Some people claim that smoking lavender is safe and even healthy. However, no recent research has proven that smoking lavender has health benefits.

Online content urging people to smoke lavender is often not evidence-based, and promises about its benefits can be part of a marketing tactic to sell products.

Lavender does play an important role in aromatherapy and herbal medicine, but there are other ways to use it. Smoking lavender may present some of the same dangers as other forms of smoking. These dangers include an increased risk of lung cancer and respiratory issues.

In this article, we look at the potential benefits and risks of smoking lavender.

Although research suggests that essential oils may have some health benefits, it is important to remember that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not monitor or regulate the purity or quality of these. A person should talk with a healthcare professional before using essential oils, and they should be sure to research the quality of a brand’s products. A person should always do a patch test before trying a new essential oil.

It is possible to smoke lavender in a similar way to tobacco. People can grind dried lavender into small, smokable pieces and roll it into cigarettes, either on its own or blended with other plants. It is possible to add it to tobacco, cannabis, or other herbs.

Smoked lavender smells similar to fresh lavender but has a deeper, smokier fragrance like that of incense. It also has a strong flavor.

There is no evidence that smoking lavender offers any health benefits.

Smoking lavender might allow someone to inhale a small amount of lavender essential oil with the smoke, but there is no scientific evidence to support this, and there are much safer ways to use this plant. For example, people can apply or diffuse the essential oil instead.

Unlike smoking lavender, there is some evidence that using lavender essential oil may have some health benefits. A 2019 review notes that previous studies have found it may help with sleep, anxiety, headaches, and wound healing.

Several studies suggest that lavender essential oil might fight certain infections. For example, a 2017 laboratory study found that lavender oil exhibited antibacterial properties in human cells. The oil killed or reduced the strength of several potentially dangerous species, including Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.

However, this study did not test lavender essential oil on human participants, and there is currently not enough evidence to confirm that it works reliably as a medicine for any condition. Research into lavender essential oil’s benefits and safety is still ongoing.

Learn more about the potential benefits of lavender.

The main health risk associated with smoking lavender is exposure to smoke and other potential carcinogens.

Smoking tobacco exposes a person’s lungs to dozens of harmful chemicals from cigarette additives, as well as the tobacco itself. Lavender cigarettes do not contain all of these additives. However, previous analyses of herbal cigarettes found that they had similar levels of carbon monoxide as tobacco cigarettes.

Smoke of any kind is a type of air pollution, and it is always harmful to inhale it. Smoking any substance creates tiny particles and gases that get into the lungs. These particles may irritate the lungs and cause damage over time.

Some people smoke lavender instead of tobacco because they believe that lavender is a healthier choice. No studies have tested or found support for this claim.

One advantage of lavender, in comparison to tobacco, is that it does not contain nicotine. Nicotine is the substance that makes tobacco addictive. For people who want to stop smoking tobacco, herbal cigarettes that are nicotine-free may help with stopping smoking. However, this does not mean smoking lavender is healthy in itself.

No studies have assessed the safety of lavender cigarettes. However, inhaling any type of smoke is harmful, especially to young people, whose lungs are still developing.

The risks of secondhand tobacco smoke are clear. Some of the dangers include:

  • an increased risk of sudden infant death syndrome in babies
  • damage to the lungs of developing babies and children
  • increased frequency of ear infections, bronchitis, and some other infections in children
  • an increased risk of asthma attacks
  • increased risk of cancer in pet cats and dogs

Although no studies have tested the effects of secondhand smoke from lavender cigarettes, inhaling it may carry similar risks, especially if a person mixes lavender with tobacco.

No research has tested the safety of smoking lavender during pregnancy, but the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises pregnant people to avoid inhaling smoke. Doing so may harm both the pregnant person and the fetus.

Pregnant people should speak with their doctor before smoking any substance or using lavender essential oil products.

There are several ways to use lavender safely. To enjoy its aroma or flavor, a person can add the fresh or dried flowers to teas and drinks, baked goods, or culinary seasonings. People can also use the flowers or leaves to scent the home, such as by using them in potpourri.

To use lavender for a therapeutic effect, a person can consider a high quality lavender essential oil. However, they should check with a doctor before doing this, as essential oils can be toxic, cause side effects, or interact with other drugs if people use them incorrectly.

People should not take essential oils internally or use them in food. However, they can use lavender essential oil in other ways, such as:

  • in an aromatherapy diffuser
  • in a carrier oil on the skin
  • in homemade bath oils, salts, soaps, or scrubs
  • in a pillow spray

It is important always to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil, such as almond or jojoba oil, if they will come into direct contact with the skin. People can find guidelines for safely diluting essential oils at the Tisserand Institute website.

If a person has never tried using lavender essential oil before, they should perform a patch test on a small area of skin to ensure that it will not cause an allergic reaction.

Learn more about using lavender essential oil on the skin.

Smoking is not safe, even with herbal products. There is no evidence that smoking lavender has health benefits or is safer than smoking tobacco cigarettes. The safest option is always to quit smoking.

People who like the smell of lavender or want to use it as an herbal remedy can use it in healthier ways. For example, people can use fresh or dried lavender flowers to flavor foods or drinks, or they can place the essential oil in a diffuser or on the skin.

A person should always discuss using new essential oils or home remedies with a doctor first and follow safety guidelines, as aromatherapy and herbal medicines are not risk-free.

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