Lavender tea is made by brewing the purple buds of the Lavandula angustifolia plant with hot water.
This tea is thought to calm nerves, lead to better sleep, improve skin health, and provide many other benefits, though research is scarce and mostly focuses on lavender extracts.
Here are 4 possible benefits of lavender tea and extract, and the science behind them.
1. Lavender tea may improve mood disorders
Lavender is widely used as an aromatherapy agent and supplement to help with anxiety, depression, and fatigue.
Studies suggest that compounds in lavender may stimulate activity in certain areas of the brain and influence the transmission of impulses between brain cells in ways that boost mood and produce a calming effect.
While both the scent of lavender extract and oral lavender oil preparations have been shown to improve mood and calm the mind, it’s less clear if lavender tea can offer similar benefits.
One study in 80 new mothers in Taiwan found that those who drank 1 cup (250 mL) of lavender tea per day for 2 weeks while taking time to appreciate the tea’s aroma reported less fatigue and depression, compared with those who didn’t smell and drink the tea.
However, there were similar reports of fatigue and depression between the two groups after 4 weeks, suggesting that benefits are most helpful early on.
Summary: Lavender aromatherapy and oil preparations have been shown to help calm nerves and decrease feelings of anxiety and depression. Some research suggests that lavender tea may have a similar effect.
2. Lavender tea may boost sleep
The calming effect of lavender in the body is also thought to boost sleep.
There are no specific studies on lavender tea’s effect on sleep quality, but studies on other types of lavender are promising.
One study in 158 new mothers in the postpartum period found that women who took 10 deep breaths of lavender fragrance 4 days a week for 8 weeks had significantly better sleep quality than those in the placebo group.
Another study on 79 college students who reported sleep issues showed that proper sleep hygiene and breathing in lavender improved sleep quality. Lavender patches were applied to the chest at night.
Based on these results, it’s possible that enjoying a cup of lavender tea to unwind before bed could help you have better sleep.
This may be especially true if you take time to appreciate and breathe in the scent, as research on lavender fragrance suggests.
Summary: Research suggests that the calming fragrance of lavender extract may also promote better sleep, but there have been no specific studies on the effect of lavender tea.
3. Lavender tea may soothe menstrual cramping
Cramping in the lower abdomen before or during a menstrual period is a common issue among women.
Lavender may help with feelings of discomfort.
Specifically, one study in 200 young adult women in Iran found that smelling lavender for 30 minutes per day in the first 3 days of a menstrual cycle led to significantly less painful cramping after 2 months, compared with the control group.
Other research suggests that massage with lavender essential oil also helps with menstrual cramping, but there have been no studies on the ingestion of lavender in tea or supplements.
Still, drinking lavender tea and appreciating its scent may help, though more extensive research is needed.
Summary: Breathing in lavender essential oil or using it in massage may help with menstrual cramping. There have been no studies on whether drinking lavender tea has a similar effect, but it’s possible.
4. Lavender tea may improve skin health
Lavender oil has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects.
As a result, it’s used in topical applications to help fight acne, improve inflammatory skin conditions like psoriasis, and heal wounds or abrasions.
One study in rats found that topical application of lavender oil every other day for 14 days significantly decreased the area of wounds, compared with the control group. This is mainly because lavender oil promoted the synthesis of the structural protein collagen.
These results suggest that certain forms of lavender may promote skin healing and collagen formation.
Summary: Research indicates that certain types of lavender, such as oil, may exhibit anti-inflammatory effects and help promote skin healing.
How to make lavender tea and possible precautions
Though solid research on lavender tea is scarce, drinking a cup of this tea can be soothing and may offer some benefits.
To make lavender tea, you can steep store-bought tea bags in hot water or brew your own. Pour 1 cup (250 mL) of water over 1/2 teaspoon of loose lavender buds, and let it steep for a few minutes.
As with most herbal teas, there are some precautions to consider with lavender tea.
There has been at least one case report of developing an abnormally rapid heartbeat after drinking lavender tea.
In terms of lavender extracts, they’re available in oil and supplement forms. There are no standardized doses for supplements, and lavender oils should be used with caution. Lavender oil shouldn’t be ingested.
For topical use, mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil, like coconut or jojoba oil, before rubbing it into your skin. You may also want to do a patch test to see how your skin reacts to the diluted lavender oil before using it more freely.
Don’t apply undiluted lavender oil to your skin, as this can cause irritation and inflammation. It’s important to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil before applying topically.
Suggested read: 4 natural ways to get rid of pimples
To use lavender oil for aromatherapy put a few drops on a cotton ball or tissue and inhale. You can also use an essential oil diffuser.
Due to its possible effects on the nervous system, talk to your healthcare provider before using any form of lavender if you have any heart conditions, underlying health conditions, or take medications.
It’s unknown whether lavender oils or teas are safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women.
Summary: You can easily make lavender tea at home or use lavender oils for aromatherapy and massage. However, speak with your healthcare provider before using lavender if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have an underlying health condition.
Lavender tea and extracts may help promote sleep, skin health, boost mood, and soothe anxiety.
However, there’s almost no research on the possible benefits of the tea specifically. If anything, appreciating the smell of lavender tea may have the most potential benefit, as most studies point to lavender’s use in aromatherapy.
Still, drinking lavender tea can be soothing and a great way to unwind.