- spike lavender
For Patients & Caregivers
Bottom Line: Lavender has not been shown to prevent or treat cancer.
Laboratory studies show that lavender oil can kill the bacteria present in the mouth. Studies in humans indicate that massage with lavender oil is beneficial in treating mild to moderate depression and in the treatment of baldness. A formula that contains lavender and other herbs was shown to be effective in reducing ear pain in children with inflammation of the middle ear. However, it is unclear from the study if lavender alone would have a similar effect.
Lavender can cause allergic contact dermatitis and may increase the effect of sedatives.
This use is not supported by research.
- Alopecia (Baldness)
A few studies have shown that lavender oil when combined with other herbs can help in the treatment of alopecia.
No scientific evidence supports this use.
Studies have demonstrated that lavender tincture can be used to aid in the treatment of depression.
- Gastrointestinal disorders
This claim is not backed by research.
There are no data that support this use.
One clinical trial showed that lavender improves sleep pattern in cancer patients.
- Migraine treatment
One study showed that inhaling lavender oil may reduce migraine headaches.
A few studies have shown that lavender oil is effective in treating chronic pain although the effects are short term.
- Promote urination
This claim is not backed by research.
There are no data to support this use.
Forty-seven patients with migraine headaches were randomized to the intervention group that inhaled lavender essential oil, and a control group that used liquid paraffin, for 15 minutes. Patients recorded severity of their headache and associated symptoms in 30-minute intervals over a period of two hours. Based on the Visual Analogue Scale, the average reduction of severity of headache was significantly greater in the lavender group compared to those in the control group. Inhalation of lavender oil may be an effective and safe treatment in controlling migraine headaches.
For Healthcare Professionals
Derived from the flowering tops of the plant, lavender oil is used in aromatherapy, as a topical treatment and as an oral supplement for a wide variety of symptoms.
Lavender exhibits antibacterial (4), antioxidant and neuroprotective (21) effects in vitro. In mice, topical application of lavender oil reduced inflammation and recurrent ulceration (22); and exposure to lavender oil reversed spatial memory loss (23).
Topical application of an herbal formulation that includes lavender was shown effective in reducing otalgia in children with acute otitis media (11) and aromatherapy with lavender improved symptoms in patients with dementia (5)(15). Oral preparations of lavender were effective as adjuvant therapy for mild to moderate depression (7) and for generalized anxiety disorder (16)(18).
Essential oils containing lavender may also be beneficial in treating alopecia areata (10).
Inhalation of lavender oil may reduce the number of migraine headaches (19); and prevent agitation and falls in older individuals (20).
Lavender has been studied for the treatment of cancer related symptoms. Results indicate that it does not reduce anxiety during radiotherapy (6); and topical application of lavender oil does not improve long-term pain, anxiety, or quality of life in patients with advanced cancer (8).
The anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects of lavender are thought to be due to a compound known as 1,8-cineole or eucalyptol (2). Eucalyptol is also found in Eucalyptus, rosemary and cardamon (9). Lavender oil has broad spectrum antibacterial activity (22). It has been shown to prevent immediate-type allergic reactions by inhibiting mast cell degranulation in vivo and in vitro (25).
Data also indicate that lavender oil has a depressive effect on the central nervous system (3); and displays neuroprotective effects by attenuating neuronal damage, upregulating catalase (CAT), superoxide dismutase (SOD), glutathione peroxidase (GSH-Px) activities and glutathione (GSH)/glutathione disulfide (GSSG) ratio (21). The anti-epileptic effects of lavender are due to suppression of nitric oxide level in the brain. Lavender has also shown to be superior to Valproate, a major antiepileptic drug (26).
In vitro studies have shown that lavender oil has weak estrogenic and antiandrogenic activities that may alter the estrogen and androgen signaling pathways (14).
Sasannejad P, Saeedi M, Shoeibi A, Gorji A, Abbasi M, Foroughipour M. Lavender essential oil in the treatment of migraine headache: a placebo-controlled clinical trial. Eur Neurol. 2012;67(5):288-91.
In this study 47 patients with migraine headaches were randomized to the intervention group that inhaled lavender essential oil, and a control group that used liquid paraffin, for 15 minutes. Patients recorded severity of their headache and associated symptoms in 30-minute intervals over a period of two hours. Based on the Visual Analogue Scale, the average reduction of severity of headache in the lavender group was 3.6 ± 2.8; and 1.6 ± 1.6 in the controls. The difference was statistically significant with p < 0.0001. The authors conclude that inhalation of lavender oil may be an effective and safe intervention against migraine headaches.