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© 2018 Steven Foster

A lavender monograph for the home

Latin Name: Lavandula angustifolia

Common Names: lavender, English lavender, common lavender, French lavender

This lavender monograph provides basic information about lavender—common names, usefulness and safety, and resources for more information.


Lavender Basics

  • Lavender is native to the Mediterranean region, the Arabian Peninsula, and Russia. It is grown in Europe, the United States, and Australia.
  • Lavender has a long history of use to boost appetite and mood, as well as relieve gastrointestinal problems and anxiety. It was also used in ancient Egypt as part of the process for mummifying bodies.
  • Today, people use lavender as a dietary supplement for anxiety, depression, intestinal problems, and pain. People also apply it to the skin for hair loss, pain, and for improving emotional health. People may also inhale a lavender vapor to help sleep, to reduce pain, and for agitation related to dementia.
  • Tea can be made from lavender leaves. A vapor for inhalation can be made by mixing lavender oil (an essential oil) with boiling water. Lavender oil is used for massage and in baths. Lavender is also found in capsules and liquid extracts.

Lavender in Health Research

  • Many studies have investigated lavender’s effectiveness for a number of conditions, such as pain, anxiety, stress, and overall well-being, but several were small and of poor quality.

Lavender Research Summary

  • There is little scientific evidence of lavender’s effectiveness for most health uses.
  • Studies on lavender for anxiety have shown mixed results.
  • Results of a 1998 study suggested that massaging the scalp with a combination of lavender oil and oils from other herbs may help with hair loss from a condition called alopecia areata.

Lavender Preparation & Dosing *

*Always check with your doctor before taking any alternative therapy.
Application Dosage Preparation
Infusion 4-8grams (1-2 teaspoons) Steep dried flowers in 8oz boiling water for 10 minutes
Tincture 2-4mL (1:5 50% POH) up to 3 X daily
Topical Bath 85-170grams (1/4 – 1/2 Cup) dried flowers Prepare a sachet for a full hot bath
Inhaler / Aromatherapy 0.5 – 0.2mL (3-8 drops) of essential oil In carrier oil or water

Lavender Safety

  • Topical use of diluted lavender oil is generally considered safe for most adults, but reports suggest it can cause skin irritation.
  • There’s not enough evidence to determine its safety when inhaled as aromatherapy.
  • Some evidence suggests that some topical applications containing lavender oil may affect sex hormone activity.
  • Lavender oil may be poisonous if taken by mouth.
  • Lavender extracts may cause stomach upset, joint pain, or headache.
  • Lavender could be contra-indicated if you are already taking CNS depressants and anticonvulsants possibly leading to synergistic narcotic and sedative effects (Denner, 2009, p. 61)
  • Caution as also advised in regard to coumarin, a lavender constituent, theoretically causing bleeding in combination with anticoagulant therapy. (Denner, 2009, p. 61)
  • Patients with open wounds, skin problems, high fever, severe infections and severe heart and circulation problems should not have full baths with lavender oil (EMA/HMPC/530968/2012)

Lavender WildCrafting


13 DIY Lavender Projects

Lavender is found in “dry grassy slopes amongst rocks, in exposed, usually parched, hot rocky situations often on calcareous soils” (Plants for a Future, 2017). Lavender blooms in mid summer, depending on location. Its best to pick lavender when the buds are just starting to open, before the bees have done their business! The square stalks are best cut close to the base. Lavender is typically dried out before you process it in any way. Hang the stalks upside down for 2-4 weeks until the stalk snaps when bent. You can hang inside of a paper bag, to catch the flower buds that easily fall out.

One fun thing that you can make with fresh lavender flowers is lavender honey! Simply rough chop the flowers into a glass mason jar. Cover with good quality organic honey. Store in a cool, dark place for 4+ weeks. Shake jar occasionally and strain before using.

Lavender References


PubMed Articles About

Source: National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)[Internet]. Bethesda (MD): National Library of Medicine (US), National Center for Biotechnology Information; [1988] – [cited 2018 Apr 5]. Available from: