Lavender: Health Benefits and Uses

Who doesn’t love the smell of lavender? Just a hint of this herb tends to relax and soothe us, but did you know that this plant is so much more than just a lovely smelling flower? In fact, it has many health benefits and uses, and it is no wonder why it is the most popular essential oil used today.

People have used this calming plant for a variety of reasons for over 2,500 years. Today, it is most commonly used as an essential oil and can be found in many bedtime teas to help you relax at the end of the day. It is also often found in perfumes and fragrances for the home. With all of these common uses, you will even notice it is used to flavor foods and drinks.

We don’t often think of lavender as a flavor, but it is quickly becoming a favorite flavor in mainstream markets used to flavor drinks and baked goods. Lavender isn’t just a plant the smells and tastes good with an endless list of uses; it also has many health benefits.

What are the benefits of lavender?

There are many benefits of using lavender, whether you use it as a supplement, herb or as an essential oil. It can help you increase your health, lower your stress levels, and even fight off migraines. With so many health benefits it is no wonder that lavender is becoming more and more popular than ever before. We’re used to seeing lavender used in household products, but the use of lavender goes so much further than just making your house smell nice.

Get a Better Night’s Sleep

Lavender is commonly used to improve the symptoms of insomnia and help the user have a better night’s sleep. This is due to the calming properties of lavender, and studies have shown that when inhaled before bed, lavender oil can substantially improve the quality of sleep throughout the night (1). The most common way to get the benefits of lavender to help you sleep is to use a few drops in a small essential oil diffuser and let it run while you sleep.

You can also rub lavender oil directly on your temples and chest before bed, or make a soothing lavender tea to help you sleep. For this, simply use dried lavender herbs and let them steep in hot water.

Reduces Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety disorder and depression are two of the of the most common mental disorders in America, and thanks to the calming effects of lavender this herb can also be used to help you relax, improve your overall mood and lessen anxieties. Studies have shown that using a lavender oil can alleviate symptoms of anxiety and was found to be more effective against general anxiety disorder and depression than the prescription medication, paroxetine (2,3).

Lavender oil has also been found to be useful in treating and relieving symptoms of PTSD, not only improving the overall health of those who have PTSD but also lessening depression by 33% (4).

Relieves Stress

Lavender can be used to help relieve stress that is caused by our everyday lives due to the calming effects mentioned above. Reducing stress can help you improve your overall health and lead a more satisfying life.

To relieve stress, you can dab lavender oil on behind your ears, make lavender tea, take lavender capsules, or diffuse lavender oil in a diffuser.

Reduces Menstrual Pains

Lavender oil has been found to be effective against menstrual pains and cramps when applied topically to the lower abdomen. If you are a woman who has painful periods without an underlying medical cause for the pain, this could be one natural way to relieve the pain without having to rely on medication.

Using lavender oil as a topical treatment has been found to be just as useful as other natural herb remedies and more beneficial than any other essential oil (5).

Improves Brain Function

Regularly using lavender can help improve overall brain function. Animals studies have shown promise in treating symptoms of Alzheimer’s by preventing oxidative stress and improving cognitive impairment. It has also been demonstrated that lavender may even be useful in treating neurological damage caused by strokes (6, 7, 8).

Alleviates Headaches and Migraines

Headaches, and especially migraines, can interfere with our daily lives. It can keep up from being productive at work and even keep up bedridden. Lavender oil has been shown to be one of the most effective essential oils for treating headaches and migraines.

To help alleviate your headache or a migraine, diffuse some lavender oil in a diffuser and relax. You can also inhale the lavender directly from the bottle. In a recent study, using lavender for migraines and headaches improved pain in 92 out of 129 participants (9).

Boosts Skin Health

We all want youthful, clear, glowing skin and lavender oil may be able to help you get it due to its microbial and antioxidant properties. Using lavender oil topically (mixed with coconut oil) can help you improve acne and prevent signs of aging.

It can also be used to treat skin conditions, such as canker sores and age spots.

What are some other uses for lavender?

Bug repellent

Do you ever just want to enjoy the outdoors and relax, but end up getting bitten by annoying insects? Lavender has been used for centuries as a natural bug repellent and is a great alternative to modern, chemical solutions.

To use lavender as a bug repellent, you can either use a few drops in a diffuser or you can mix a few drops to coconut oil and apply it directly to your skin like a lotion. This will help keep the bugs away so you can enjoy your time outdoors.

