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Aug 4, 2011

Antifungal Benefits of Lavender Oil

Many people recognize lavender oil by its delightful and relaxing aromatic scent, but few are familiar with the impressive antimicrobial properties it has to offer.  Newer studies have shown that lavender oil may be better at managing fungal infections than standard anti-fungal medications.  Research published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology found that the pure essential oil of Lavadula viridis shows potent antifungal activity against strains of fungi responsible for common skin and nail infections.  The oil was found to be lethal to a variety of skin-pathogenic strains, known as dermatophytes, along with various species of Candida.   

Unlike many of the conventional medications used to treat these types of infections, lavender oil comes without a long list of harmful side effects.  As conventional anti-fungal drugs continue to lose their effectiveness due to the development of superbug resistance, it is becoming more important to find natural and effective alternatives like lavender oil.  Not only does lavender show promise as being a safe and natural anti-fungal, it is also widely available, cost-effective, and easy to use.   

Essential oils derived from various types of plants in general can be very concentrated and potent medicines.  Be aware that not all essential oils have the same properties or safety profiles, and always use caution when using any type of essential oil.  Some essential oils are NOT appropriate for use topically, while some may be ok to apply topically if diluted and/or used in drop doses.  Essential oils should NEVER be used internally unless you are working with an experienced medical practitioner!

When buying essential oils, including lavender oil, be sure to find a good source.  Many products sold in stores are not pure and may contain added synthetic ingredients that smell similar to the oil of interest.  Oils with synthetic ingredients will not have the same therapeutic benefits as pure medicinal oils.

Dr. Shana McQueen