health benefits. As one of the most iconic smells in human history, lavender has been celebrated for over 2,500 years and comes with a unique backstory. Cleopatra, anointing her body with lavender oil, seduced Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony. The ancient Egyptians also used this flowering herb, a member of the mint family, for its potent fragrance during mummification.

Torso View of Woman Holding Lavender Plant to Represent Benefits of Lavender Concept

In ancient Greece, lavender was incorporated in treatments and put to work as a sedative, a treatment for migraines and as an antiseptic for cleaning wounds. Lavender appeared in monastery gardens, in the castles of queens and kings and in sick rooms during the bubonic plague. The Romans named lavender, after their word meaning ‘to bathe,’ lavare. Lavender may have earned this name because it was frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. Through their bathhouses, the Romans spread its use throughout Europe.

The plant’s compounds include flavonoids and coumarin, strongholds of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Lavender also contains important compounds such as linalool, which can help support mood and relaxation, as well as healthy blood pressure.

The benefits of lavender

Soothe away stress

Lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.

Try: Aromatherapy using lavender essential oil can promote relaxation and improve mood.

Promote better sleep

Lavender is often used for insomnia and improve sleep quality. Its sedative properties help calm the mind, leading to more restful sleep.

Try: Lavender essential oil can be used in diffusers, pillow sprays or added to a warm bath before bedtime.

Wound care and pain relief

Lavender oil can be used to relieve various types of pain, including headaches, muscle aches and joint pain. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties make it particularly effective.

Try: Lavender’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties make it useful for cleaning minor wounds and cuts, to prevent infections and encourage healing. Lavender oil can be applied topically or used in massage oils.

Elevate your skincare

Lavender has antibacterial and antifungal properties, making it beneficial for skin health. It can help with acne, eczema and minor burns.

Try: Lavender oil can be added to skin creams or used in diluted form directly on the skin.

Tame your tummy

Lavender can help with digestive issues such as bloating, nausea and indigestion. It may also help relax the muscles in the digestive tract and stimulate the production of bile, aiding in digestion.

Try: Lavender tea is a popular way to glean its digestive benefits.

Breathe deep

Lavender oil can be used to promote relief from symptoms due to respiratory issues such as colds, coughs and asthma.

Try: Inhaling steam with a few drops of lavender essential oil can help clear the respiratory tract and alleviate symptoms.

Add luster to your locks

Lavender oil can improve scalp health and may also promote hair growth. Its antimicrobial properties help reduce dandruff and scalp issues.

Try: Add some lavender oil to your shampoo, conditioner or hair masks.

Rev your recall

Some studies suggest that lavender can improve cognitive function and concentration. A 2023 study found that nursing students who took a sniff of lavender right before a test scored much higher than their peers. The fragrance created a positive class atmosphere, and the test takers retained more information, concentrated better, and were less anxious.

Try: Inhaling lavender scent has been linked to enhanced alertness and mental clarity

Menstrual Pain Relief

Lavender oil can help relieve menstrual cramps and pain, by helping the muscles relax, encouraging elasticity and increasing blood supply to the tissue.

Try: Massaging the lower abdomen with lavender oil can provide relief from menstrual discomfort.

More ways to enjoy the benefits of lavender

Love your laundry

To freshen and deodorize your laundry, add four drops of lavender oil to the water in your iron for a potent, floral scent. You can also put a few drops right into your laundry detergent, if its unscented. Or make your own fragrant dryer sheet with a few drops of lavender on a dry cloth. Toss it into the dryer with your wet laundry.

In your kitchen

Make sure you purchase culinary lavender, otherwise your food will taste like soap. Use lavender buds or lavender extract sparingly in any number of baked goods. Or use lavender to infuse simple syrup then mix it into lemonade, iced tea, a wide range of cocktails or even meringue. Or steep it in heavy cream before whipping for lavender whipped cream.

When experimenting with flavor profiles, remember to balance lavender’s low notes with something bright like lemon juice and zest.

These statements have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease.

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