Relaxing Aroma

We all have those times when we just need to sit back and relax after a hard day. Lavender can help you unwind and de-stress from your long day. There are several ways you can use lavender’s relaxing aroma to your advantages, such as diffusing a few drops of oil, making some lavender tea or relaxing in a bath with Epsom salts and 3-4 drops of lavender oil.

Using lavender oil in a diffuser is also a great way to freshen your house. You can also add lavender to cotton balls and toss them into drawers and cupboards to freshen your linens.

Floral Food Flavoring

Lavender has been commonly used in products for a long time, such as bath soaps, cleaning products, and other household items to make them smell good. Although this plant is known for its lovely aroma, it is also becoming an increasingly popular flavor in foods, especially baked goods and drinks.

We may be used to the idea of lavender tea, but it is hardly thought of as a typical flavor. You can use organic lavender oil, and even use the dried lavender herb, to give your food and drinks a refreshing floral taste.

The taste of lavender can be described as a floral mix between mint and rosemary and can give you all the benefits listed above.

What are the most common ways to use lavender?

There are so many ways for you to get the benefits of lavender, and the benefit you get can depend on the form in which you consume or inhale it.

The most popular form of lavender is lavender essential oil. This can be used in an oil diffuser or mixed with a carrier, such as coconut oil or grapeseed oil so you can apply the oil topically. You can also combine your essential oil into bath water to help you relax.

Lavender can also be used to flavor food and drinks, or it can be purchased as a dried herb and steeped in hot water to make tea.

Another form of lavender use is to buy it in capsule forms and use it as a daily supplement.

Where can you buy lavender?

You can find lavender as an essential oil at most health stores, including Whole Foods, Sprouts, Vitamin Shoppe, and GNC. You can also more conveniently find it online through Amazon. This is also a great place to find it as a dried herb or in capsules to take as a supplement.

While your lavender oil should be pure, organic and unadulterated if you are going to be using it for any use, If you are going to use lavender oil in food, be sure you are using an organic pure oil (this way it is food grade), rather than the typical essential oil that you buy from the store as some of these can contain additional chemical.

Are there any side effects to using lavender?

Lavender can have some negative side effects if you are allergic or consume too much. It is generally considered safe for most people, but if you do find yourself having signs of an allergic reaction, call a doctor immediately. These signs can include hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling.

Other side effects if misused, or overused, can include:

  • Severe drowsiness
  • Constipation
  • Headaches
  • Increased appetite

If you are taking prescription medication, check with your doctors to ensure that lavender does not interfere with your medications, especially if you are using medications or other herbs that cause drowsiness.

Wrapping it up!

Lavender has been used for its health benefits for thousands of years, and now, we have the science to back it up. It is also becoming increasingly popular to flavor foods, primarily beverages and baked goods. You can easily find lavender essential oils at any health food stores or search on Amazon to find all different forms of lavender.


  1. Keshavarz Afshar, Mahnaz et al. “Lavender Fragrance Essential Oil and the Quality of Sleep in Postpartum Women.” Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal 17.4 (2015): e25880. PMC. Web. 13 July 2018.
  2. Kasper, Siegfried. “An orally administered lavandula oil preparation (Silexan) for anxiety disorder and related conditions: an evidence based review.” International journal of psychiatry in clinical practice 17.sup1 (2013): 15-22.
  3. Kasper, Siegfried, et al. “Lavender oil preparation Silexan is effective in generalized anxiety disorder–a randomized, double-blind comparison to placebo and paroxetine.” International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology 17.6 (2014): 859-869.
  4. Uehleke, B., et al. “Phase II trial on the effects of Silexan in patients with neurasthenia, post-traumatic stress disorder or somatization disorder.” Phytomedicine 19.8-9 (2012): 665-671.
  5. Bakhtshirin, Froozan et al. “The Effect of Aromatherapy Massage with Lavender Oil on Severity of Primary Dysmenorrhea in Arsanjan Students.” Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research 20.1 (2015): 156–160. Print.
  6. Xu, Pan et al. “The Protective Effect of Lavender Essential Oil and Its Main Component Linalool against the Cognitive Deficits Induced by D-Galactose and Aluminum Trichloride in Mice.” Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM 2017 (2017): 7426538. PMC. Web. 13 July 2018.
  7. Hancianu, Monica, et al. “Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats.” Phytomedicine 20.5 (2013): 446-452.
  8. Wang, Dong, et al. “Neuroprotective activity of lavender oil on transient focal cerebral ischemia in mice.” Molecules 17.8 (2012): 9803-9817.

Sasannejad, Payam, et al. “Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial.” European neurology 67.5 (2012): 288-291.