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Last updated: July 17, 2016
- If you pick just one oil to start your aromatherapy journey, it should be lavender as it is has so many uses and is a safe oil for beginners
- Calms anxiety and promotes sleep
- One of the few oils considered safe for use with children
Properties: analgesic, anti-depressant, antiseptic, anti-convulsive, anti-spasmodic, sedative
Uses: insomnia, headaches, depression, sinusitis, calming and relaxing, air sanitizer, boost immunity, insect repellent
Lavender is an extremely versatile essential oil distilled from the flowering tops of the lavender plant. Lavender’s benefits are so numerous, it is likely the most useful oil you can have in your collection and definitely a great oil for beginners. Lavender has many uses in skin care, perhaps most famously for its healing properties for burns. It can also be used to relieve insect bites, soothe eczema and help with dry skin. In a diffuser, its benefits center around stress relief, insomnia, nausea, headaches, and respiratory diseases.
Effects of lavender oil in a diffuser:
Insomnia: Lavender is a very calming oil and popular for diffusing at night time. Studies have found that for mild insomnia, participants felt that they slept better with lavender in the air. Using lavender essential oil for sleep can be a simple as putting a few drops of lavender essential oil on a tissue or cotton ball and leaving it on your nightstand. You could also use a diffuser with a timer setting that shuts off the device after a period of time. You should not use any sort of diffuser that requires heat while sleeping, especially those with candles like oil lamps.
Blend to try: 3 drops lavender, 2 drops bergamot.
Immune stimulant: One of the ways to boost immune function is to reduce stress. Lavender has stress relieving effects, but it also may work on the immune system more directly. Noted expert Robert Tisserand claims that lavender can stimulate the body’s production of white blood cells. Diffusing lavender a few times a week with an ultrasonic or nebulizing diffuser may contribute to a healthier immune system.
Blend to try: 2 drops Lavender, 3 drops Lemon, 2 drops Tea Tree
Stress and anxiety: Lavender’s effects on insomnia and stress are due to its sedative properties. Studies have found a reduction of physical signs of stress and anxiety such as blood pressure, heart rate and skin temperature when participants inhaled lavender oil. These indicate a decrease in the arousal of the autonomic nervous system. Lavender may therefore work to lessen the responses to stressors that cause feelings of anxiety. When feeling stressed or anxious, having a lavender inhaler or diffusing it into the air may be what you need to bring on the calm.
Blend to try: 3 drops lavender, 1 drop Chamomile, 2 drops Tangerine
Insect repellant: Lavender is noted for being an insect repellant by many, however there are better oils for this purpose. One extra benefit of having lavender on hand for keeping the peskies away is that it also soothes insect bites. If you do get bitten you can dilute a drop or 2 or lavender oil in a teaspoon of olive oil or lotion (or similar vegetable oil) and rub it on your bites. You could use any diffuser to repel insects with lavender and this would work especially nicely with diffuser jewelry.
Blend to try: 2 drops lavender, 2 drops lemon eucalyptus, 2 drops citronella
Headaches and migraines: Lavender has long been promoted by aromatherapists as being useful for headaches. Some interesting research has been done using lavender to help migraine sufferers. A 2012 study asked 129 migraine sufferers to inhale lavender oil. While 71% reported some improvement of symptoms, 49% reported some improvement from inhaling a placebo. What is interesting to note is that inhaling something seemed to contribute to an improvement. I would wonder if focus on breathing was at play here? If you suffer from migraines, it certainly suggests that lavender in an inhaler stick may be beneficial—both for the effects of the lavender and the focused breathing. Lavender’s effects on lowering blood pressure may also contribute to a reduction in migraine symptoms. Use lavender in an inhaler stick or diffuse it into the air.
Blend to try: 2 drops lavender, 1 drop Peppermint, 1 drop Marjoram
Best lavender oil for a diffuser
There are many varieties of lavender and they all have a slightly different aroma. Some can smell almost harsh and medicinal. Any variety of Lavandula angustifolia or Lavandula officinalis will work in a diffuser and the best thing to do is ask different companies for samples until you find the one that works best for you. Spike Lavender and Lavandin are not the same thing and have their own chemical makeup, properties and aroma.
Two popular varieties of lavender essential oil are lavender maillette and lavender fine. Both have a pleasant, soft, and sweeter floral scent. Both come from France.
When shopping for lavender, Bulgarian lavender is also highly regarded as is lavender grown at high altitudes.
Best oils to use with lavender in a diffuser:
Lavender blends well with most essential oils. Some favorites include bergamot, clary sage, geranium, rosemary, tea tree, lemon, and orange oil.
Are there any dangers associated with lavender oil in a diffuser?
You should always use caution with a diffuser if you have children or pets. In general, they can get burned by candles or hot appliances. They can also knock over your diffuser spilling its contents and possible breaking glass parts.
Lavender is generally a safe oil but you should discontinue use 2 weeks before surgery as it may be a CNS depressant. For this reason if you use other sedative medications you may also want to use caution. This oil may have hormonal effects and may not be advised to use around young boys as it might cause breast development.