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24 September 2021 / Laura Garvin Gomez

Lavender Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits

Some people consider lavender essential oil to be where aromatherapy truly began.

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Lavender in field

Lavender essential oil is known to have a wealth of benefits, and is one of the most popular oils for both diffusion and topical use.

Used across the globe for its beautiful scent and relaxing properties, lavender is truly considered to be the mother-plant of modern aromatherapy.

Although it has been in use for many years, we are still constantly studying and discovering the many benefits it can provide us.

What we do know is that lavender’s ability to assist in the healing of our bodies and minds is incredibly well documented, and it is this ability that makes it one of the most popular essential oils.

What is Lavender Essential Oil?

Lavender oil, also known as Lavandula angustifolia or "true lavender", derives from the lavender flower native to the Mediterranean. Lavender itself, however, is now grown all over the world, particularly in European regions such as France, Bulgaria and England.

Like many essential oils, lavender is extracted from its plant through steam distillation, which uses steam to separate the oil from its natural botanical product. Lavender oil is almost clear in colour, and contains a fresh and floral scent often associated with sleep and relaxation.

Lavender is very common in medicines, perfumery, cosmetics and herbal remedies.


What are the health benefits of Lavender Essential Oil?

Lavender has been known to help with several mental and physical ailments, including, but not limited to:

  • Sleep
  • Stress & restlessness
  • Low mood
  • Infection
  • Burns
  • Wounds
  • Pain
  • Toxins, chemicals & pollutants
  • Hair loss

    Lavender stem and vial with oil in.

    Why is Lavender oil good for sleep?

    The calming effects of lavender have been documented for years, and lavender essential oil has long been one of the most popular essential oils for sleep.

    In 2018, a  found that this calming effect comes from the ability of one of lavender oil’s chemical constituents, linalool, to affect the brain via smell.

    The scent is said to stimulate the olfactory system, which in turn stimulates parts of the brain responsible for mood, heart rate, and blood pressure, with no real side effects.

    discovered that inhalation of lavender carried a positive effect on sleep when tested amongst several other essential oils.

    conducted on people with medically severe sleep issues showed comparable improvements in their night’s rest after using lavender essential oil.

    Can lavender oil can be used for stress and restlessness?

    An evidence-based review  found that smelling lavender helped to dispel severe levels of stress and restlessness, with results weighing up to the starting effects of some common medications.

    Learn more about using using essential oils to combat stress and restlessness.

    Can Lavender Essential Oil help with low moods?

    The effects of medicinal aromatherapy on high-risk women after childbirth  revealed positive findings in the use of aromatherapy for both stress and low mood over time.

    Though we know that linalool’s sedative qualities are known to help slow our heart rates and ease our worries, research is still ongoing as to why it is that lavender is so beneficial for our mental health.

    Lavender field with a path running through it

    Can lavender oil be used to help treat burns and wounds?

    One of the oldest uses of lavender oil is in the treatment of burns and wounds.

    Lavender oil contains a constituent called beta-caryophyllene that acts as a natural anti-inflammatory, which makes it ideal for treating burns, sunburns, and allergic reactions.

    The application of diluted lavender oil to wounds can also assist in healing, as lavender can promote a collagen synthesis which allows our bodies to bind connective tissues faster.

    Can lavender oil be used to treat infections?

    The antimicrobial and antifungal properties of lavender are well researched – its two main constituents are linalool and linalyl acetate, which both have strong antimicrobial properties.

    suggested that these effects are even more powerful when lavender oil is mixed with another oil such as clove, cinnamon, or tea tree oil.

    Is it true that Lavender Essential Oil can help with pain?

    Not only is lavender oil said to have sedative and stress-relieving qualities – it is also known to be an anticonvulsant, which means that it may be able to relax constricted muscles. This has been found to have a positive effect on headaches and migraines.

    by nursing students even showed that lavender can have a positive effect on menstrual cramps, and heated lavender-scented pillows are commonly used to help manage menstrual pain.

    Bunch of lavender tied together with string sat on a brick wall

    Can Lavender oil be used against toxins, chemicals and pollutants?

    Lavender oil contains polyphenols, which act as natural antioxidants to fight free radicals such as toxins, chemicals, and pollutants.

    Free radicals can destroy cells over time and are largely responsible for the aging process, setting of chain reactions to attack cells throughout the body.

    However, antioxidants stabilise free radicals, inhibiting these chain reactions.

    The polyphenols in pure lavender essential oil are known to work to increase the activity of your body’s most powerful antioxidants, such as glutathione and catalase.

