Lavender is the sweet smelling herb with blue-violet flowers that many of us will associate with our grandmothers and childhood. Its dried flowers are commonly found hanging in closets, or enclosed in little handcrafted pillows to sweeten the smell of laundry.
However, lavender’s benefits extend greatly beyond making clothes smell good. Scientific evidence has suggested aromatherapy performed using lavender essential oil can actually improve the quality of sleep, promote relaxation, and lift the mood of people suffering from sleep disorders. (1)
Studies also imply that massages carried out using lavender essential oil promote good sleep, improve concentration, and reduce anxiety. In one study, people who received a massage with lavender felt less anxious and more positive.
The name lavender originates from the Latin root lavare, which means ‘to wash.’ In ancient times, lavender’s purpose was to cleanse both the body and spirit. (2)
The Safety Of Lavender Essential Oil
While there’s plenty of evidence available to support the use of lavender for the short-term treatment of a variety of neurological disorders (3).
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The data that’s available suggests that therapy performed with lavender on the short-term is relatively harmless. However, lavender can cause an allergic reaction or skin irritation in sensitive individuals. Since the herb stimulates blood flow to the uterus and pelvic area, some health practitioners say that it’s best to avoid it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
However, it shouldn’t be overlooked that lavender has been around for millennia. Ancient Egyptians actually used is as part of the mummifying process, Roman women used it to wash and protect their clothing, and the French used it to heal burns.