Getting to Know Lavender: Calm, Sleep and Comfort

lavender flowers in a field

Of all my essential oils, lavender is the one I use the most and always keep on hand (at least two--I can’t imagine running out!), and I’m not alone. Lavender essential oil is perhaps the single most popular oil on the market, and for good reason. With powerful calming effects and a delightful floral scent, lavender can bring about big positive change in your life and your household.

Botany

There are 39 species of lavender in the genus Lavandula, though the most commonly grown and used are L. angustifolia, L. latifolia, and L. x intermedia; these three species are known for their high-quality oil, high-quality honey, and high volume of oil, respectively. (Our Lavender Essential Oil is made of 100% L. angustifolia oil, to ensure the highest quality.) 

Lavender plants are native to the Mediterranean region but are grown worldwide for the production of essential oil and honey and for their beauty and scent in landscaping. (source)

Traditional Medicinal Uses

In Iranian traditional medicine lavender is used as a sedative and painkiller (source), and for as long as lavender has been in Britain it has been used for pain, sedation, relaxation, and infection there as well (source). Practitioners of folk medicine have also ascribed antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties to the oils of this flower (source).

calming lavender essential oil

Benefits of Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender is arguably the most popular of all essential oils due to its lifestyle-changing benefits and floral scent.

Calming Jittery Nerves

Inhaling lavender essential oil can calm your nerves before a scary procedure or soothe chronic unrest. That’s why diffusion to create a peaceful home environment is the #1 use for lavender EO among regular practitioners, and the European Medicines Agency has approved the essential oil for the treatment of mild stress and exhaustion (source).

Deeper Sleep

Lavender aromatherapy can create the conditions for deep, restful sleep, as was found in a study of nursing home residents and another study of insomnia patients. More wide-ranging research is needed to confirm the effect of lavender on sleep quality, but these early results fit conventional wisdom that lavender’s peaceful attributes carry over into sleep.

Relieving Discomfort

Lavender essential oil, when inhaled or massaged into the skin, can relieve discomfort from painful stimuli and reduce the need for pain medication in some patients. One study even found significant improvement in the experience of giving birth among women who received lavendar aromatherapy and massages in their labor room, though further research is needed to confirm the positive effects of lavender on discomfort.

Other Benefits

Many research teams have found additional potential benefits of lavender aromatherapy on the rate of cognitive decline, the healing of small wounds, and gut health, as well as a potentially impressive antioxidant activity level. However, all of these potential benefits are the result of isolated, small studies, and require further research to validate.

How to use

Diffuse Lavender Essential Oil in your living spaces to calm nerves and relax after long days of school, work, and keeping the household running, or diffuse in your bedroom as part of your bedtime routine to encourage easy and restful sleep. Limit diffusion to one hour at a time and monitor the response of pets and children, who are more susceptible to the potent effects of essential oils.

Add a few drops of lavender essential oil to your favorite massage oil or blend your own to bring about deep-tissue relaxation, or try a lavender-based spray such as our ClaraDerm Skin-Soothing Spray to even out complexion and protect the skin from irritants.

Also check out our Relax and Sleep Kit, a hand-selected kit with our favorite sleep all-stars. Enjoy a relaxing lavender bath before bed, diffuse a sleep-promoting diffusion blend of lavender and vetiver and take a melatonin capsule enhanced with potent sleep-aid essential oils. Mix and match to create your perfect pre-bed routine, and know that you have a few tricks up your sleeve for particularly restless nights. 

Warnings

Lavender essential oil is safe for a variety of uses, though rare cases of allergic reactions, especially when diffusing, have been recorded (source).

Always spot-check essential oils before topical application to check for sensitivity and limit diffusing time. Essential oils, although natural, are very potent substances with the potential for unforeseen side effects.

lavender oil towel brush for massage

Hydrate + Calm Lavender Massage Lotion

I don’t think there’s a way to get the benefits of lavender essential oil more efficiently than with a lavender massage. Enjoy the floral scent and calming aromatherapeutic benefits while rubbing the lotion in, then carry those benefits around with you until the scent fades. Soothe and hydrate irritated skin and work lavender deep into your dermis for deep-tissue relief!

This basic recipe will calm your mind and hydrate your skin for an improved mood that lasts all week, and because it is so simple it’s cake to whip up and easy to customize with your favorite EOs and other ingredients.

Directions:

1 c shea butter

½ c coconut oil

½ tsp lavender EO

  1. Melt shea butter and coconut oil in the top of a double boiler or in a heat-proof bowl placed over a pot of boiling water. Remove from heat and mix in the lavender EO, then leave out or place in the freezer to cool.
  2. Just when the mixture starts to solidify (it will change color from clear to opaque) whip it into a butter-like consistency and transfer to a clean jar.
  3. Store in a cool, dry place for up to two years (though I doubt it’ll last that long!).
  4. Once per week, work the lotion into sore or tight muscles with slow movements and a comfortable amount of pressure. Rub the lotion in and let it continue to work as you go about your post-massage day.

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