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Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Scientific name

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Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Scientific name: Lavandula angustifolia, L. officinalis, L. vera, L. spica, L. dentata, L. latifolia, L. pubescens, L. stoechas
Also known as: Spanish/English/French lavender, spike lavender, true lavender
Used for:

Orally: Restlessness/nervousness, insomnia, depression, loss of appetite, flatulence, upset stomach/nausea/vomiting, migraine headaches, toothaches, rheumatism, acne, sores, and to promote menstruation
Topically: Alopecia areata, pain, in baths for circulation disorders, improving psychological well-being, and as a mosquito/insect repellent
Inhalation in aromatherapy: Insomnia, pain, and agitation related to dementia


Likely safe when used orally in amounts commonly found in foods
Possibly safe:

Possibly unsafe for children when applied topically

Possibly effective:

  • Alopecia when used topically in combination with other essential oils

  • Anxiety when lavender is taken by capsule

  • Canker sores when lavender oil is used topically

  • Fall prevention in nursing home residents

Possibly ineffective for cancer-related pain, dementia, and perineal pain
Insufficient reliable evidence to rate: agitation, atopic dermatitis, colic, constipation, depression, dysmenorrhea, hypertension, insomnia, migraine headaches, and wound healing

Cineole, borneol, camphor, linalool, linalyl acetate, and carophyllene epoxide
Food/medication/herb/supplement interaction:

  • Antihypertensive medications

  • Barbiturates

  • Benzodiazepines

  • Chloral hydrate

  • Central nervous system depressants (medication)

  • Herbs and supplements with hypotensive effects

  • Herbs and supplements with sedative properties

References and recommended readings
Altaei DT. Topical lavender oil for the treatment of recurrent aphthous ulceration. Am J Dent. 2012;25(1):39-43. American Journal of Dentistry website. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD. Randomized trial of aromatherapy. Successful treatment for alopecia areata. Arch Dermatol 1998;134(11):1349-52. doi:10.1001/archderm.134.11.1349.
Henley DV, Lipson N, Korach KS, Bloch CA. Prepubertal gynecomastia linked to lavender and tea tree oils. N Eng J Med 2007;356:479-85. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa064725.
Lavender. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health website. Updated April, 2012. Accessed June 30, 2015.
Lavender. Natural Medicine Comprehensive Database website. Accessed June 22, 2015.
Sakamoto Y, Ebihara S, Ebihara T, Tomita N, Toba K, Freeman S, Arai H, and Kohzuki M. Fall prevention using olfactory stimulation with lavender odor in elderly nursing home residents: a randomized controlled trial. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2012 60(6):1005-11. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2012.03977.x.
Contributed by Crystal Petrello, MS, RDN, LD

Review Date: 6/30/15

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