Lavendula angustifolia, true lavender
- Indications with possible efficacy:
- Indications with possible, but poorly documented efficacy:
Nervous upset stomach
- Other indications with no proof of efficacy:
Loss of appetite
- Risk of Drug Interactions:
- Adverse Effects:
Part of the plant used: flowers and oil
Lavender is an aromatic perennial plant native to the Mediterranean area. It can grow to a height of about one meter and produces small flowers that contain between 1 and 3 % essential oil.
Directions for use
- Agitation, anxiety, insomnia, nervous upset stomach, bloating
Infusion - 0.8 to 1.5 grams of the dried flowers in 150 mL of boiling water. Up to 3 times a day or at bedtime for insomnia.
Essential oil - 1 to 4 drops in a bit of sugar (or honey) at bedtime or a few drops in a diffuser for inhalation.
Tincture (1:5 in 50 to 60 % ethanol) - 60 drops per day or 2 to 4 mL 3 times a day.
- Adverse effects
There are few adverse effects associated with usual doses of lavender. It may, on occasion, cause constipation and headaches. Lavender may also increase appetite. When used directly on the skin, lavender may cause skin rash.
It is recommended that you stop using lavender 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery since it may have an additive effect on the central nervous system.
Use with caution if you are taking drugs that may cause dizziness or drowsiness. Before using lavender, speak to your pharmacist to see whether it is compatible with the drugs you are presently taking.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding
The use of lavender is not advised since there is no reliable information about its safety during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Some use lavender as a preventive treatment against lice. Studies however, have not proven the effectiveness of lavender for this application.
In 2004, Canada adopted new regulations that control the manufacturing, packaging, labeling and importing of natural health products. The new regulations also include an adverse reaction reporting system. Products that conform to the regulation's criteria are identified with a natural product number (NPN) and can be legally sold in Canada. This number indicates that the product meets specific criteria for safety and purity, not that it is effective for any indication.
Medicinal plant contents vary naturally from plant to plant - just as fruits from the same package may vary in taste and texture. There is no standard to measure the active content of each plant. Thus, efficacy of natural products should be expected to vary from brand to brand as well as from bottle to bottle of the same brand.
For more information about the Natural Health Products Regulations, or to check if a product has been assessed, visit the Health Canada website at www.hc-sc.gc.ca/dhp-mps/prodnatur/index-eng.php.
- Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, Therapeutic Research Faculty, 2010
- Passeportsanté.net. Lavande. www.passeportsante.net
- Blumethal M et al. The Complete German Commission E monographs, 1998
- Natural Therapeutics Pocket Guide, 2000-2001
- The Review of Natural Products, 6th Edition, 2010