    Lavender essential oil’s antioxidant properties are also said to give it neuroprotective qualities – it is thought that this could potentially aid repair of neurological functions after a stroke, or contribute to the treatment of dementia, but so far this has only been 

    Learn more about antioxidant essential oils.

    Does Lavender oil increase hair growth?

    conducted on mice found that diluted application of lavender essential oil produced faster and fuller hair growth when applied topically once per day over a 4-week period.

    An earlier  also found that topical application of lavender essential oil saw positive effects on hair growth in patients with alopecia areata.

    Lavender on a cliff side with the sea behind it

    What are the different Lavender Essential Oil varieties?

    There are many different types of lavender essential oil. These variations differ slightly in smell, but they are all near-identical in their benefits.

    Here are some of the most common:

    • True lavender: The most famous lavender oil, true lavender is most commonly grown in either France or England, and may vary slightly in scent depending on the soil it is grown in. It may be sold as English or French lavender, but you can always spot true lavender by its botanical name: Lavandula angustifolia.
    • Bulgarian lavender: Bulgarian lavender is usually still true lavender, only grown in Bulgaria. Look for that true lavender botanical name to make sure. It can sometimes have a stronger, fuller scent - this can depend on supplier.
    • Spike Lavender: This variation comes from a sub species of the lavender plant also known as Portuguese lavender and is known to have more invigorating properties than traditionally calming true lavender.
    • Lavandin: A hybrid plant formed by the cross pollination of spike lavender and true lavender, lavandin has a much higher concentration of camphor than true lavender, and shares spike lavender's more invigorating properties.
    • Lavender 40/42: Whilst lavender 40/42 is still composed of 100% natural lavender oils, it is a standardised blend of 40% linalool and 42% linalyl acetate designed to give the most consistent lavender scent.


    How to use Lavender Essential Oil

    1. Aromatherapy

    Combine 5-7 drops of the oil with water and add to an oil burner or diffuser for a calming floral scent.

    Alternatively, you can simply hold a bottle of lavender essential oil to your nose and inhale.

    Add a few drops to a tissue or cotton ball for on-the-go aromatherapy.

    Looking for creative ways to use your lavender essential oil? Discover a number of fun candle and soap recipes in our Make at Home blog section.

    2. Massage

    Dilute 5 drops to 10ml of carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) and massage evenly into the skin.

    Lavender oil is known to help ease the muscles of the body as well as lessen joint and back pain. Massage into the affected area for efficient and relaxing relief.

    notes that massages with lavender essential oil as one of the most common complimentary therapies in the UK.

    We always advise to perform a patch test before using lavender essential oil on the skin.

    3. Bath 

    Add 6-8 drops to warm bathwater for a relaxing at-home spa experience.

    Dropping lavender essential oil into your bathtub will provide you with a number of the same benefits as standard aromatherapy usage, and  even concluded that doing so can help to boost general psychological well-being over time.  

    4. Skincare 

    Add a couple of drops to a carrier oil (such as coconut or jojoba oil) or your chosen lotion and spread evenly, or on affected areas.

    We always advise to perform a patch test before using lavender essential oil on the skin.

    5. Soap & Candles 

    Suitable for soap making and candle making. We recommend following a tested recipe.

    Visit our blog to discover fun and creative DIYs and ideas.

    What is the history of Lavender Essential Oil?

    Although the practice of inhaling essential oil has been around for thousands of years, the term ‘aromatherapy’ wasn’t created until the early 20th century, when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse self-treated a burn with lavender essential oil.

    He was hardly the first to use lavender for its healing qualities, however – the Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all explored the calming, healing, and soothing qualities of lavender. In fact, it is said that the Egyptians even used it around Tutankhamun’s tomb, as traces of it were found upon its discovery.

    The name ‘lavender’ is also said to derive from the Latin word “lavare” meaning “to wash”. This is due to the Romans using the plant in their baths, bedlinen, and clothes.

    Though much is still to be discovered about what lavender essential oil can do for us, there is no doubt that it has become the pioneer for modern aromatherapy for a reason and will likely continue its powerful legacy for years to come.

    Product Name

    100% Pure Lavender (French) Essential Oil
    Botanical Name Lavandula Angustifolia
    Scent Type Floral
    Benefits & Uses Calming, Sleeping Aid, Hair Care
    Suitable for Diffusers? Yes, this lavender (french) essential oil is perfect for diffusers.
    Suitable for Candles and Soaps? Yes, this lavender (french) essential oil is perfect for candle and soap making.
    Extraction Method Steam Distillation
    Bottle Type Tamper proof and UV resistant

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