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When applied topically, lavender oil has rubefacient properties (Fisher & Painter 1996) and is thought to have analgesic, antihistamine and anti-inflammatory activities. A small study comparing the effects of a bath containing lavender oil, synthetic lavender oil, and distilled water in reducing perineal discomfort after childbirth found lower mean discomfort scores in the lavender group; however, the differences between groups were not significant (Cornwell & Dale 1995).

Traditionally, lavender oil is considered to have a balancing effect on the CNS, acting as an aromatic stimulant or calming agent.

Extracts of L. multifida have been found to have topical anti-inflammatory activity in mice, with some extracted compounds having activity comparable to that of indomethacin (Sosa et al 2005). At high concentrations (0.1 %) lavender oil has also been found to suppress TNF-alpha-induced neutrophil adherence (Abe et al 2003). Lavender has also demonstrated powerful anti-oxidant activity (Gulcin et al 2004), as well as antimutagenic activity (Evandri et al 2005) and antiplatelet and antithrombotic properties demonstrated both in vitro and in vivo (Ballabeni et al 2004).

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