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Lavender


Introduction

Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region. It was used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies. Lavender's use as a bath additive originated in Persia, Greece, and Rome. The herb's name comes from the Latin lavare, which means "to wash."

Common Names--lavender, English lavender, garden lavender

Latin Names--Lavandula angustifolia

What It Is Used For

  • Historically, lavender was used as an antiseptic and for mental health purposes.
  • Today, the herb is used for conditions such as anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and depression.
  • Lavender is also used for headache, upset stomach, and hair loss.

How It Is Used

What the Science Says

  • There is little scientific evidence of lavender's effectiveness for most health uses.
  • Small studies on lavender for anxiety show mixed results.
  • Some preliminary results indicate that lavender oil, combined with oils from other herbs, may help with hair loss from a condition called alopecia areata.

Side Effects and Cautions

  • Topical use of diluted lavender oil or use of lavender as aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults. However, applying lavender oil to the skin can cause irritation.
  • Lavender oil may be poisonous if taken by mouth.
  • When lavender teas and extracts are taken by mouth, they may cause headache, changes in appetite, and constipation.
  • Using lavender with sedative medications may increase drowsiness.
  • Tell your health care providers about any complementary and alternative practices you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

Sources

  • Lavender. Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Web site. Accessed on December 28, 2006.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Miller). Natural Standard Database Web site. Accessed on December 28, 2006.
  • Lavender flower. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckman J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins; 2000:226–229.




last update: October 2011


Source : National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine



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