This beautiful and fragrant herb is good for more than only aromatherapy. It is the definition of flower power. And yet, although it has hundreds of amazing uses, some still wonder about potentially hazardous effects. While for many there is so much to love about lavender, for others, there is a bit of controversy surrounding this herb, at least about usage for every member of the household.
Lavender Flower (Lavandula): Origin and Use
Before determining whether the controversy holds any truth to it or not, we need a quick background. In ancient cultures across Europe, Africa, Asia, and India, lavender was the trusted herb for many issues. It was (and often still is) used as a powerful pain-relieving ingredient with antimicrobial properties, also cherished for sedative effects. But that's not nearly the end of the story. As we said, it was used in hundreds of ways.
Regardless of use however, every culture it was touted around, lavender was believed to help both the body and the mind. Let's take a look at some of those wonderful benefits, then see if they come with a double edged sword.
For ages lavender has been used for pain relief and sedation. But it has also shown great antiseptic and antimicrobial effects, making a potent medicinal choice. During WWII, soldiers used lavender to aid their wounds. Romans bathed in it for antiseptic and relaxing purposes.
And now, recent studies have been reinforcing these historical uses and showing us more.
Lavender has a calming effect on the nervous system. It is a reason people often use it to aid sleep (hence the Romans relaxing in baths). The crazy thing is that even if caffeine is ingested, lavender may be able to help calm you. For us afternoon coffee lovers, it's a saving grace for bedtime.
It serves as an antidepressant. Lavender shows promising results for improving mild depression. Studies display that stress, postpartum depression, and anxiety can be reduced with lavender use. Even some use while still in the hospital during and after labor can significantly help a mother's hormone levels.
To add to that great news, studies have also shown that lavender used before bed improves sleep quality even in those with insomnia (further reinforces the Roman use in their baths...baths keep getting better and better). If you don't use lavender in your bath, you can always use a lavender shampoo to get the same effects.
A single herb that helps with sleep, pain, killing microbes, helps my bath and smells absolutely fantastic. Is there a catch?
Controversy Surrounding Lavender
Although it has been a trusted herb throughout history, views on lavender have recently started to change. Lavender has been reported as the cause of hormone disruption (especially in young boys and men). Although there are many wonderful benefits, there is also a question as to whether it blocks too much testosterone in developing boys who need it. The hormone replacing that testosterone would be estrogen. That's a problem leading to more problems. Here's why:
What testosterone does for boys during puberty is critical for long term health. It supports bone health, supports height, and plays a very large role in terms of fertility. Upsetting that balance during development leads to a detriment for our boys.
They are left at risk of fertility issues, osteoporosis, and more, sure. But the question is, does lavender actually cause this? And if it does, is there a safe way for our boys to use it?
Yes. Lavender can be used for boys and men.
How? The truth is that studies debunk that lavender essential oil causes estrogenic effects. Even higher concentrations of it did not produce estrogenic effects when applied topically. That's important news for those bathing in it. It means there isn't any need to worry. This recent view on lavender doesn't hold up, meaning the controversy isn't anything we need to concern ourselves with.
On top of that, there is a dilution protocol that makes this herb even less potent, meaning safe to use even if you are a rare case and are typically a little bit more sensitive to it.
The bottom line...ALL members of the family can enjoy the wonderful effects of lavender. It is not a hormone disrupter. Your hair follicles will love you for it!
Hair Growth and Other Goodies
This wonderful herb is rapidly absorbed into the skin. That's great news for anyone dealing with scalp issues (and lovers of DIY home remedies).
Lavender is an antioxidant with antibacterial and antifungal properties. It can help clean out the hair and scalp. Even lice might not stand a chance against this powerful herb.
It soothes the scalp, meaning that it has anti-inflammatory properties, improving blood circulation, combatting hair loss, and keeping hair from reaching the point of breakage. The itchiness and irritation that some of us battle lessen with even just a bit of lavender in our hair care arsenal.
It has shown profound hair growth supporting effects. In studies, hair has been reported to grow thicker and faster than usual while using lavender. That means it could help with baldness too (in case anyone was wondering).
Since lavender oil absorbs extremely quickly into the skin, these benefits are also delivered quickly. It won't take long to bolster hair health. And on top of that, lavender plays well with others.
How Lavender Effects are Boosted
Keeping with the floral theme, lavender has a best friend to help powerfully calm us. Chamomile. Since chamomile deserves its own post here, we'll keep it short and just show how these two work together.
Chamomile calms the nervous system (like lavender), further promoting a good mood and better quality sleep. It aids in reducing inflammation, helps wounds, and reduces both stress and pain as well. Since it is a natural partner of lavender, both are in our shampoo.
Another effective partner for lavender is shea butter. Together, this trio (lavender, chamomile, and shea) softens and conditions hair like you wouldn't believe. Shea butter moisturizes and delivers vitamins A and E with essential fatty acids, making them more bioavailable. Lavender detoxifies the scalp, preparing it for the benefits delivered by shea butter. They both help soothe an itchy scalp while granting more shine, softness, and volume. Say goodbye to dry scalps.
And lavender's ability to impress does not end there. It paves the way for more benefits delivered straight to the hair and scalp by tomato fruit ferment extract (lactobacillus). The tomato is powerful in clearing out dandruff, dirt, and bacteria on the scalp. Together, lavender and tomato restore hair by taking care of the roots. Tomato fruit ferment extract also helps with color and shine.
Our Use of Lavender
Since lavender has too many benefits to ignore, and the controversy has been debunked, we source quality lavender to use. In our line, these natural ingredients and more will help you optimize your health as no synthetic haircare products can. So toss your toxic products in favor of relaxing with our lavender and argan oil shampoo and conditioner. It's time to sit back, take a load off, and enjoy a lavender-filled bath with Wellnesse at your side. You deserve it.
Kianpour, M., Mansouri, A., Mehrabi, T., & Asghari, G. (2016). Effect of lavender scent inhalation on prevention of stress, anxiety, and depression in the postpartum period. Iranian journal of nursing and midwifery research, 21(2), 197–201. https://doi.org/10.4103/1735-9066.178248
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
Politano VT, McGinty D, Lewis EM, Hoberman AM, Christian MS, Diener RM, Api AM. Uterotrophic assay of percutaneous lavender oil in immature female rats. Int J Toxicol. 2013 Mar-Apr;32(2):123-9. DOI: 10.1177/1091581812472209. Epub 2013 Jan 28. PMID: 23358464.
Tisserand, R. (2019, December 10). Lavender oil, pregnancy, safety, estrogen, hormone, breast cancer. Retrieved January 18, 2021, from https://roberttisserand.com/2013/02/lavender-oil-is-not-estrogenic/