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Sleep Health > Related NHP > Lavender
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General Information

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 Name(s)
lavender, English lavender, garden lavender
Scientific Name(s)
Lavandula angustifolia
How is Lavender usually used?

Lavender is most commonly used in aromatherapy, in which the scent of the essential oilessential oilan agent extracted from plant parts and used in perfumes, cosmetics, incenses, and medication from the flowers is inhaled.

The essential oil can also be diluted with another oil and applied to the skin.

Dried lavender flowers can be used to make teas or liquid extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients that can be taken by mouth.

What is Lavender used for?

Historically, lavender was used as an antisepticantiseptican agent that prevents or reduces infection from wounds 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.

Your health care provider may have recommended this product for other conditions. Contact a health care provider if you have questions.

What else should I be aware of?

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.

Topical (applied to the skin) 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. There have been reports that topical use can cause breast growth in young boys.

Lavender oil may be poisonous if taken by mouth.

When lavender teas and extractextractto get, separate, or isolate a desired active ingredients are taken by mouth, they may cause headache, changes in appetite, and constipation.

Using lavender with sedativesedativean agent that induces sleep, relaxes, and reduces tension medications may increase drowsiness.

Before taking any new medications, including natural health products, speak to your physician, pharmacist, or other health care provider.

Tell your health care provider about any natural health products you may be taking.

  1. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). Herbs at a Glance. Lavender. Accessed September 12, 2014.

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