lavender (generic name)
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TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older)
Lavender has been taken by mouth as a tea prepared from 1 to 2 teaspoons (5 to 10 grams) of leaves steeped in 1 cup (250 milliliters) of boiling water for 15 minutes. As a tincture, a dose of 60 drops (1:5 in 50% alcohol) per day has been used.
Lavender oil has been used in aromatherapy (inhaled) and massage therapy (applied on the skin). A naturopathic eardrop called NHED, which includes lavender, has been used at a dose of 5 drops three times a day with or without an antibiotic and topical anesthetic.
To reduce perineal discomfort after childbirth, 6 drops of lavender oil have been added to a bath. Another technique reported is to add 1/4 to 1/2 cup of dried lavender flowers to hot bath water.
Early cancer studies report doses of 800 to 1,200 milligrams per square meter of body surface, taken by mouth, four times daily in a 50:50 perillyl alcohol (a derivative of lavender):soybean oil preparation.
Children (younger than 18 years)
There is not enough scientific evidence to safely recommend lavender for children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
People with allergies to lavender may experience skin irritation after contact, and should avoid lavender in all forms.
Side Effects and Warnings
Mild rash can develop after applying lavender oil. Reports describe increased sun sensitivity and changes in skin pigmentation after applying products containing lavender oil. Nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, constipation, headache, chills, confusion, and drowsiness are sometimes reported after inhaling lavender, absorbing it through the skin, or after large doses of lavender or perillyl alcohol (derived from lavender) are taken by mouth. The essential oil of lavender may be poisonous if taken by mouth.
Drowsiness can occur after lavender aromatherapy. More severe drowsiness or sedation may occur when lavender is used with other sedating agents. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.
In theory, lavender used by mouth may increase the risk of bleeding. Individuals with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase bleeding should use caution. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
Some cancer patients have experienced low blood cell counts (neutropenia) after taking high doses of perillyl alcohol by mouth.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Lavender is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.