Lavender oil is known for its medicinal properties. It’s been a popular anti-inflammatory and antiseptic for centuries, and has been used for a variety of conditions from alopecia to fungal infections. At Dexter & Mason, we’re not experts in the medicinal uses of lavender; however, we have looked into ways in which simply the scent of lavender can be beneficial.
Here’s how lavender’s lovely fragrance can help with your wellbeing.
Does Lavender Reduce Anxiety?
Anecdotally, we’re all aware that lavender is meant to reduce feelings of anxiety. Its fragrance is often described as “relaxing” and “comforting”; and certainly, it’s the candle we always light if we want to chill out after a long day. It’s often marketed as a stress-relieving, relaxation product, in everything from bath salts to car air fresheners.
It seems lavender’s anxiety-reducing reputation is rooted in fact. A few years ago, a study was carried out into whether lavender could reduce dental patient anxiety levels. Half the 340 patients studied sat in a lavender-scented waiting room, and the control group didn’t. Those exposed to lavender reported lower anxiety levels – regardless of what the treatment was. The effects weren’t long-term; however the study did suggest that lavender makes an effective and immediate stress reliever.
Lavender contains an alcohol called “linalool”, and recent studies have shown that simply smelling this helps to promote relaxation. It interacts with our GABA neurotransmitters to help calm nervous system activity – simply through smelling its gorgeous fragrance.
Our tip: light a lavender candle towards the end of the day to create the perfect relaxing atmosphere. It’s a popular choice for luxurious, candlelit baths.
Can Lavender Help With Sleep?
Of course, it’s far easier to sleep if we feel more relaxed and less anxious, and various studies have shown that exposure to lavender can improve the quality of sleep (it seems it can help people fall asleep faster, too). Again, this is thanks to its ability to calm our neuro transmitters.
There’s also the association of lavender with sleep. For example, if lighting a lavender candle is part of our evening wind-down ritual, our brains will link the smell with feelings of relaxation and sleepiness.
Our tip: place a lavender diffuser in your bedroom to create a sleepy haven. Its gentle background scent is perfect for a relaxing ambience (and it’s safer than lighting a candle at bedtime). Want a change from lavender? Ylang ylang, rose and patchouli are also used for their soporific scents, so try something like our Amber Noir reed diffuser.
Does Lavender have Cleansing Properties?
Lavender has also traditionally been used as a cleaning agent. Stick a few drops of lavender essential oil with some white vinegar in a spritzer bottle to create a homemade, disinfecting cleaner. It’s a great, green way of wiping down domestic surfaces, and the lavender scent brings a zesty freshness (and stops the vinegar becoming overpowering).
Because of this association with cleanliness, lavender is a popular scent in bathrooms and cloakrooms. Its fresh fragrance cuts through unwanted odours, keeping your smallest room smelling fresh. Our lavender reed diffuser is perfect on a bathroom windowsill or shelf for a clean-smelling background aroma.
Our tip: pop the empty candle or diffuser jar, and even the packaging, in a clothes or bed linen drawer to bring a subtle, lavendery scent.
We’d Also Add…
We love this pretty plant, and we’d definitely recommend growing your own lavender to complement your scented candle and reed diffuser. As well as bringing a splash of rich purple to your garden or patio, it means you have a useful supply of dried lavender to hand.
From keeping away the moths to adding a sweet, floral tang to home-made biscuits, dried lavender has so many traditional household uses. It’s super-easy to grow: in fact, provided it gets full sun, it rather likes being ignored. Bees adore it, so it’s a handy plant to grow if you want to attract buzzy little pollinators to your garden (while repelling other, peskier insects). Here’s how to cut and dry lavender flowers.
If you’d like to know any more about lavender or any of our other ingredients, please get in touch with us at Dexter & Mason.