Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is an evergreen plant native to the Mediterranean. Its flower and oil have a popular scent and are also used as medicine.

Lavender contains an oil that seems to have calming effects and might relax certain muscles. It also seems to have antibacterial and antifungal effects.

People commonly use lavender for anxiety, stress, insomnia, depression, dementia, pain, and many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support many of these uses.

Possibly Effective for

  • Anxiety. Taking a specific lavender oil supplement by mouth seems to help relieve anxiety. Using lavender oil aromatherapy or aromatherapy massage also seems to help.
  • Depression. Taking lavender products by mouth, including teas and a specific oil supplement, seems to reduce symptoms of depression.
  • Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea). Lavender oil aromatherapy seems to help reduce menstrual pain.
  • Pain after surgery. Using lavender oil aromatherapy along with standard pain medications seems to help reduce pain after surgery in some people.

Possibly Ineffective for

  • Pain in people with cancer. Using lavender oil aromatherapy with massage doesn’t seem to reduce cancer-related pain more than a massage without aromatherapy.

There is interest in using lavender for a number of other purposes, but there isn’t enough reliable information to say whether it might be helpful.

Side Effects

When taken by mouth: Lavender is commonly consumed in foods. It’s possibly safe when taken as medicine. Side effects might include constipation, diarrhea, and headache.

When applied to the skin: Lavender is possibly safe. It’s usually well-tolerated, but can sometimes cause skin irritation.

When inhaled: Lavender essential oil is possibly safe. It’s been used safely as aromatherapy for up to 12 weeks.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn’t enough reliable information to know if lavender is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: Applying products to the skin that contain lavender oil is possibly unsafe for young males who haven’t reached puberty. Lavender oil seems to have hormone-like effects that could disrupt normal hormones. In some cases, this has resulted in breast growth. There isn’t enough reliable information to know if lavender is safe for children to take by mouth.

Surgery: Lavender might slow down the central nervous system. If used with anesthesia and other medications given during and after surgery, it might slow down the central nervous system too much. Stop using lavender at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.


Moderate Interaction

Be cautious with this combination

  • Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interacts with LAVENDER

    Lavender might cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Some medications, called sedatives, can also cause sleepiness and slowed breathing. Taking lavender with sedative medications might cause breathing problems and/or too much sleepiness.


Written by: Omojo Emeje

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