Lavender essential oil: a review

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Lavender essential oil is popular as a complementary medicine in its own right and as an additive to many over the counter complementary medicine and cosmetic products. Indeed, products derived from the popular garden herb Lavender (Lavandula spp.) have been used for centuries as a therapeutic agent, with the more 'recent' addition, the essential oils derived from these plants, being widely used as an antibacterial in World War I . The oil is traditionally believed to have sedative, carminative, anti-depressive and anti-inflammatory properties, in addition to its recognised antimicrobial effects. Many of the activities attributed to lavender oil have not, however, been substantiated in the scientific literature. This is further complicated by the fact that the majority of research into lavender essential oils has been based on oil derived from English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), with little or no differentiation being made between this and other lavender essential oils. The therapeutic potential of essential oils produced from other varieties, such as L. x intermedia (lavandin), L. stoechas (French lavender) and L. x allardii, have largely been ignored. Although the ethnobotanical uses and major chemical constituents are similar between various lavenders, some differences do occur in both oil composition and in the reported therapeutic uses for different species. The significant scientific interest in recent years into the validity/veracity of the traditional beliefs surrounding lavender oil and their scientific basis, if any, was recently reviewed by Cavanagh & Wilkinson. In this paper we provide an overview of the use of lavender oil in infectious disease and an update on recent research on alternative uses of lavender oil.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)35-37
Number of pages3
JournalHealthcare Infection
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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