- Lavender is native to countries in the Mediterranean region, including France, Spain, and Italy.
- The name lavender comes from the Latin verb “lavare,” meaning “to wash.” In ancient Rome, lavender was used as a bath additive.
- Lavender is used to flavor foods and beverages and as a fragrance ingredient in soaps and cosmetics. It is promoted as a dietary supplement for anxiety, depression, digestive symptoms, and other conditions. It is also promoted for topical use (application to the skin) and use in aromatherapy.
- Studies have been done on the use of lavender for a variety of conditions, but there hasn’t been enough high-quality research to allow definite conclusions to be reached about its effectiveness.
- Studies of a lavender oil product that is taken orally (by mouth) have suggested it might be beneficial for anxiety, but because of limitations of the research, including the small size of the studies, no definite conclusions can be reached about its effectiveness.
- It’s uncertain whether lavender oil used as aromatherapy is helpful for anxiety or other conditions.
- Consumption of lavender in the amounts typically used in foods is likely to be safe. Short-term oral use in the amounts tested in studies of lavender for anxiety or other conditions may also be safe.
- The topical use of products containing lavender may cause allergic skin reactions in some people.
- A few cases of swelling of breast tissue have been reported in children who used topical products containing lavender. However, it’s unclear whether the lavender was responsible for the breast swelling, a condition that can have many causes.
- Little is known about whether it’s safe to use lavender during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.
- Talk to your health care providers about any complementary health approaches before you use. It may be contraindicated with any medications you are currently taking.