Does Lavender Kill Fleas?

Written by sava tang alcantara
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Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) has been used for centuries as an insect repellent for humans and animals alike. During the 19th century in the US it was common to sew small cloth satchels of lavender and place them around the home to ward off insects. Today, lavender essential oil, made from the crushed flowers and leaves of the plant, can be used for many health and household purposes. One is as a flea repellent. There are no current clinical studies to date that demonstrate that lavender alone kills fleas but one can purchase insect repellent lotions that contain lavender essential oil. Lavender is also found in shampoos for pets that may be used to wash them if they have fleas but the shampoos probably contain other ingredients such as citronella or eucalyptus that are known to repel fleas.

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Identification

Lavender is also known as English lavender and garden lavender and was originally a Mediterranean plant. According to the National Institutes of Health, and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), lavender was used to mummify bodies in ancient Egypt. Common uses today are in aromatherapy whereby essential oils extracted from plants, herbs and flowers are diluted in almond oils and rubbed onto the skin or lightly inhaled.

Significance

People are seeking out non-chemical alternatives for repelling fleas from their homes and pets. It is easy to buy shampoos that are designed to rid dogs and cats of fleas that contain lavender as one of the ingredients. Insect repellents that are available in lotion form may contain lavender as one of the ingredients. This does not mean lavender kills fleas but helps to repel them.

Benefits

People who prefer to not be exposed to chemicals to DEET that is often found in insect repellents, may choose to use products that contain lavender essential oils.

Considerations

There are no current clinical studies to date that demonstrate that lavender alone kills fleas but one can purchase insect repellent lotions that contain lavender essential oil. Lavender is also found in shampoos for pets that may be used to wash them if they have fleas but the shampoos probably contain other ingredients such as citronella or eucalyptus that are known to repel fleas.

Warning

Accidentally ingesting lavender may be poisonous, according to the National Institutes of Health. It may cause headaches or create a sedative effect. No studies have been done as to effects on pets such as dogs and cats. Do not allow them to consume lavender, however. If they do, contact your vet immediately.

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